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Shirley Duke

Actor, Acting Coach

Shirley Duke acted in classic shows Mortimer's Patch (as a teacher who Mortimer took a shining to) and Terry and the Gunrunners (as Terry's mum). While starring in 1982 TV play That Bread Should Be So Dear, she stumbled onto a very different role. Realising that two actors aged under seven needed a toilet break, she said "someone ought to be looking after those kids". Duke went on to work on a run of kidult dramas as chaperone and acting coach to junior actors, from Strangers (for which she learnt sign language) to The Champion. Duke was also an acting coach on Shortland Street. She passed away on 14 January 2019.

It helps to recognise that exact moment when they are about to burst into tears. Shirley Duke on working with child actors, The New Zealand Woman's Weekly, 3 July 1989, page 20