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Jack Hibberd Jack Hibberd i(A15552 works by) (birth name: John Charles Hibberd)
Born: Established: 1940 Warracknabeal, Hopetoun - Warracknabeal - Murtoa area, North West Victoria, Victoria, ;
Gender: Male
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Jack Hibberd was born near Bendigo, Victoria, and studied Medicine at the University of Melbourne. While practising as a doctor, Hibberd wrote poetry and plays, and White With Wire Wheels was produced at the University of Melbourne in 1967. Soon after this success, Hibberd was a founding member of the La Mama Company, which became the Australian Performing Group and performed many of his early plays. In 1972, A Stretch of the Imagination was produced. It is now widely regarded as Hibberd's most important play.

In 1973, he began writing full-time. That year the production of Dimboola, directed by David Williamson, was a popular success and was adapted to film in 1979. But, in 1986, Hibberd abandoned the theatre and returned to medicine. During the following years he wrote several novels until his return to the theatre in 1993.

Hibberd is admired for his use of Australian dialect and his exploration of social rituals. His explorations of the "ocker" mentality were the first of their kind, initiating a new approach to Australian drama. Hibberd has acknowledged the influence of European playwrights such as Brecht, Beckett and Pinter, but he has successfully adapted these influences for the Australian stage. His aversion to naturalistic productions is seen in the plays that demand audience participation and highlight the ritualistic element of the theatre. The most obvious examples are the "party" plays, Dimboola and Liquid Amber.

Since his return to the theatre in 1993, Hibberd has written verse and numerous plays, and has become a noted arts journalist. He has contributed to The Australian, Meanjin, Southerly, Island Magazine, The Bulletin and Westerly. He has translated some of Baudelaire's work, in Le vin des amants: Poems from Baudelaire (1977).

Hibberd's novels and plays explore complementary themes and issues. Some of the topics examined in his work include masculinity in Australia and Australian identity more generally, the possibilities of language, and his varied responses to the city of Melbourne.

Musical elements are highly significant in many of his plays, and Hibberd has described his diverse theatrical approach as one which mixes "celebration with satire, fun with gravity, fiction with information, ignorance with politics, slang with poetry".

Most Referenced Works


  • Among other publications by Hibberd are The Great Allergy Detective Book (1995) and with Garrie Hutchinson, The Barracker's Bible : A Dictionary of Sporting Slang (1983).

Personal Awards

2018 recipient Order of Australia Member of the Order of Australia (AM) For significant service to the performing arts through advisory roles, to theatre as a playwright, and through contributions to Australian cultural life.
2005 State Library Victoria Fellowship Creative Fellowship
1976 winner International Awards National Book Critics' Circle (USA)

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon A Toast to Melba (Manuscript version)x401024 Z300529 1976 single work musical theatre
1976 winner National Professional Theatre Award

Known archival holdings

Australian National University Australian National University Library (ACT)
University of Melbourne The University Library (VIC)
La Trobe University Bundoora campus, Borchardt Library (VIC)
University of Queensland University of Queensland Library Fryer Library (QLD)
Last amended 11 Jun 2018 16:49:29
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