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”. 

Puppet People

Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s (QPAC’s) latest free exhibition Puppet People: A Snapshot of Australian Puppetry is on view in the Centre’s Tony Gould Gallery untilthe end of January 2018. Beth Keehn reports.

When the Vice Squad Censored Theatre

It was only fifty years ago that Police would raid theatres to arrest and charge actors with obscenity. Jenny Fewster, the Project Manager for AusStage, recounts a time when ending up in jail was a performance risk.

When Cowboys and Indians Ran Wild on Australian Stages

In the late Nineteenth Century the Wild West proved a sensation for Australian and New Zealand theatre audiences. In those days respect for indigenous people and animal rights were not a consideration. Jenny Fewster from AusStage reports.

On the 8th December 1890, the Britannia docked in Melbourne. On board was an American named Doc Carver accompanied by his wife. Travelling with him, although in steerage rather than cabins, were several Native Americans and Mexican Vaqueros.

Appeal of the Bells - The Making of a Dynasty

John Bell’s direction of Bell Shakespeare’s The Tempest in 2015 is a fitting farewell to just one part of his life, and the symbolism of a man who has created magic, abandoning his island for a new life in retirement is lost on no-one. Coral Drouyn looks at the extraordinary Bell dynasty.

Theatrical Secrets of the Colosseum

On a recent trip to Rome’s Colosseum, Michael Sutton discovered how this world famous icon functioned as a theatre, thanks to a team of German archaeologists. Underground halls were the wings where animals, scenery, performers and Gladiators stood by, and vertical shafts allowed the scenery and talent to rise instantly into the arena.