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Mercury, 30 July 1938
y separately published work icon Daybreak : A Play in Three Acts single work   drama  
First known date: 1938 Issue Details: First known date: 1938... 1938 Daybreak : A Play in Three Acts
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Set in the home of Simon Martel at Hobart Town in 1830, the action of the play runs from early spring to Christmas eve. There are 18 characters.

Caroline and Jeanne Martel, the daughters of the harsh dictatorial Christian, Simon Martel, have returned to Hobart after six years in England. En route, Jeanne has fallen in love with Francis Gillan—a liberal reformer who is opposed to the convict system. The harsh treatment accorded to two good-type convicts causes Gillan to plan an escape from the island. Jeanne accompanies the party, but it is interrupted in flight and Gillan is shot. Rufus Bellamy the convict kills Mr Martel in revenge, but the passionate intensity of Jeanne's pleading persuades Caroline to agree to conceal the truth—for Francis's sake.

Abstract adapted from The Campbell Howard Annotated Index of Australian Plays 1920-1955.


DAYBREAK was first produced by Olive Wilton for the Hobart Repertory Theatre Society, at the Theatre Royal, on Saturday, 30 July, 1938, with the following cast:

               SIMON  MARTEL: James Pratt

               CAROLINE MARTEL: Peggy Waterworth

               JEANNE MARTEL: Junee Cornell

               FRANCIS GILLAN: Henry Moore

               MRS. CARMICHAEL: Pearl Burbury

               PHOEBE  MOON: Beatrice Jordan

               RUFUS BELLAMY: Mervyn Wiss

               CAPTAIN NORTH: K. W. Nicholson

               CAPTAIN BLAINEY: Jack Mitchell

               LIEUTENANT PRIDEAUX: Noel Richard

               MRS. MOSS: Audrey St. Hill

               LAURA MOSS: Erica Gilbert

               MRS. TURNER: Dulce Haddon-Cave

               SARAH TURNER: Nancy Chapman

               LUCY TURNER: Phyl Bailey

               ELLEN: Mrs. W. F. Hinman

               BEAM: Don Sutherland 

               MRS. BEAM: Mrs. Alan Burn

Decor and costumes by Robert Montgomery

Exhibitions

12839344

Adaptations

y separately published work icon Daybreak Catherine Shepherd , 1938 9750037 1938 single work radio play

Characters

SIMON MARTEL

CAROLINE MARTEL

JEANNE MARTEL

FRANCIS GILLAN

MRS. CARMICHAEL

PHOEBE MOON

RUFUS BELLAMY

CAPTAIN NORTH

CAPTAIN BLAINEY

LIEUTENANT PRIDEAUX

MRS. MOSS

LAURA MOSS

MRS. TURNER

SARAH TURNER

LUCY TURNER

ELLEN

BEAM

MRS. BEAM

Notes

  • Daybreak, Catherine's first three-act stage play, ...was tremendously popular....It was hailed at the time as a noteworthy Australian drama because of its theme of rebellion against authority and authoritarianism. Following stage productions in various cities and towns in Australia, Daybreak was presented on radio. ('Catherine Shepherd, 1902-1976' in Tasmanian Literary Landmarks, pp. 63-164).
  • Leslie Rees comments: 'Olive Wilton directed the production at the Theatre Royal in 1938 with James Pratt as a young idealist in reckless rebellion against 'the system' in early Hobart, and Junee Cornell as a middle-class girl co-operating spiritedly with him until a tragic outcome. Critics approved of the play's period colour, compassionate feeling and rejection of smug authority.' (Companion to Theatre in Australia, p.528).
  • Perhaps Daybreak lacked the scope of a 'full-length' play and had a certain starchiness, along with its fine feeling, but it was a worthy conception, a criticism of smug inflexible authority rather than of deliberate tyranny. On the stage, the military uniforms and early nineteenth-century women's dresses helped to give it colour and style.(Leslie Rees The Making of Australian Drama, p.191)

Production Details

  • 1938 : Theatre Royal, Hobart Repertory Theatre Society, 23 July.

    • Prod. Olive Wilton.
    • Cast: James Pratt (Simon Martel), Peggy Waterworth (Caroline Martel), Junee Cornell (Jeanne Martel), Henry Moore (Frances Gillan), Pearl Burbury (Mrs Carmichael), Beatrice Jordan (Phoebe Moon), Mervyn Wise (Rufus Bellamy), K.W. Nicholson (Captain North), Jack Mitchell (Captain Blainey), Noel Richard (Lieutenant Prideaux), Audrey St Hill (Mrs Ross), Erica Gilbert (Laura Ross), Dulcie Haddon Cave (Mrs Turner), Nancy Chapman (Sarah Turner), Phyl Bailey (Lucy Turner), Don Sutherland (Beam), Mrs Alan Burn (Mrs Beam), Mrs W.F Hinman (Ellen), and Edna Upchurch and Sylvia Sturges (Servants).

    1939 : Club Rooms of the Independent Theatre, Sydney, August.


    1941 : National Theatre Movement of Australia, 26-29 April.

    • Prod. William P. Carr.

    1941 : Sydney Players' Club, Radiotorium, 2-3 December.

    • Prod. Winchester Ford.

    1954 : Hobart Repertory Society, the Playhouse, 13-21 February.

    • Prod. Jane Hannay
    • Cast: Henry Finlay (Simon Martell), Mary White (Jeanne), Lucy Henty (Caroline), Edward Strudwicke (Rufus Bellamy), John Loy (Capt. Blainey), Lewis Saunders (Francis Gillan), Alan Lovell (officer), Leo Hargreaves (officer), Mary Ristow (Ellen).

    Numerous other productions.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Catherine Shepherd (1912-1976) Margaret Giordano , Don Norman , 1984 single work biography
— Appears in: Tasmanian Literary Landmarks 1984; (p. 161-165)
Play on Tasmania Well Received 1954 single work review
— Appears in: The Mercury , 15 February vol. 174 no. 25942 1954; (p. 6)

— Review of Daybreak : A Play in Three Acts Catherine Shepherd , 1938 single work drama
Recent Australian Drama in Print Allan Ashbolt , 1946 single work criticism
— Appears in: Focus , December-January vol. 1 no. 11 1946-1947; (p. 31-33)
To-Day on the British Stage 1943 single work review
— Appears in: The Times Literary Supplement , 20 February. 1943; (p. 74)

— Review of Daybreak : A Play in Three Acts Catherine Shepherd , 1938 single work drama
Four Plays by Australians Joan Morgan , 1942 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Quarterly , vol. 14 no. 4 1942; (p. 110-111)

— Review of Red Sky at Morning : A Play in Three Acts Dymphna Cusack , 1935 single work drama ; Daybreak : A Play in Three Acts Catherine Shepherd , 1938 single work drama ; Interval : A Play in Three Acts Sumner Locke Elliott , 1942 single work drama ; The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies , 1928 single work drama
Six Plays 1942 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 23 September vol. 63 no. 3267 1942; (p. 2)

— Review of Daybreak : A Play in Three Acts Catherine Shepherd , 1938 single work drama
To-Day on the British Stage 1943 single work review
— Appears in: The Times Literary Supplement , 20 February. 1943; (p. 74)

— Review of Daybreak : A Play in Three Acts Catherine Shepherd , 1938 single work drama
Four Plays by Australians Joan Morgan , 1942 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Quarterly , vol. 14 no. 4 1942; (p. 110-111)

— Review of Red Sky at Morning : A Play in Three Acts Dymphna Cusack , 1935 single work drama ; Daybreak : A Play in Three Acts Catherine Shepherd , 1938 single work drama ; Interval : A Play in Three Acts Sumner Locke Elliott , 1942 single work drama ; The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies , 1928 single work drama
'Daybreak': Tasmanian Writer's Work 1939 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 28 August no. 31718 1939; (p. 5)

— Review of Daybreak : A Play in Three Acts Catherine Shepherd , 1938 single work drama
Theatrical Notes 1939 single work review
— Appears in: The Telegraph , 2 September 1939; (p. 26)

— Review of Daybreak : A Play in Three Acts Catherine Shepherd , 1938 single work drama
The Drama R. O. McG. , 1939 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Quarterly , vol. 11 no. 4 1939; (p. 116-118)
Recent Australian Drama in Print Allan Ashbolt , 1946 single work criticism
— Appears in: Focus , December-January vol. 1 no. 11 1946-1947; (p. 31-33)
Catherine Shepherd (1912-1976) Margaret Giordano , Don Norman , 1984 single work biography
— Appears in: Tasmanian Literary Landmarks 1984; (p. 161-165)
The Drama in Australia: A Crop of New Young Writers Leslie Rees , 1939 single work column
— Appears in: The West Australian , 22 July vol. 55 no. 16553 1939; (p. 5)
Last amended 13 Jul 2018 15:39:06
Settings:
  • Hobart City, Central Hobart, Hobart, Southeast Tasmania, Tasmania,
  • 1830
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