Articles on Theatre

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The Chapel Perilous follows the life of Sally Banner “a rebel in word and deed”. Flickr/Andrew Sutherland

The great Australian plays: sex, poetry and The Chapel Perilous

No other Australian playwright has mined their own life as much as Dorothy Hewett. In this expressionist drama, she depicts a girl of yearning heart, looking for love and hungry for life.
Actors read a new Indigenous play at the Yellamundie Festival. © Jamie Williams courtesy of Sydney Festival

Joyous, comic and grim: the best new Indigenous playwrights

A development festival for Indigenous Australian playwrights showcased a range of stories: from the sharply comic tale of a woman hunting for her wayward husband to a powerful exploration of prison violence.
Robyn Nevin was horrible – and horribly funny – as Miss Docker in A Cheery Soul. Robyn Nevin and Gillian Jones in A Cheery Soul, 2000, co-produced by STC and Belvoir St Theatre. Photo: Heidrun Löhr ©

The great Australian plays: A Cheery Soul gave us a supreme theatrical monster

An early review of Patrick White’s A Cheery Soul said it 'upset everybody who saw it'. But this extraordinary play, once a victim of 60s cultural cringe, marked a turning point in Australian theatre.
Monroe never performed in a formal theatre production, despite many key people in her life encouraging her to do so. Siddhesh Mangela/Flickr

Would Marilyn Monroe’s career (and life) have been different if she had acted on stage?

Marilyn Monroe was a magnetic film star, but she had the potential to be a truly great stage actress. Clues in her life point to a missed chance: to escape the pressure of Hollywood and blossom as a serious thespian.
The Theatre Royal in Hobart, Australia’s oldest continuously operating theatre. Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office/Flickr

What are the great Australian plays? Refining our theatre canon

The idea of a 'canon' changes over time and despite its elitist overtones, identifying one can be both illuminating and fun. In a new series, we nominate the best of Australian drama.
Sydney Opera House during this year’s Vivid Festival: now, more than ever, we need artists to tell us the truth. Tibor Kovacs/Flickr

Friday essay: the arts and our still-born national identity

There was once a sense of excitement about creating a genuinely Australian culture and making our own way in the world. What's happened to that optimism?

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