AustLit logo
Australian Theatre and Performance (ENGL40020)
Semester 2 / 2016


y separately published work icon Collected Plays : Volume I Patrick White , Sydney : Currency Press , 1985 Z60895 1985 selected work drama (taught in 19 units)
y separately published work icon The Removalists David Williamson , 1971 Sydney : Currency Press , 1972 Z365225 1971 single work drama (taught in 12 units)

A young policeman’s first day on duty becomes a violent and highly charged initiation into law enforcement. Remarkable for its blend of boisterous humour and horrifying violence, the play has acquired a reputation as a classic statement on Australian authoritarianism and is a key work in the study of Australian drama.

(Publication Synopsis)

y separately published work icon Damage : A Collection of Plays John Romeril , Sydney : Currency Press , 2010 Z1709452 2010 selected work drama (taught in 3 units)

'This collection, introduced by John McCallum, includes three previously unpublished works: Jonah, a Brechtian musical reinvention of Louis Stone's novel of the same name; Top End, a political drama set in Darwin during the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, and Lost Weekend which takes a class-based look at 'Australianess'. They are published together with Romeril's best-known play, The Floating World, the story of a returned serviceman's descent into madness on a cruise ship bound for Japan.

'Romeril's writing conveys the immediacy of the times that stems from his beginnings as an agitprop writer, but he focuses on everyday lives. The plays in Damage explore the twentieth century stresses and strains, the damage we do and the damage done to us.' (From the publisher's website.)

y separately published work icon The Seven Stages of Grieving Wesley Enoch , Deborah Mailman , Hilary Beaton , 1995 Brisbane : Playlab , 1996 Z355402 1995 single work drama (taught in 14 units)
— Appears in: アボリジニ戯曲選 : ストールン; 嘆きの七段階 2001;

'This is a proud milestone in Australian theatre history; a contemporary Indigenous performance text from the highly acclaimed Kooemba Jdarra. Appropriating western forms whilst using traditional storytelling, it gives emotional insight into Murri life. This one-woman show follows the journey of an Aboriginal ‘Everywoman’ as she tells poignant and humorous stories of grief and reconciliation. A powerful, demanding and culturally profound text, The 7 Stages of Grieving is a celebration of Indigenous survival, an invitation to grieve publicly, a time to exorcize pain. It has a universal theme told through the personal experiences of one incredible character.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Playlab).

y separately published work icon Honour Joanna Murray-Smith , Paddington Melbourne : Currency Press Playbox Theatre Centre, Monash University , 1995 Z422400 1995 single work drama (taught in 3 units)

'An unsettling play about infidelity seen from the perspective of the three women involved: the wife, the lover and the daughter.

'George and Honor have been happily married for thirty-two years. She is a successful writer, he is a revered columnist. They have a perfect understanding of each other. Until a pushy young female journalist - on an assignment to 'profile' George - quite deliberately seeks to undermine that understanding. The fallout is dreadful - but beautifully and convincingly portrayed in all its painful consequences.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon When the Rain Stops Falling Andrew Bovell , 2008 Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2009 Z1430823 2008 single work drama (taught in 8 units)

'It begins with a miracle. On a rainy day in Alice Springs in 2039 a fish falls like manna from heaven to bless the reunion of a father with his long lost son. Perhaps it's a sign that the pattern of betrayal and abandonment that began on another rainy day in London in 1959 will come to an end.

'Who'll stop the rain? Andrew Bovell's award-winning When the Rain Stops Falling is powerful storytelling in which the voices of our past echo into our future.' (Publisher's blurb)

y separately published work icon Neighbourhood Watch Lally Katz , Strawberry Hills : Currency Press Belvoir Street Theatre , 2011 Z1730424 2011 single work drama humour (taught in 3 units)

'And God said: Thou shalt love thy neighbour. He obviously hadn't reckoned on Ana.

'Neighbourhood Watch is a glorious new comedy about hope, death and pets. It's a classic odd-couple story: opposites attract, and from each other they gain a new understanding. But as the domestic crises accumulate, Neighbourhood Watch takes on a sense of enormity in the midst of the ordinary that would make Patrick White proud.' (From the publisher's website.)

y separately published work icon Angela's Kitchen (Il-Kċina ta’ Angela) Paul Capsis , Julian Meyrick , 2010 Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2012 Z1741987 2010 single work drama (taught in 1 units)

'In 1948, Angela left Malta. Having gathered up five children, she sailed out on the Strathnavar, leaving poverty and the war behind. Her destination: Australia. In Surry Hills, she could build a bright new life. If only she could first learn the language, finish shoring up their dilapidated house, find new friends, get the racist neighbour off her back and keep her son away from sly grog queen Kate Leigh's kids.

'Back in Malta, someone else has made a journey. Making his way along Kalkara's glistening harbourside, a young man with flowing black hair has returned to claim his past. Paul Capsis is walking home.

'A journey that begins at a kitchen table becomes a sprawling family history and a fitting tribute to a much-loved matriarch. Told simply and truthfully, Angela's Kitchen is an astonishingly evocative piece of autobiographical theatre from one of Australia's most versatile performers.'

Source: Griffin Theatre Company website,
Sighted: 15/11/2010

y separately published work icon Namatjira / Ngapartji Ngapartji : Two Plays by Scott Rankin Scott Rankin , Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2012 8800805 2012 selected work drama (taught in 1 units)

Collection of two plays.

y separately published work icon Remixing Politics : 3 Documentary Theatre Works Version 1.0 , Sydney : Currency Press , 2012 Z1894668 2012 selected work drama (taught in 1 units)
Stolen Jane Harrison , Strawberry Hills : Currency Press Playbox Theatre , 1998 Z297208 1998 single work drama (taught in 7 units)
— Appears in: アボリジニ戯曲選 : ストールン; 嘆きの七段階 2001;

Stolen is based upon the lives of five Indigenous people, who go by the names of Sandy, Ruby, Jimmy, Anne and Shirley, who dealt with the issues for forceful removal by the Australian government.


This subject is a study of Australian performing arts from 1960 to the present with a special focus on the shift from national drama to diversity, and from drama to performance, framed by the changing landscape of Australian culture. We read selected plays in relation to context, genre, and performance history; view DVDs of live performance; engage in online and library-based archival research; undertake detailed textual and performance analysis; and investigate the role of performance as a mediation of cultural life. The subject is arranged in sections including a single-author study of Patrick White; the New Wave of the 1970s; Women Dramatists such as Jane Harrison, and Jenny Kemp; the 21st Century stage including Lally Katz and Scott Rankin; and postdramatic theatre including Back to Back Theatre and Version 1.0.