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The online magazine of Theatre Heritage Australia

Latest Articles

  • Ida Jeannie St Leon: From acrobat to ingenue to actress (Part 1)

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    Mark St Leon
    MARK ST LEON is one of the foremost authorities on the history of circus in Australia. He is a descendent of the St Leon circus family, and the author of numerous books and articles on the subject. In the first of a two-part article looking at the life of his ancestor Ida St Leon (1894–1961), he...
  • The Leon Van Straten Recordings

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    Geoffrey Orr
    GEOFFREY ORR’s bio-discography of bandleader LEON VAN STRATEN came as a revelation to his son Frank. This comprehensive work is really a testament to two men: Leon Van Straten, a talented man, who together with his two brothers played ‘hot’ dance music for royalty, wealthy patrons and the general public...
  • Malcolm McEachern: Master of Song

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    Howard C. Jones
    Albury-born bass Malcolm McEachern (1883–1945) was a prolific recording artists and sang in some of the world’s greatest concert venues, but little is known of his early career struggles in Australia. HOWARD C. JONES, who has published the first full-length biography of McEachern, explains. Malcolm...
  • Jack O’Hagan’s Grand Passion

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    Jo Gilbert
    As the granddaughter of Jack O’Hagan and someone who knew him intimately, JO GILBERT is well-placed to write about Australia’s most famous songwriter. Ahead of the publication of her biography Along the Road to Gundagai, Biography of Jack O’Hagan and Birth of Australian Pop Culture, we are...
  • The Big Broadcast of 1924

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    Peter Burgis
    To mark 100 years since the first live stage broadcast in Australia, we revisit an article by PETER BURGIS published in On Stage back in 2006. With updates by Peter and new picture research and audio links by Rob Morrison. ‘Wireless enthusiasm is on the wane in Britain and America, and quite a...
  • The View from Prompt Corner: Tom Waits

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    Matthew Peckham
    In early 1981, Tom Waits embarked on a world tour to promote his new album Heartattack and Vine. Having played gigs in France, the UK, USA and New Zealand, he reached Australia in late September. The following month, in Melbourne,  MATTHEW PECKHAM had the chance to observe the man at close quarters...
  • Frank Neil - 'He Lived Show Business' (Part 5)

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    Frank Van Straten
    FRANK VAN STRATEN continues his exploration of the life and tumultuous times of one of Australia’s near-forgotten entrepreneurs. Frank Neil. State Library of Western Australia, Perth.Part 5: In 1936 Frank Neil explained to an Argus reporter the magic of a Tivoli show: ‘It is a crazy quilt of dance...
  • A Child Among You (Part 5)

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    Charles Heslop; with picture research and endnotes by Rob Morrison
    Central image shows Dress Circle of the Palace Theatre, Melbourne, 1924 Basking in the success of his theatrical seasons in Melbourne, comedian Charles Heslop took time out to indulge in a flight of fantasy in which he contemplated the homecoming of an English actor following a triumphant tour of...
  • Little Wunder: The story of the Palace Theatre, Sydney (Part 12)

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    Elisabeth Kumm
    The year 1911 saw Sydney’s Palace Theatre go from strength to strength, with the appearance of new players and old favourites and the staging of some of the year’s most riotous comedies. ELISABETH KUMM explains in Part 12 of her history of the Pitt Street venue. Christmas 1910 at the Palace...
  • Lena Brasch: Actor and Artists’ Model

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    Roger Neill
    She was painted and photographed by some of the most famous artists of her day. But who was she? ROGER NEILL looks at the life of Australian actor and artists’ model Lena Brasch. The photographic portrait of Lena Brasch by Walter Barnett from 1905—exuberantly inscribed by Brasch ‘To Smike’, her...
  • Introducing Joy Nichols

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    Richard Fotheringham
    AND ROBERTA HAMOND   In the March 2023 issue of On Stage, RICHARD FOTHERINGHAM described the history of George Wallace Senior’s famous World War Two patriotic song ‘A Brown Slouch Hat’. Joy Nichols (1925–1992) was another of those who sang it—in her case on the 2GB Youth Show (1942–43), on the...
  • From Paper to Stage—The Triumph of Neptune and a very particular collaboration

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    Judy Leech
    Enter the magical world of Pollock’s Toyshop and Museum and the miniature paper theatres that inspired the creation of a new ballet by the legendary Diaghilev for his Ballets Russes. JUDY LEECH investigates... The year is 1926, the setting is London and Benjamin Pollock’s Old Toyshop in Hoxton. The...
  • The View from Prompt Corner: Rachel Berger

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    Matthew Peckham
    In the second instalment of MATTHEW PECKHAM’s series of informal and random memories titled The View from Prompt Corner, he recalls his 2011 encounter with comic Rachel Berger when she toured with her one-woman show Hold the Pickle. This story is pretty much what it says on the tin—it really does...
  • Early Stages: Kevin Coxhead

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    Kevin Coxhead
    In our new series, Early Stages, where we ask people to share their earliest theatrical experiences, KEVIN COXHEAD tells how his love of the theatre began, significantly his love of Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady. I’d been to a couple of pantomimes at the Tivoli in Melbourne which I remember...
  • Fanny Dango—The Soubrette’s Stage Career in Australia (Part 2)

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    Bob Ferris
    In Part 1 BOB FERRIS traced the early theatrical work of Fanny Dango in England to her 1907 Australian debut in The Dairymaids through to The Belle of New York musical. Part 2 follows Fanny’s career with the Royal Comic Opera Co., to her farewell appearance in Australia in 1910. The Belle of New...
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NOTABLE PRODUCTIONS
The Girl Friend

15 November 2023

The Girl Friend

Author: Theatre Heritage Australia

The musical comedy entitled The Girl Friend that was seen in the West End in 1927 and subsequently in Australia, as staged by J.C. Williamson Ltd., was very different from that performed on Broadway in 1926, as it merely took the title and the hit songs from the Rodgers and Hart score, and grafted them onto the plot and song score from the... Read more

Madame Pompadour

9 August 2023

Madame Pompadour

Author: Kurt Gänzl

The most successful of the postwar works of Leo Fall, and one of his most delightful, Madame Pompadour was written for the Berlin theatre and as a vehicle for its reigning queen of the musical stage, Fritzi Massary. Like those of many Operetten before and since, the amorous adventures of the plot had little to do with the historical Madame... Read more

Private Lives Overview

17 May 2023

Private Lives Overview

Author: Elisabeth Kumm

2023 marks fifty years since the death of Noël Coward. Born in London in 1899, Coward went on to become one of the most celebrated actor-vocalist-composer-lyricists of his generation. His parents were both musical. His father sold pianos and his mother was an amateur vocalist. It was customary for the family to sit around the piano of an evening and... Read more

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