All Saints: profiles

Jeremy Cumpston…

Preparation for a role in a hospital drama just does not get much better than degrees in both Medicine and Acting.

Jeremy completed six years of medical school, an intern year and worked as a general practitioner before enrolling and graduating from the respected Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts course.

Knowing how to handle the props is a plus, but that was not what attracted him to the role of Connor and the All Saints project.

"Connor is a great character, a lovable rogue," Jeremy says.

He admits his best mates from medical school are amused by the turns his career has taken, particularly now he is playing a nurse.

"There is always the potential for friction in working relationships between doctors and nurses, even though the most important thing is looking after the patients," he says.

"As an intern you rely on nurses to save your arse sometimes and as an intern you are completely overworked. The pressure is enormous and these can be life and death decisions."

While Jeremy is now focusing on acting, he says he still loves being a GP and tries to do some casual shifts when his All Saints schedule permits.

"I'd like to think I am a good GP because I really like people and I always try to be fair and honest when dealing with my patients. Listening is the key to medicine for me and in this regard I am interested in my patient's life on the whole and not just their symptoms."

Jeremy's grandfather was a doctor, his uncle is a doctor and his father was a radiographer before becoming a hospital administrator.

Jeremy was born in Darwin when his father was based there while working on a program to provide X-ray screenings for tuberculosis in remote Aboriginal communities. Then the family moved to Canada, where his father was the hospital administrator for a small town. They returned to Australia briefly when Jeremy was eight but then went back to Canada, and this time his father worked at the hospital base for the world's second largest nickelmine, in Thompson, Manitoba, located north of the 63rd parallel.

Jeremy was 11 when his parents and four sisters returned to live in South Australia. Throughout school he was interested in drama, but at the end of Year 12 he decided to study Medicine.

While Jeremy loved the course and did want to be a doctor, he was still thinking about acting. He auditioned and was accepted into the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), but it was not acceptable to defer his intern year so he had to pass up the place.

Still, after finishing his internship at Wollongong Hospital and Sydney's Prince Henry Hospital, Jeremy decided he needed time out. He enrolled in classes at The Actor's Centre and then worked as general practitioner to get some financial security before heading off to Perth for three years' full-time acting study at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

Whilst in his final year at WAAPA, Jeremy worked as a GP full-time for six weeks during his holidays to raise the money which enabled him to produce and then perform in the one-man play Shadow Boxing. It was performed in Adelaide and had a return season in Perth. This was the first play produced by the Tamarama Rock Surfers theatre company which he co-founded with Michael Gwynne and his sister Zena Cumpston.

After graduation, Jeremy got an agent and within two days had a role with the Sydney Theatre Company's 1996 production of Miracle City, directed by Gale Edwards. Next came the lead in the New England Theatre Company's production of Romeo and Juliet and then the role of Mercutio in the Glenn Elston production of Romeo and Juliet in the Botanic Gardens.

During 1997, he worked at an Aboriginal medical centre in Sydney's western suburbs while continuing to audition and work on guest roles in Murder Call and Roar. Jeremy produced and performed in the Tamarama Rock Surfers' first Sydney project, Road, directed by Simon Lyndon. He then directed Three Strikes at the Old Fitzroy Hotel, which enjoyed excellent reviews and a sellout season.

In 1998, he directed the TRS production Pitchfork and co-produced Diary of a Madman. As well as his All Saints workload, Jeremy remains committed to the TRS and is the artistic director of the company. He is directing and starring in the first production for the 1999 season—Amco Riders opens at the Old Fitzroy Hotel in Sydney in March.

Jeremy also enjoys playing soccer, tennis, swimming and surfing.

…as Connor Costello

Connor is an easy-going lovable rogue. Born and bred in the vicinity of the hospital, he knows the locals and locality like the back of his hand.

Connor drifted into nursing when a sporting injury in his last year of high school had him spending a month in hospital at a time in his life when he was fishing around for direction.

He enjoys the work and is good at it but considers it to be very much a job—not his whole life. His quick sense of humour, open nature and good communication skills make him popular amongst patients and colleagues.

His mother works in one of the bars in the Leagues Club where the hospital staff often drink. She has always been hugely proud of Connor, of his looks and charm and the qualities which got him a university degree in nursing and his present job. He is the second of her sons, and always, unfairly, the preferred one. Connor thinks the world of her too. He often drops in to the bar to chew the fat with her—when she isn't playing bingo. His dad died when he was 12 and it has been his mother's goal in life to see that Connor never suffered because of it.

Connor's close relationship with his mother has meant that he has always enjoyed a special rapport with women, but it frustrates him when his female colleagues (especially Bron) treat him like a brother rather than a potential love interest.

Connor's ability to breeze through life, avoiding responsibility wherever possible, brings him into sharp contrast with his friend and flatmate Jared.