Upon meeting Eileen Conway in 2011 it was clear she was a “member of the tribe.” Eileen was studying acting with Jayne Morgan who described her as “someone who has no idea of how much talent she has as an actor.” Eileen and John Conway were also Flying Anvil’s very first “angels” – donating the initial funds that allowed the theatre to set up a web site and secure our 501(c) 3 nonprofit status. Drum roll please – because I want to introduce you to one very special practitioner and supporter of live theatre – who happens to be funny, talented and a wonderful companion on any outing – Ms. Eileen Conway.
What’s your background?
I’m an Okie, born and raised, but escaped there many years ago. My husband, John, and I spent our most productive working years in Washington DC, he a government relations professional for the National Education Association and I an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board. We retired here to Knoxville about 10 years ago having fallen in love with the beauty of the trees, lakes, mountains and the glorious climate.
How did you get involved in theatre?
I was hooked on theatre in the sixth grade when I played the chef in “The Magic Cookie Jar.” It was a challenge, which mesmerized me, got me on TV and out of PE class during rehearsals. Such a deal! Since then I have been committed to seeing, supporting and acting in live performances. The opportunity to engage an audience, evoking laughter, tears, and perhaps a new way to look at life experience is the greatest joy of my life. My favorite role in that regard is Ethel Thayer in “On Golden Pond.” She challenged me and I reveled in it. If you’d like my recommendation for a play to see which will challenge you, try “Next To Normal,” a musical about a family’s struggle with mental illness. Sounds like a strange combination, right? It reached new places in my soul.
You love to travel – any adventures planned soon?
These days “retirement” is a balance among my favorite activities, theatre, travel and my beloved Lady Vols basketball team, It’s often difficult to manage my calendar, but I’ll keep working on it til I get it right. In the meantime, see you at the theatre!