TRISH England’s love for ABBA has always been a part of her life but it wasn’t until her son took her to an ABBAWORLD tour in 2010 that she would become a ‘Dancing Queen’.

Since then, the Gippsland resident has embraced all aspects of ABBA fandom, attending more than 400 tribute shows and 36 Mamma Mia musicals.

If this wasn’t enough, Trish has also amassed over 130 costumes and many hundred items of ABBA memorabilia, and has two rooms dedicated to her prized possessions.

Despite her extravagant ABBA-influenced lifestyle, Trish is usually a humble and reserved person.

“I never really went out much, more of a hermit,” she said.

“Probably three or four years before ABBAWORLD, I went to the Workmen’s Club for my birthday to see BABBA.

“I sat in the back corner, I wouldn’t dance or do anything.

“Then once I went to ABBAWORLD, that was it, that was a turning point.”

From then on, she was hooked, and has already purchased 18 tickets for this year’s Mamma Mia musicals, including the Wonthaggi Theatrical Group’s (WTG) production.

“I’ve got tickets front and centre for Wonthaggi; I’ll be going to 10 out of the 12 shows,” she said.

“I love the music and the songs, and the meaning of the songs.

“I’m an honorary member of BABBA, they said I’m the fifth member of their band.”

Her incredible passion for the band has seen Trish travel throughout Australia to see various ABBA tribute bands including trips to NSW, Tasmania and South Australia.

“I can’t count how many times I’ve been to Melbourne…” she said.

“I’m absolutely hooked on musicals at the moment. When I went to St Kilda two years ago, they invited me backstage and to all their rehearsals because I travelled to all their shows.”

While her extravagant costumes and outgoing nature didn’t bloom until later in life, she loved ABBA from a young age.

“I used to listen to their music, my sisters were always Agnetha and Anni-Frid, and I’d have to be in the audience and watch them sing and dance,” she said.

“It’s just music that will live forever, there’s kids there and 80 year olds, and everyone in between, and everyone’s singing the music.”

WTG committee member Alex Jackson said it was great to have supporters like Trish and believes she’s become an icon.

“She’s a paid-up proud member of WTG, which is wonderful from our point of view because it’s something we’re trying to
encourage people to do… not just to come along and see the show, but to get involved,” she said.

The Mamma Mia musical features over 20 of ABBA’s greatest hits, including Dancing Queen, Super Trouper, Our Last Summer, The Winner Takes It All and, of course, the title song Mamma Mia.

WTG will perform its production of the musical across 10 dates from May 28 to June 13 at the Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre.

For more information and to book tickets, visit wtg.org.au.