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Australian Theatre

At last a history, thirty-two years after the event, of the Australian Performing Group (APG), albeit in the form of highly personal ‘recollections’ from Tim Robertson, one of the group’s stalwarts. The Pram Factory is a handsome, large-format book, containing many wonderful photographs recording the young radicals of the 1970s who created Australian theatre history.

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This volume will come as a surprise to those who think of Esson simply as the father of Australian drama, the man who set out with the avowed aim of building up a national school of Australian drama, the author of the ironically titled classic, The Time Is Not Yet Ripe. Esson was not merely a talented playwright, but a prolific freelance writer and journalist as well as a dedicated nationalist and socialist. This is the first representative selection of his work to be published: it is a compendium of his verse, stories, short plays, and articles, political, literary, and humorous.

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It seems a world away since 1968 when Kevin Gilbert and Brian Syron got together a group of untutored Aboriginal actors in the back garden of Judge Frank McGrath’s house in Centennial Park, Sydney, to read the first draft of The Cherry Pickers. Amy and Frank McGrath, dedicated theatre-lovers, had turned their stables into the Mews Playhouse and, in that time of extraordinary theatrical nationalism, were, for a short space, one of its most innovatory influences.

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Playing the Past edited by Kerry Kilner and Sue Tweg & The History of Water by Noëlle Janaczewska

April 1996, no. 179

Katherine Brisbane’s Currency Press is the major play-publishing house in the country and no stranger to the snap-freeze process of producing program play texts by women as well as men. The women have a fair representation in Currency’s general range, but they proliferate in the Current Theatre Series, those pre-first production texts so impossible to follow up with the writer’s post-natal reconsiderations.

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Dimboola's title is a great start to the play that was first performed in 1969. It belongs nowhere but in Australia. At the same time, not many people can claim to have lived there or to know someone from Dimboola. Indigenous? Maybe. And where is Dimboola? You drive through it on your way to somewhere else. It's in Victoria, out where all the roads are sign ...

When Red Stitch premièred Tom Holloway’s Red Sky Morning a few years ago, it was clear that Australian theatre was witnessing the birth of a significant dramatic voice. Here were a series of interlinked monologues rich in poetic intensity, mixing Aussie vernacular with a haunting lyricism that sung of the earth and was roo ...

Late in 2013, the Griffin Theatre in Sydney revived John Romeril’s The Floating World as its annual production of an Australian classic. The play is now forty years old, and unfamiliar to contemporary audiences who would have been lucky to see its first performances in the tiny Pram Fa ...

Although many attempt it, writing the biography of an actor of a previous era is fraught. They consist mainly of lists of movies or plays long forgotten. The reception of their art is recorded by critics, once all-powerful, but now unknown. Their personal life and personality are hidden behind a screen of studio publicity. Writing the lives and careers of two stars ...

‘If men are masters of their fate,’ asks the American feminist Susan Faludi, ‘what do they do about the unspoken sense that they are being mastered, in the marketplace and at home, by forces that seem to be sweeping away the soil beneath their feet?’

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Jean Genet’s Les bonnes (The Maids, 1947) is inspired by a true story. Two maids, sisters, murder their wealthy mistress and are found by authorities soon after, huddled in the same bed. Incest as well? So it is odd to be confronted with a drama that essentially addresses the audience’s intellect, spring-boarding out of a melodramatic re-enac ...

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