“The Dalai Lama is a crashing bore. Never invite him to a party.” We meet Dame Edna Everedge ahead of Norwich appearance

Barry Humphries as Dame Edna Everage Barry Humphries as Dame Edna Everage

Tuesday, January 7, 2014
7:00 AM

STACIA BRIGGS was granted an audience with Dame Edna Everage ahead of her final appearance at Norwich Theatre Royal. Here’s what he had to say in 10 quotes.

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Barry Humphries as Dame Edna Everage performs at the Last Night of the BBC Poms at the Royal Albert Hall.Barry Humphries as Dame Edna Everage performs at the Last Night of the BBC Poms at the Royal Albert Hall.

“I’m always looking, darling, always looking. I am on an eternal quest to better myself, although I won’t lie, it’s hard to better perfection. But I try, I try.”

“What I always say to people is: “Never judge Australia by the Australians”

About the Dame

Dame Edna was born Edna May Beazley in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales and started her stage career on December 19 1955 as Mrs Norm Everage, “an average Australian housewife from Moonee Ponds”.

She has three adult children, Bruce, Kenny and Valmai. Her first daughter, Lois, went missing as an infant and was believed to have been abducted by “a rogue koala” during a family camping trip (Edna later admitted she survived abduction and became a Catholic nun).

Edna’s son Kenny designs her gowns and lives with partner Clifford Smale. She believes both are searching for “Miss Right” although admits they are looking “in some very strange places”.

Her husband Norman died in 1988 after developing “a prostate murmur”. Edna wasn’t with him when he died and his organs were donated – when she arrived at his bedside, “all that remained was a dent in the pillow”.

Edna is a friend and confidante of the Queen and once took a phone call from Ronald Reagan in which she assured him he was still president.

Accompanied for years by bridesmaid and constant companion Madge Allsop, after Madge’s death in 2008, she is now joined on stage by her daughter Valmai.

Dame Edna launched a campaign to be appointed as a BBC newscaster in 2009 after the corporation announced it was looking for a female newsreader over the age of 50.

“I take the audience on a spiritual journey with me and I teach them that nothing in the world is as important as laughter.”

“At the end of the show I always think they’re standing up to leave, but actually they’re standing to give me something called an ‘ovation’.”

“I think I last came to Norwich in the 1980s and I remember a great audience and a proper theatre.”

“My darling little Stacey, when I first thought of coming to Norwich my manager said: “It’s 
a bit out of the way” and I said: “I simply must go to the place where the thing they’re most proud of is the sky””

“I mostly know only famous people. I don’t call them ‘celebrities’ because to me, celebrities are people whose name you won’t remember tomorrow.”

“Actually, the Dalai Lama is a crashing bore. Never invite him to a party.”

“Listen, I don’t ask to be worshipped or put on a pedestal, but that’s what happens to me. I’m a normal person that just wants to mingle with ordinary people and enjoy my extreme wealth.”

“Just because we live in a man’s world doesn’t mean you have to stop waxing your moustache and look like a man. Women should have grace and style, like the Queen.”

To read the full interview with Dame Edna Everage see today’s EDP paper.

Eat, Pray, Laugh! is at Norwich Theatre Royal from February 4 to 8. For more details, and to book tickets, visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call 01603 630000.

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