Born: Established: 31 Mar 1957 Melbourne ;
Hannie Rayson is a graduate of the University of Melbourne and the Victorian College of Arts. She has been a freelance journalist, editor, playwright and script-writer, and she co-founded the community theatre group, Theatreworks in Melbourne's eastern suburbs. It employed her for four years and gave her the time to write. Rayson has been writer-in-residence at the Mill Theatre, Playbox Theatre, La Trobe University (from which instituion she holds an Honorary Doctorate of Letters), Monash University and the Victorian College of the Arts. Her theatre credits include Please Return to Sender (1980), Mary, (1981), Room to Move (1985), Hotel Sorrento (1990), Scenes from a Separation (1996) and Life After George (2000) the latter a perceptive and moving insight into social change across three decades, told through individual experiences.
Her best-known play, Hotel Sorrento, is concerned with the issues of cultural belonging, loyalty and betrayal in a story about the reunion of three sisters in the Victorian seaside town of their childhood, Sorrento. The homecoming is marred by the success of one of the sister's first novel, which is a thinly disguised picture of her family. Hotel Sorrento has been performed numerous times and has also been produced in Germany, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and France. The play was made into a feature film in 1995 and was nominated for ten Australian Film Institute Awards. In 1999 Rayson received the Magazine Publishers' Society of Australia's Columnist of the Year Award for her regular contribtuions to HQ magazine.
Hannie Rayson is considered to be an outstanding feminist playwright in Australia. She has been a professional writer since she was twenty-four, writing primarily about middle-class Australia in a literate, witty dialogue that explores topical social issues. In her own words Rayson likes to 'tap into things that are very particular sociological phenomena, that are happening right now, but with the filter that they are things that [she] is connected to'. She has also written for television including two episodes for the popular ABC Seachange drama series. Rayson is the daughter-in-law of Bruce Grant (q.v.).
(Source: 'Class Action: Dramaturg Hilary Glow Talks to Playwright Hannie Rayson.(Interview)'.Meanjin 64.1-2 (2005): 326-335; Rachel Fensham and Denise Varney The Dolls' Revolution : Australian Theatre and Cultural Imagination (2005): 285-328)