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y separately published work icon Quiet Night single work   drama   - Three acts
First known date: 1941 Issue Details: First known date: 1941... 1941 Quiet Night
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Setting her action in a large hospital, Miss Blewett has undertaken no simple task in dealing with nursing from both its practical and psychological aspects, complicated in two cases by individual emotional strains. The play covers the hours of one hectic night in the hospital, in which the emotional preoccupations of several of the staff intrude on their professional duties' ('Australian Play' Argus 10 March 1941, 6).


SISTER MURPHY of the day staff at St. Agnes’










DR. ANGUS MACREADY Resident Doctor at the Hospital







form y separately published work icon Quiet Night Lynn Foster , London : British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) , 1952 11133854 1952 single work radio play
form y separately published work icon Quiet Night Dorothy Blewett , Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1961 13351050 1961 single work film/TV

A live television production of Dorothy Blewett's play Quiet Night, broadcast on Melbourne's ABV (ABC) station. Adapted for television by Wal Cherry.


  • Quiet Night was a very popular play for repertory and amateur theatre groups gaining a large number of productions.

  • In addition to winning the 1941 Commonwealth-wide Western Australia Drama Festival Award for best new Australian play, Quiet Night was also the subject of the Drama Festival's amateur theatre review competition held during the play's debut Perth season. The winning review was contibuted by Miss C.L.M. Hawtree.
  • Interestingly the director of the 1941 Perth production, Mrs W. R. Campbell (aka Molly Ick), was admitted to hospital during the last week of rehearsals. It is unclear if she attended the opening night (ctd. Daily News 4 September 1941, 18).
  • The playscript for Quiet Night is available from AustLit in a transcribed version through the Australian Drama Archive. The revised version published by Samuel French from Blewett's time in London will be made available shortly. (October, 2018)

Production Details

  • 1941: Little Theatre, South Yarra, Melbourne (Victoria); 8-11 March [world premiere]

    • Director Marjorie McLeod; Producer Dramatists' Club Players; Stage Manager Henry Allen.
    • Cast: Mary Fitzgerald (Nurse Sinclair), Carmen Virgoe (Sister Rankin), Netta Thompson (Sister Murphy), Marjorie Jones (Probationer), Betty Little (Nurse Sparrow), Kathleen Morris (Nurse Patsy), Nita McLeoad (Nurse Williams), Joy Blackall (Smith/Roberts), Dudley Pollard (Russell Keane), Jim White (Dr Macready), Clarice Graham (Leila Clayton), Kitty Virgoe (Matron), William Clarkson (Dr Clayton).

    1941: Repertory Theatre, Perth; 4-6 September.

    • Director Mrs W. R. Campbell (aka Molly Ick), Producer West Australian Drama Festival Committee.
    • Cast: May Knowles (Nurse Sinclair), Elizabeth Hamill (Leila Clayton), Ben Sainken (Dr Macready), Norah Burnell (Nurse Patsy), May Robinson, May Hollands, Gwen Bickford, Ilma Weston, Sheila O'Halloran, Gladys Jones, Phyllis Caporn, Howard Smith, Peggy Pizer, Douglas Dain.
    • The actors were drawn from the Perth Repertory Society, the Garrich, Marlowe, Shakespeare and Pleiades clubs and the Workers Art Guild.

    1942: Albert Hall, Brisbane; 19-20 March.

    • Director Barbara Sisley; Producer Brisbane Repertory Society.
    • Cast included: Joan Clouston, Marie Dickinson, Daphne Roemermann, Jean Jarott, Lorna Watt, Mavis Busch, Rosemary Stevenson, Merle Dinning, Dick Englart.

    1943: Sydney Conservatorium; 25-26 June. Changes made to the script by Director. Letter detailing the changes and the prompt book for the performance held in Blewett's papers.

    • Director Atholl Fleming; Producer Australian Broadcasting Commission (Dramatic Club).

    1944: Assembly Hall, Western Area Training Depot, Karrinyup, Perth; 14 December.

    • Producer Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (W.A.A.A.F.)
    • An amateur production staged as a fund-raiser for orphans.

    1945: Coburg Town Hall, Melbourne; 8 Aug.

    • Producer National Theatre Movement (Coburg Branch).

    1947: St Peter's Hall, Eastern Hill, Melbourne; 10 July

    • Director Frank Smith; Producer National Theatre Movement (Coburg Branch).
    • Cast: Nola Johnson (Sister Rankin), Allan Thomas (Dr McCready), Shirley Kear (Patsy), Mervyn Bendle (Dr Clayton), Dorothy Perry (Nurse Sinclair), Margaret Shadbolt (Matron), Joyce Fox (Nurse Sparrow), Russell Fraser (Russell Keane), Margaret Holden (Mrs Clayton).
    • Staged as part of the National Theatre Movement's Drama Festival. The production was awarded second place in the Festival's competition, adjudicated by John Cairns of the Australian Broadcasting Commision (ABC).

    1948: Stow Hall, Adelaide; 12, 13 and 16 October.

    • Director Ruth Phillips; Producer Theatres Associated.
    • Cast included Barbara Edwards, Judith Hodge, Maxene Franklin, Peter Shearer, Rex Heading, Violet Taylor, Barbara Pritchard, Bill Long.

    1949: Wagga Teachers' College, Wagga Wagga (New South Wales); 17-18 August

    • Director Joan Moore; Producer Wagga Teachers' College (Dramatic Art Option)
    • Cast: Veronica Reen, Barbara Bosler, Jean Johnson, Marjorie McInerney, Maureen O'Neill, Jill Noble, Joan Moore, Jack Collins, Kevin Wilcox, Doreen Manwaring, Bonnie McIntyre, Colin Taylor.
    • The cast were all second year students.

    1950: Townsville, Queensland; 31 March - 1 April.

    • Producer Townsville Theatrical Society.

    1950: Killara Town Hall, Sydney; 15, 17, 19 April.

    • Director Louis Critchley; Producer Kuringai Theatre Guild.
    • Cast included: Valerie Davys (Nurse Sinclair), Clarice Mason (Sister Rankin), Joe Scully (Dr Macready), Jill McCormick (Nurse Sparrow), Judith Eldershaw, Margaret Wood, Hazel Davys, Beryl Barnes, Kath Baxter, Shirley Blanks, Alison Callaghan, Jill Blomfield, Don McGregor, David Rae.

    1950: Trinity Church Hall, Dubbo (New South Wales); 31 July

    • Director Mrs Close; Producer Trinity Players.

    1950: Millicent Town Hall, South Australia; 17-18 August.

    • Director Rev. John Price; Producer Company of Seven.

    1953: The Ashfield Players at the Ashfield Theatrette, 327 Collins St., Melbourne on 27 May.

    • Director Jean Barklamb.
    • Cast included: Wilma Keller (Sister Murphy); Gweneth Smith (Probationer); Winifred Jennings (Sister Rankin); Molly Woods (Nurse Sinclair); Jessie Baxter (Nurse Sparrow); Fay Gay (Nurse Williams); Joan Wright (Patsy); Pam Forde (Smith); Lorraine Liddy (Roberts); Harry Braidwood (Russell Deane); Max Baxter (Dr MacCready); Heather Fraser ( Leila Clayton; Lorna Jeffries (Matron); Ken Climas (Dr. Clayton).

    UK Productions

    Quiet Night was produced a number of times in the UK. The record of productions remains incomplete. In addition to the productions listed below, the play was produced in Salford and Eastbourne in 1953. 

    1953: Withington Players. St. Luke's Hall, Didsbury, Manchester (United Kingdom); 30 & 31 January. First Performance in England

    • Producer John Alldridge
    • Cast: Joan Buckleton - Sister Murphy; Vivian Cobb - A Probationer; Joan Pratt - Sister Rankin; Dorothy Wilkinson - Nurse Sinclair; Mildred Carroll - Nurse Sparrow; Dora Bidgood - Nurse Williams; Carita Southwick - Nurse Curtain (Patsy); Ava Martin - Nurse Smith; Gloria M. Ball - Nurse Roberts; John Purdey - Russell Keane; Ron Carroll - Dr Macready; Irene Steadman - Liela Clayton; Dreda Bronslow - Matron; Geoffrey Frais - Dr Clayton.

    1953: Production (three performances) at Irlams o' th' Height, Salford, Manchester. March. Unknown theatre.


    1953: The Withington Players production was presented at the Chorlton Theatre Club, Manchester, 14-18 July. 

    1953: Produced at The Byre Theatre, Wells, Somerset; 15-18 July.

    Source: Advertised in the Shepton Mallet Journal, City of Wells, Reporter and County Advertiser, Friday, June 26, 1953

    1953: Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire (United Kingdom); January.

    • Director Robert Goodwin; Producer Cheadle Players.

    1959: Coronation Hall, Reading (United Kingdom); March.

    • Director Eric Bateman; Producer Woodley Players.
    • Cast Pamela Ridout (Mrs Clayton), Kathleen Hamblin, Dixie Hemken, Mary Dunn (Nurse Sinclair), Celia Bridges, Pamela Brown, Susanne Keep, Valerie Sayers, John Brennan, Barry Curtis, Joyce Green, Harold Bridges.

    ABC Television

    The television adaptation by Wal Cherry Quiet Night was broadcast on ABC Channel Two on 28 June 1961.

    • Cast incl. Mary Mackey (Sister Murphy), Elizabeth Goodman (Sister Rankin), Mary Disney (Nurse Sinclair), Fay Kelton (Nurse Sparrow), Nancy Cato (Nurse Patsy), Sonia Borg, Paul Karo (Russell Keane), Mark Kelly (Doctor Macready), Elizabeth Wing (Leila Clayton), Michael Duffield (Doctor Clayton), Natalie Raine (Matron)

    BBC Radio Productions

    Broadcast on 19 July 1952. It was adapted for radio by fellow Australian writer, Lynn Foster and produced by Ayton Whitaker. See the Radio Times schedule on BBC Genome project.

    • Cast Jean Anderson (Sister Murphy), Andree Evans (Probationer), Thelma Scott (Sister Rankin), Bettina Dickson (Nurse Sinclair), Betty Lucas (Nurse Sparrow), Gwenda Wilson (Nurse Patsy), Margaret Ward (Nurse Smith), Veronica Laird (Nurse Williams), Allan Cuthbertson (Russell Keane), Allan McClelland (Doctor Macready), Betty Baskcomb (Leila Clayton), Peter Bathurst (Doctor Clayton), Jessica Page (Matron).

    Also broadcast in the General Overseas Service Program on 1, 3, & 6 March 1953.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Quiet Night: But Life and Death Go On in a Hospital 1961 single work column
— Appears in: TV Times , 22 June 1961; (p. 4)
Woodley Players in 'Quiet Night' 1959 single work review
— Appears in: Reading Standard , 6 March 1959; (p. [8 or 9])

— Review of Quiet Night Dorothy Blewett , 1941 single work drama
Spate of Good Theatre on the Way... 1953 single work column
— Appears in: Manchester Evening News , 16 January 1953; (p. 26)
Don't Give In to the Box-Office Bogy 1952 single work column
— Appears in: Manchester Evening News , 31 October 1952; (p. 21)
Quiet Night 1952 single work advertisement
— Appears in: Radio Times , 11 July 1952; (p. 34)
Untitled Keith Macartney , 1945 single work review
— Appears in: Meanjin Papers , Autumn vol. 4 no. 1 1945; (p. 65-68)

— Review of Fountains Beyond George Landen Dann , 1940 single work drama ; Quiet Night Dorothy Blewett , 1941 single work drama ; The Golden Lover Douglas Stewart , 1942 single work radio play ; The Fire on the Snow and The Golden Lover : Two Plays for Radio Douglas Stewart , 1944 selected work drama radio play
Drama In Sydney Leslie Rees , 1943 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian Quarterly , September 1943; (p. 117-120)

— Review of Quiet Night Dorothy Blewett , 1941 single work drama
Australian Play 1941 single work review
— Appears in: The Argus , 10 March 1941; (p. 6)

— Review of Quiet Night Dorothy Blewett , 1941 single work drama

'Ambition that does not fall far short of achievement is revealed in the three act play Quiet Night, by an Australian writer, Miss Dorothy Blewett, which was presented at the Little Theatre on Saturday...'

'Quiet Night' : By Dramatist Club Players 1941 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 10 March 1941; (p. 8)

— Review of Quiet Night Dorothy Blewett , 1941 single work drama

'Clever lines and humor in a tragic theme characterise the play Quiet Night by Dorothy Blewett, which Marjorle McLeod is staging' at the Little Theatre, South Yarra...'

Festival Drama: 'Quiet Night' Presented - Appealing Characterisation 1941 single work review
— Appears in: West Australian , 5 September 1941; (p. 9)

— Review of Quiet Night Dorothy Blewett , 1941 single work drama

A review of the 1941 Western Australian Drama Festival production at Perth's Repertory Theatre.

Melbourne Play Wins Festival 1941 single work column
— Appears in: The Daily News , 24 June 1941; (p. 10)
Play Award to Victorian 1947 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 16 December 1947;
Drama Festival : 'Quiet Night' Chosen 1941 single work column
— Appears in: West Australian , 23 August 1941; (p. 7)
Quiet Night: But Life and Death Go On in a Hospital 1961 single work column
— Appears in: TV Times , 22 June 1961; (p. 4)
Quiet Night 1952 single work advertisement
— Appears in: Radio Times , 11 July 1952; (p. 34)
Last amended 2 Nov 2018 17:05:42