Penny McNamee’s life away from Summer Bay
THE Australian actor and stage performer plays Dr Tori Morgan on Channel 7’s Home and Away. She is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Nessarose Thropp (who becomes the Wicked Witch of the East) in the original Australian cast of stage musical Wicked, for which she won the 2009 Green Room Award for Best Female Artist in a Featured Role in Music Theatre.
Other musical-theatre credits include the roles of Mary Poppins at Sydney’s Riverside Theatre, and Jennifer Gabriel in the Melbourne production of The Witches of Eastwick.
McNamee lived in New York from 2011 to 2014, where she was cast in the TV shows Political Animals, Elementary and Blue Bloods. In 2010, she played the role of Hope in Tom Hanks’ and Steven Spielberg’s HBO miniseries The Pacific, and has made guest appearances in many Australian shows, including All Saints and White Collar Blue.
She recently renovated the home she shares in the Sydney suburb of Rozelle with husband Matt Tooker, a creative-agency director, and their toddler son, Jack.
Typical Saturday morning
We treasure our Saturdays because it’s the one day we make sure that we all spend together and we’re not rushing off to work. The three of us will usually head to our local markets at Rozelle, which have lots of knickknacks, and then we will grab a coffee. The markets are right next door to an oval so we will often take a soccer ball and have a kick afterwards.
Secret domestic skill
I actually quite enjoy laundry because you put the clothes into a machine and they come out clean, whereas with washing dishes you have to stand there for ages doing the actual washing yourself. I am also a really big fan of writing lists. I have realised that in order to get everything done with a small child, you need lists!
On my bedside table
Books, nail polish and my iPad, which I use to learn my lines for Home and Away. I learn my lines during the day but I will often read them right before I go to bed and that way it sticks more the following day. The nail polish is there because when you work on a TV show you constantly have to make sure your nails are not broken or your polish isn’t chipped.
I tend to eat a lot of crackers with beetroot dip and I feel that I can eat that without feeling guilty. I also cannot eat enough bananas.
Ideal night in
It would be Jack in bed by 7pm, and staying in bed, while Matt and I enjoy a glass of wine on our back deck and Matt cooks something on the barbecue. Then maybe we will watch Netflix.