The mysterious Mr White – impresario extraordinaire

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WHO exactly is Michael White?

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It depends on who you’re asking. In Canberra, that’s the name of a very well-known union organiser and erstwhile actor, in the world of psychotherapy it’s the name of the inventor of a particular form of analysis.

But in Gracie’s Otto’s bio-doc, “The Last Impresario,” it’s the name of the playboy and bon vivant and the man who transformed Britain’s cultural scene in the 1970s.

A larger-than-life London theatre and film impresario, White has produced over 200 shows and movies over the last 50 years. Bringing to the stage the scandalous “Oh! Calcutta!” and “The Rocky Horror Show,” his ventures into the screen world included the iconoclastic film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”.

He introduced choreographers Merce Cunningham and Pina Bausch and celeb/artist Yoko Ono to London audiences, and dozens more.

The biopic features interviews with 50 of his ‘closest friends,’ including Anna Wintour, Kate Moss, John Cleese, Yoko Ono, Naomi Watt, John Waters and Barry Humphries.

Known as ‘Chalky’ by his friends (you can only conjecture why) White is now in his late seventies and still enjoys partying, as Otto’s film shows.

“The Last Impresario,”  Palace Electric Cinemas Canberra season opens June 26. Bookings to http://www.palacecinemas.com.au/movies/

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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