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y separately published work icon Wednesday Theatre series - publisher  
Issue Details: First known date: 1965... 1965 Wednesday Theatre
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

An ABC anthology television series that played single-episode television programs from overseas, but also produced and promoted new Australian works.

The individual works had no explicit thematic connection to one another, and the term 'theatre' was applied loosely: some instalments were adaptations of stage plays, but many appear to have been written directly as 'television plays'. The series also semi-regularly aired operas.

In some instances, the productions were imported wholesale from other countries: 'Collect Your Hand Luggage' (aired 20 October 1965), for example, is a re-titled broadcast of ITV Television Playhouse episode 'Collect Your Hand Baggage' (originally aired in 1963).

In other instances, the episodes are Australian productions of international works: 'Tartuffe' (aired 13 October 1965), for example, is an Australian production of the Moliere play, produced Henri Safran and with an Australian cast. These productions are only indexed individually on AustLit if there is a discernible Australian script-writer and/or localisation of the production.

Wednesday Theatre followed a common pattern for anthology series on early Australian television, in that the Australian content rapidly dropped away and the series became primarily re-screenings of British productions: see also Stuart Wagstaff's World Playhouse.

For a full listing of episodes and airdates, see under Film Details.

Notes

  • Contents indexed selectively. Only Australian-written works and works set in Australia are included on AustLit.
  • The first instalment of the series was 'The Recruiting Officer' (which aired on 4 January 1965): a play by Irish playwright George Farquhar and first performed in 1706, The Recruiting Officer is perhaps best known as the first play performed on Australian soil.
  • Episode 1.28 (14 July 1965) was a double bill, made up of the two shorter episodes 'The Face at the Clubhouse Door' and 'How Do You Spell Matrimony?'
  • In 1966, Wednesday Theatre aired the following ABC productions, which (despite being produced in the ABC studios) are not Australian-written and therefore not individually indexed on AustLit:

    • a production of Sophocles' Antigone, with Raymond Westwell and Liza Goddard (aired on 3 August 1966).
    • a production of Twelfth Night, starring Helen Morse, Judith Fisher, Roger Climpson, and Mark McManus (aired on 12 October 1966).
    • a production of Humperdinck's opera Hansel and Gretel (aired 28 December 1966).
  • On 5 April 1967, the series broadcast a production of British writer Arthur Hailey's Course for Collision, set in near-future America. An Australian production by Oscar Whitbread, the episode starred Bill Yule, Carl Bleazby, Keith Lee, and Frank Wilson, and was produced in the ABC's Melbourne studios. In the absence of any localisation of the script, it has not been individually indexed on AustLit.
  • On 19 April 1967, the series broadcast Madam Butterfly: 'The production was by Peter Page, in the Gore Hill Studios, Sydney, starring the Chinese soprano and film actress, Kiang Haw as Madam Butterfly, and an Asian cast. Other principals are David Williams (to the voice of Raymond McDonald) and Ronald Maconaghie' (Canberra Times [television guide], 17 April 1967, p.17). In the absence of localisation of the libretto, this episode has not been individually indexed.
  • In June and July 1967, Wednesday Theatre was in hiatus and the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Wars of the Roses (Shakespeare's Plantagenet plays, broadcast as a television mini-series) was shown in its usual time slot.
  • In 1968, the Wednesday Theatre staged a production of Oscar Wilde's Salome, the first ever television production of the play. It was produced by Oscar Whitbread in the Melbourne studios, with sets designed by Trevor Ling from Aubrey Beardsley's illustrations and music composed by Frank Smith. The cast included Frank Thring (Herod), Buster Skeggs (Salome), Monica Maughan (Herodias), Freddie Parslow (Jokanaan), and David Foster (young Syrian). The version aired on Wednesday 1 May 1968.
  • In 1968, Wednesday Theatre was in hiatus for five weeks (between 14 August and 11 September) while a short anthology series, Search and Destroy, aired in its timeslot.

Includes

1.06
form y separately published work icon Ring Out Wild Bells George Landen Dann , Brisbane : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965 7119090 1965 single work film/TV Brisbane : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
1.12
form y separately published work icon A Season in Hell Patricia Hooker , 7125999 1965 single work film/TV

Recreates the fraught relationship between Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine at the end of the nineteenth century.

Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
1.13
form y separately published work icon The Swagman Ian Stuart Black , Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965 7499354 1965 single work film/TV thriller

Deals with the interactions of a 'xenophobic tramp and an English wife (June Thody) on a lonely sheep station, faced with temptation in the form of a handsome young Australian-born Italian labourer. Apart from the inclusion of an irrelevant character, the play opens tautly with not a moment wasted in creating the setting for a night of adultery. The arrival of the swagman (portrayed brilliantly by Edward Hepple) introduces a Pinteresque situation in which he slowly insinuates himself further and further, disrupting the couple's hoped-for night of solitary domesticity.'

Source: 'U.K. Playwright, Long Range View' (see Works About).

Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
1.14
form y separately published work icon A Time to Speak Noel Robinson , Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965 7119610 1965 single work film/TV

A country doctor at the end of the nineteenth century enters a closed community (The Community), whose members are forbidden contact with the outside world, to treat a dying girl and finds himself in conflict with their elder.

Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
1.17
form y separately published work icon The Tower Hal Porter , Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965 7119714 1965 single work film/TV Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
1.18
form y separately published work icon Daphne Laureola John Warwick , Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965 7119974 1965 single work film/TV

A modern version of the Apollo and Daphne story, adapted by Australian script-writer John Warwick from the play by Scottish dramatist James Bridie.

Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
1.22
form y separately published work icon Otherwise Engaged John Cameron , Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965 8046392 1965 single work film/TV Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
1.25
form y separately published work icon Rusty Bugles John Warwick , 1964 11649990 1964 single work film/TV war literature Adapted for television from Sumner Locke Elliot's play, Rusty Bugles is set in an ordinance camp in the Northern Territory in 1944. The men are neither in nor out of the war. A cross section of Australian soldiers go through boredom, the news of infidelities at home, endless hope for leave - all coloured by unquenchable humour and optimism. Sydney : ABC Television , 1965
1.28
form y separately published work icon How Do You Spell Matrimony? Colin Free , Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965 7120118 1965 single work film/TV

'Rural comedy about two brothers, one of whom decides to find a wife by correspondence. The lady turns up, but isn't quite what the two inexperienced brothers expect.'

Source:

[Television guide], The canberra Times, 12 July 1965, p.16.

Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
1.30
form y separately published work icon The Sweet Sad Story of Elmo and Me Ric Throssell , Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965 7117865 1965 single work film/TV

'Digger Smith comes back from World War II to his wife Shirl and baby daughter Betty and his modest house. Dig is a happy, uncomplicated man until the wave of prosperity catches up with him.'

Source:

[Television guide], The Canberra Times, 28 July 1965, p.19.

Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
1.31
form y separately published work icon The Winds of Green Monday Michael Noonan , United Kingdom (UK) : Rediffusion Television , 1965 6725990 1965 single work film/TV historical fiction

A contemporary newspaper report offers the following synopsis: 'The story deals with a crew which deserts a ship to find a fortune on the NSW goldfields of the 1850s and the efforts of the captain to lure them back on board.'

Source: '"Combat" Private in a Ballad', Canberra Times, 2 August 1965, p.1.

Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
1.41
form y separately published work icon Cross of Gold Richard Lane , Melbourne : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965 7120754 1965 single work film/TV

'Based Balzac's novel [sic] — Eugenie Grandet — a study of greed and the distorting effects on human beings whom it involves.'

Source:

[Television guide], The Canberra Times, 25 October 1965, p.18.

Melbourne : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
2.18
form y separately published work icon Ashes to Ashes Marc Brendel , Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1966 7142976 1966 single work film/TV thriller humour

Described in contemporary television guides as 'A fast-moving comedy thriller set in present-day Australia' (Canberra Times, 2 May 1966, p.23).

No other information is currently available.

Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1966
2.34
form y separately published work icon The Third Witness Ron Callander , Melbourne : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1966 7143097 1966 single work film/TV

According to contemporary news reports, 'The story [was] built around the military occupation of an uneasy middle east country and a modern version of the Resurrection'.

Source:

Hay, John. 'Sanders' Spring Twitch', The Canberra Times, 26 August 1966, p.13.

Melbourne : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1966
2.42
form y separately published work icon The Runaway John Croyston , Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1966 8109954 1966 single work film/TV Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1966
3.28
form y separately published work icon A Ride on the Big Dipper Ron Harrison , Australia : ABC Television , 1967 Z10588 1967 single work film/TV Australia : ABC Television , 1967
4.21
form y separately published work icon A Breach in the Wall Ray Lawler , London : British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) , 1967 6468870 1967 single work film/TV

'On December 29, 1170, a "turbulent priest" named Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was martyred in his own cathedral. For nearly three-and-a-half centuries his tomb behind the High Altar was the goal of countless pilgrims (including of course Chaucer's), seeking the Saint's blessing and hoping for cures. Then came the Reformation; and Thomas' coffin with the vast treasure which pilgrims had helped around it disappeared. In A Breach In The Wall, tonight's play, the Australian playwright Ray Lawler suggests what might be the consequences if the Saint's body were ever to come to light again.

'A Breach In The Wall is set some time in the near future. The parish church of the Kentish village of Valham is undergoing long-overdue restoration - restoration largely made possible by the fund-raising efforts of the able and radical young incumbent, Lewis Patterson. A walled-in chamber is discovered and within it is a coffin sealed with the crest of Becket. The excitement which follows is used by Mr Lawler to examine the state of the Churches, and Faith itself, today. Would the discovery help to breach the wall between the Anglican and Roman Churches? If the body again became an object of pilgrimage, would it cause an embarrassing revival of "superstition"?'

Source: Radio Times, 23 March 1967.

1968
4.32
form y separately published work icon The Shifting Heart Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1968 8110639 1968 single work film/TV Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1968

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

U.K. Playwright, Long Range View 1965 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 2 April 1965; (p. 15)
Talks largely about a single instalment of the Wednesday Theatre: 'The Swagman', written by British author Ian Stuart Black. In doing so, makes some key points about how the Wednesday Theatre series is produced.
U.K. Playwright, Long Range View 1965 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 2 April 1965; (p. 15)
Talks largely about a single instalment of the Wednesday Theatre: 'The Swagman', written by British author Ian Stuart Black. In doing so, makes some key points about how the Wednesday Theatre series is produced.
Last amended 11 Dec 2014 12:39:04
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