The Complete Works of David Williamson

David Williamson - Australia’s most prolific and successful playwright - is calling an end to his remarkable career of 50 years. Martin Portus reviews his legacy.

Note: This article was originally written for the March / April 2020 edition of Stage Whispers, before Covid-19 cut short some of the seasons mentioned.

Williamson wants to go out with a bang and – if he is actually going – the fireworks are certainly aligning. First up, he’s just blown out 78 candles.  

Aussie Musical Theatre Pioneers

There was a time when imported stars always scored the leading roles in musicals staged in Australia. Leading lady legends Nancye Hayes, Toni Lamond and Jill Perryman, and dancer Kevan Johnston led the charge to showcase local talent. Peter Eyers spoke to the four pioneers for his Stages podcast.

The Pajama Game

Is the game I’m in.

And I’m proud to be

In the Pajama Game

I love it!

Theatre Treasures in Safe Hands

Dr Rodney Seaborn dedicated himself to the development of Sydney theatre 33 years ago by establishing a philanthropic foundation to restore Sydney theatres, support the creators of new productions and to collect and preserve cultural heritage.

He scoured the city and enticed theatre lovers to lodge their memories, records and artifacts with his archive.

Bran Nue Dae

As Australian opera companies collaborate to revive a ‘national treasure’, Peter Wyllie Johnston takes us through the 30 year history of this landmark Australian musical.

Archival Gold

The good thing about searching the internet is you often come across clips from past musicals that you never knew existed. Frequently archival material surfaces from Broadway shows but it’s rare to find anything from an early Australian musical. Imagine my surprise when I came across Jill Perryman and Kevan Johnston in clips from TVW7 Perth’s production of The Good Oil (1965). Written by Coralie Condon and originally staged at the Perth Playhouse in 1958, the story was based around the 1950s oil boom in Perth.

Alana Valentine: Our Master Storyteller

From prisoners to footballers, from gay men in Broome to Muslims in hijabs, Alana Valentine shines a spotlight on communities shattered by flood, train wreck, abuse and injustice. Martin Portus explores Valentine’s forensic approach to expressing their passions, habits and secrets on stage – in their own words.

Armed with meticulous research, persistence and a cool empathy, Alana Valentine has learnt how to move tactfully through diverse communities across Australia, question both leaders and fellow travellers, find their fault-lines and craft the drama.

Louis Nowra: The Playwright Born To Shock

MARTIN PORTUS profiles LOUIS NOWRA,  the remarkable talent behind the Australian classic Cosi and much more.

A writing career seemed unlikely for young Louis Nowra. Raised in a Housing Commission paddock suburb north of Melbourne without any sewerage, ignored by his truck driving Dad, belittled by his unhappy Mum, little Louis couldn’t really read until he was 17. 

He was scalped in a brutal boyhood accident which for four years left him unable to properly talk, think or write, dismissed by his teachers as an imbecile.

Lola Montez – With a Twist of Lemon.

Legendary Australian composer Peter Stannard died in March 2018, just months before a star-studded concert revival of Lola Montez, the musical he penned sixty years ago, is staged at Sydney’s Riverside Theatre. In his last interview Peter described some of his adventures in music to *David Spicer.

Tell me about your early years of training.

Theatres on Fire – The Victorian Curse.

Jenny Fewster from Ausstage reports.

In late 19th century Australia, theatre fires had become so common that one of the most popular medicines of the time was advertised under the somewhat misleading headline, “A Theatre on Fire”.