Songwriter, librettist, musician, poet, music director, academic.
The great-great-great nephew of Australian vaudeville entrepreneur Harry Clay, Clay Djubal grew up in Griffith, Sydney, and Armidale (NSW). After spending the first twenty years of his working life alternating between the hospitality industry, as a chef/manager (including Clayz Kitchen, Armidale), and the entertainment industry, as singer/songwriter/bass player with bands such as Shoot the DJ and Crash Landing, Djubal undertook a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and drama at The University of Queensland (1993-1996). He graduated with a Master of Arts in 1998, having explored the life and career of his famous uncle. Research from that thesis was included in the George Wallace documentary Funny by George (ABC-TV, 2000). In 2005, he was awarded a Ph.D. for his dissertation 'What Oh Tonight: The Methodology Factor and Pre-1930s Australian Variety Theatre'. The thesis examines the problems facing historians using the traditional methodological approach to mapping Australian popular culture entertainment history and proposes an alternative, and ultimately more successful, means of undertaking this task.
A tutor, lecturer, and course convenor at The University of Queensland in the fields of popular music, media, and popular culture (2001-2006), Dr Djubal developed two new courses for the university's School of Music ('The Musical: History, Theory and Practice' and 'Beyond Rock: Music in the Digital Age'). He also lectured in and convened 'Music Subcultures and the Media' for the School of Music/School of English, Media Studies and Art History (EMSAH). In addition to his career at The University of Queensland, Dr Djubal has taught in the Entertainment Business Management stream for the JMC Academy (Brisbane), including such courses as 'Music Since 1945,' 'Professional Communications,' and 'Merchandising and Production', and guest lectured in drama at the Queensland University of Technology.
Dr Djubal's academic publications appear in Australasian Drama Studies, The Journal of Australian Studies, Media-Culture, Proceedings from the 'When Soldiers' Return' Conference (2007, with Richard Fotheringham), and Creative Nations: Australian Cinema and Cultural Studies Reader (2008). In 2005, he was the principal speaker at a University of Queensland/Friends of the Fryer presentation celebrating the Nat Phillips Collection (which he archived over a five-year period). A Finding Aid to the collection is now available through The University of Queensland's Fryer Library. In 2006, he joined AustLit: The Resource for Australian Literature as a specialist variety theatre historian, designing and providing content for the Australian Popular Theatre (APT) subset. His research has also contributed to the Bibliography of Australian Literature (2007-2009) project and AustLit's Australian Film and Television subset (2009-2010).
Djubal's musical, The Last Word (additional music by Marcel Dorney) was staged at the Cement Box Theatre, Brisbane in 1998. He has since collaborated on a musical adaptation of J.M. Barry's Dear Brutus with Brisbane composer Simon Chan, and is currently working on the libretto for a re-working of Oliver Goldsmith's farce She Stoops to Conquer. As a composer/music director, he has worked on such theatre productions as Marvellous Melbourne (1994), The Suicide (1994), Translations (1995), and Manfred (1996, as co-writer). In addition to taking on acting roles in the previous productions, he has appeared in a 1997 Brisbane production of Michael Weller's Cancer. He also founded the specialist recording and publishing company Have Gravity Will Threaten, which publishes the Northern Tablelands Music Industry Archive, and writes and records with the rock collective Some Trippin' Diggers. His more recent releases are The Larrikin Manifestos (2009) and Marvellous Melbourne (2009 soundtrack). A collection of poems, anecdotes, and illustrations relating to larrikins and published in the 1890s newspaper The Bird of Freedom is currently being edited by Dr Djubal and will be published in 2015 under the title Throwing Stones.
On 10 May 2011, the 146th anniversary of his famous uncle's birth, Dr Djubal made public a new online research archive focusing on variety theatre and popular culture entertainment between circa 1850s and 1930. Called the Australian Variety Theatre Archive, the website includes numerous reference entries and extended biographies on performers, entrepreneurs, theatres and associated industry practitioners, organisations and industry infrastructure. It also publishes a monograph series called Mixed Bag.