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Hart, Iris Correll (1910–1983)

by Joyce Gibberd

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 17, (MUP), 2007

Iris Correll Hart (1910-1983), singer, actor and director, was born on 9 August 1910 at Yorketown, South Australia, eldest of three children of Wilfred Jacob Hart, agent, and his wife Eleanor Jane, née Correll, both South Australian born. Educated at Edithburgh Public School and Presbyterian Girls’ College, Adelaide, Iris studied singing with Frederick Bevan at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide. In 1930 an anonymous reviewer of a lunch-time concert wrote of her `promising voice, free from the prevalent vice of vibrato’, and reported that her enunciation was so good that `it triumphed over the bad acoustics of the Elder Hall’.

In 1933, while still a student, Hart took the lead in Louis Hirsch’s musical comedy The O’Brien Girl for the South Australian Operatic Society. She acted in several Adelaide Repertory Theatre plays including Goethe’s Faust, as Margaret (1934), and Max Afford’s Colonel Light—the Founder, as Sieglinda Mannheim (1936). Also in 1936 she had the lead in J. C. Williamson Ltd’s production of Anything Goes by Cole Porter. Later that year she contracted spontaneous pneumothorax which ended her singing career; thereafter she took only speaking parts. On 6 February 1937 at St Saviour’s Church of England, Glen Osmond, she married Maurice Dale Chapman, a manager; they were divorced in 1946. Very beautiful, and known as `the duchess’, she lived in `performance mode’. She had a wide circle of friends, loved parties and was renowned for her tapestry.

Among many roles at the Tivoli Theatre, Hart played Elizabeth Barrett in The Barretts of Wimpole Street by Rudolf Besier. For the Adelaide University Theatre Guild she acted in Molière’s The Miser (1950) and other plays. In 1952 she toured with the John Alden Company, as Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and as Emilia in The Winter’s Tale. Two years later she directed and acted in four plays for the Adelaide Theatre Group, including Tartuffe by Molière. Among her final stage performances were a role in Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour (1962) for Theatre ‘62, and parts in plays produced (1962, 1966) for the Adelaide Festival of Arts.

Remuneration for work in amateur theatre was minimal and in 1945-66 Hart acted in many radio serials and dramas, including live productions on 5AD. She taught acting and stagecraft to amateur groups in Adelaide. For the Australian Broadcasting Commission she was a performer in about four hundred plays, a freelance interviewer, and a producer of `Kindergarten of the Air’. She retired in 1966, and on 15 October that year married at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Mount Gambier, Thomas Romer Paltridge, a grazier and a divorcee. Moving to the district, she assisted local theatre enterprises, particularly the Lucindale Drama Group, which won two Arts Council awards at South-East drama festivals. Survived by her husband and the daughter of her first marriage, Iris Paltridge died on 27 October 1983 at Mount Gambier and was buried with Anglican rites in the Carinya Gardens cemetery.

Select Bibliography

  • Advertiser (Adelaide), 24 Apr 1952, p 3, 31 Oct 1983, p 16
  • I. Hart, newsclippings (Performing Arts Collection of South Australia)
  • private information.

Citation details

Joyce Gibberd, 'Hart, Iris Correll (1910–1983)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hart-iris-correll-12598/text22691, published first in hardcopy 2007, accessed online 15 November 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 17, (MUP), 2007

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