DILEMMAS. That’s the theme-of-the day conversation with actor Julie Austin, prompted by her latest Oran Mor play, Fly Me To The Moon.

Marie Jones’ comedy, as black as the weans’ necks in an Oscar Marzaroli photograph, focuses on the series of hard choices a couple of hard-up carers have to make when presented with opportunity.

But what of Austin? She must have found herself on the horns of a dilemma at some point. Where did she go to to find an empathy with her stage character, Frances?

It transpires that seven years ago, just after appearing on the same Oran Mor stage in the play And the Children Never Looked Back, Austin had to take a real hard look inside herself. “The play was such as success in Scotland the writer was invited to run the play in Australia, with the same cast,” she recalls.

“My first thought was ‘Wow! Of course I’ll go. It’s a fantastic adventure. Who wouldn’t want to take a success story to Australia? But then my next thought was ‘Oh, my God. I’ve got two children. (Honour, then 14 months and Stella, six.) How quickly can I get from Adelaide to Glasgow if something goes wrong?’ The answer which arrived in my head was ‘Not quickly enough.”

Austin adds; “That decision was something of an epiphany for me. I realised just what motherhood was all about.”

Motherhood and career would continue to tug on Austin’s arms from opposite directions.

Has the actor, who grew up on Elderslie in Renfrewshire, ever pushed a pram into a rehearsal room? “A couple of times,” she grins. “You feel mortified doing it because you are a professional person and you don’t want to bring along your personal.”

Returning to work however was a mixed blessing. “After Stella was born I had a year off. But she was the Amazing Non-Sleeping Baby and I was desperate to get back to work, if only to get a rest. My baptism of fire came about at the Lyceum in The Wizard of Oz and it was great because I’d take a sleeping bag with me and between shows I’d grab forty minutes uninterrupted. Bliss.”

Right now, the actor looks remarkably fresh considering she was standing next to a swimming pool at 4.20 this morning. (Stella is a Scottish swim champion). But she also needs to work. Austin has loved acting since aged eight when in youth theatre she landed the chance to appear in a Rona Munro ghost story play at the Tron Theatre. “I was absolutely devastated when the run was over,” she says with a huge sigh of recall. “And I’ve never lost the feeling of loving getting into a theatre. It’s like coming home.”

She adds; “ Before I had the girls my staple work was from theatre. But theatre in Scotland isn’t an entirely family friendly experience.”

Yet, it’s place of work. Subsidised theatre is by definition a business model that relies upon external help. So what could be done within them to make it easier for working mums? “Maybe if we can consider flexibility in the work place; you don’t always have to be in rehearsals, for example, all day long. Perhaps if the female said ‘Here are the times which are especially difficult for me.’” She smiles; “It’s not rocket science to suggest how you could be in earlier and perhaps leave a bit earlier, to be able to get the girls to Taekwando, or whatever.”

Austin, who has appeared in a huge range of theatre roles over the years (her Wicked Queen is especially wicked) and TV, from River City to Rab C. Nesbitt, adds; “You have to allowed to be a parent as well. You realise the time with them is precious.”

Right now, Austin is managing to make it all work out, backed by partner Ed McCardie. She’s loving the experience of being on stage with old pal Sandra McNeeley.

Yet, while Jones’ play is about desperation and dilemma, Austin says there should be no dilemma facing potential audiences.

“This is a little slice of truth, prompted by the tragedies we have in society today. It’s about what happens when two women get the chance to share £80, and how that escalates into farce. But at the end of the day it’s a comedy. It’s a laugh.”

She grins; “A chance to forget about unlawful Prime Ministers and let go.”

Fly Me To The Moon, Oran Mor, Glasgow, until Saturday, running the following week at The Lyceum Edinburgh.