The Australian Drama Archive Project was established in 2016 with initial funding support from the Ian Potter Foundation. It remains a work-in-progress and will continue developing over the next few years. Come back regularly for updates and new plays.
Under further development ... 2018
Background and plans: A team of researchers at The University of Queensland (UQ) and the University of New England (UNE) aims to digitise and research a collection of Australian plays from the twentieth century up to the 1960s and bring them to life again through publication, production, and new research.
The researchers at UQ are:
- Kerry Kilner, Director of AustLit
- Dr Stephen Carleton, playwright and senior lecturer in Australian theatre
- Dr Bernadette Cochrane, lecturer in theatre
The project has also benefited from the help of UQ student scholars who have helped with research, digitisation and content development.
Working with the Hanger Collection at the Fryer Library at the University of Queensland, we have selected a number of plays for digitisation and are working through copyright clearance and, with UQ students, are researching the lives and careers of playwrights from the first half of the 20th century.
UQ Drama Script Club
Script Club is a UQ Drama initiative that involves students and staff in the exhuming of “forgotten classics” from the Australian drama archive, and re-presenting them as staged readings for an invited audience. Our aims are to contribute to an industry-wide conversation focused on examining questions of legacy and canonicity, and building upon drama's central place within Australia's literary corpus. In reviving these forgotten or under-acknowledged Australian works, we offer them to fresh audiences for study and performance into the future.
The first play to receive a rehearsed reading in March 2018 was Dorothy Blewett's I Have Taken a Prisoner which has been published by AustLit as a part of the Australian Drama Archive.
Our collaboration with the UQ Drama Department has led to a bi-annual performance of the plays in the collection. In 2016, students taking the course 'Live Theatre Production: Performance Creation and Event Management' (DRAM2200) produced Dorothy Blewett's The First Joanna and in 2018 two one-act plays are to be produced: Kester Berwick's Judgement Day and Catherine Shepherd's Delphiniums. The students work together to produce the plays and undertake research of the plays, playwrights, and the historical and theatre history contexts of the plays.
Student Participation in the Research
Since the beginning of the project student researchers have participated in the digitisiation, transcription, research, and publication process of the plays included in the Australian Drama Archive. See the Acknowledgements for a full list of student contributors.
Meanwhile at UNE
have selected plays from the Campbell Howard Collection of plays held in the Dixson Library. These plays will progressively be transcribed and added to the AustLit collection and made accessible.
Navigate to pages about the plays, playwrights, and research outcomes by clicking on the links at the left.