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The online magazine of Theatre Heritage Australia

Latest Articles

  • Strike Me Lucky! Roy Rene—Mo

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    Jon Fabian
    June 2024 will see the publication of JON FABIAN’s Roy Rene—Mo: A Legend Revisited, a biography of one of Australia’s most original and iconic comics. To mark the publication of his new book, Jon takes a look at Roy Rene (1891-1954) and some of the highlights of his career. For details on how to...
  • Maureen Andrew: Living for Art

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    Peter Stephenson Jones
    As a singer, dancer and actress, Maureen Andrew has done it all. PETER STEPHENSON JONES takes a look at the career (to date) of this indefatigable Melbourne-based performer. One day, several years ago, I was shopping in a store. I think it was in Box Hill, a suburb in Melbourne, and I heard a...
  • Varney Monk—Ours for Us

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    Jean Devanny, with endnotes by Robert Morrison
    The following profile and interview with Varney Monk was first published in Jean Devanny’s book Bird of Paradise in 1945. “I COULD have such a pleasant happy life with my husband and family if I did not possess this urge to fight for justice for Australian compositions.” Varney Monk in 1951. Photo by...
  • Riccardi or, Gilbert & Sullivan's operas come to New Zealand

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    Kurt Gänzl
    KURT GÄNZL takes a look at the life and career of baritone bass Signor Riccardi, responsible for staging the first productions of The Sorcerer and HMS Pinafore in New Zealand. But does anyone know anything about him? We reprint an article that first appeared in the Sullivan Society magazine in...
  • Early Stages: Dr Margaret Leask

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    Margaret Leask
    In our new series, Early Stages, where we invite people to share their earliest theatrical experiences, theatre historian MARGARET LEASK recalls that as the grand-daughter of actors, her earliest memories were irrevocably connected with the stage. After Peggy, my mother, died in 2008, I discovered she had...
  • Aggie Thorn: A Bright Particular Star (Part 1)

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    Bob Ferris
    In the first of a new two-part article, BOB FERRIS takes a look at the career of a young Melbourne-born performer, Aggie Thorn, who as a principal member of J.C. Williamson's Gilbert & Sullivan Repertoire Company in the early 1900s was considered to be one of the most promising young Australians of her...
  • The Melba-Williamson Grand Opera Company of 1924: 100 years on (Part 2)

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    Roger Neill
    Photo by Spencer Shier, from Her Majesty’s Theatre Melbourne (2018) by Frank Van Straten. Photo of Melba used as intro image by Baron Adolph de Meyer, National Portrait Gallery, London. 2024 marks one hundred years since the Melba-Williamson Grand Opera Season of 1924, the most ambitious display...
  • Melba–Williamson Grand Opera Company 1924: Playlist

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    Robert Morrison
    To provide a fuller appreciation of the 1924 Melba-Williamson grand opera season, ROB MORRISON has prepared a list of available recordings together with relevant links. LA BOHÈME O soave fanciulla – Nellie Melba & Enrico Caruso (1907) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHd-DxF8clo Si, mi chiamsno...
  • Ida Jennie St Leon: From acrobat to ingenue to actress (Part 2)

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    Mark St Leon
    In the final of a two-part article on the life of Ida St Leon, circus historian MARK ST LEON concludes his biography of an extraordinary woman whose meteoric career saw her transform from a tightrope walker to a Broadway star. Polly of the Circus At the close of the 1907 season, the St Leon family...
  • Frank Neil - 'He Lived Show Business' (Part 6)

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    Frank Van Straten
    FRANK VAN STRATEN concludes his exploration of the life and tumultuous times of one of Australia’s near-forgotten entrepreneurs. Part 6: Just months before his untimely death Frank Neil told Tivoli executives: “Boys, I now feel our combined efforts are beginning to show real results. Don’t ever...
  • A Child Among You (Part 6)

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    Robert Morrison
      Having enjoyed a successful season of productions in Melbourne, English comedian Charles Heslop and his wife, Maidie Field relocated to Sydney, as recounted in the sixth instalment of his articles originally written for the London theatrical journal The Stage in 1924. Sydney, March 12. The arrival of...
  • Little Wunder: The story of the Palace Theatre, Sydney (Part 13)

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    Elisabeth Kumm
    During 1912, Sydney’s little Pitt Street playhouse prospered, playing host to a range of attractions, from magic to drama. For a time, it established itself as a home for Australian plays as ELISABETH KUMM explains in Part 13 of the Palace Theatre story. Following the closure of Why Men Love Women...
  • Book Review: God and the Angel

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    Simon Plant
    GOD AND THE ANGEL: VIVIEN LEIGH AND LAURENCE OLIVIER’S TOUR DE FORCE OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND by Shiroma Perera-Nathan, Melbourne Books, 2024 LOOKING back on the many travails that led to the breakdown of his marriage to Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier sadly concluded, ‘I lorst you in...
  • Obituary: Sue-Anne Wallace

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    Simon Piening
    Dr Sue-Anne Wallace AM, 30 July 1946–4 March 2024 Sue-Anne in 2022It is with great sadness, I advise that on 4 March of this year, Dr Sue-Anne Wallace AM unexpectedly passed away. Sue-Anne has been an active member of the Theatre Heritage Australia committee for the past four years and will be...
  • The Borovansky Journey—from Pavlova to van Praagh

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    Judy Leech
    On 20 March 2024, The Ballet Society, Victoria presented a talk on Edouard Borovansky, the history of the Borovansky Ballet Company, and his influence on dance and links to The Australian Ballet. JUDY LEECH takes a look at the achievements of this remarkable individual and the many talented...
  • Kristian Fredrikson Scholarship Winner

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    Anna French
    Charles DavisThe 2024 recipient is Charles Davis from Sydney, he plans to travel to Europe attending The Theatretreffen Festival in Berlin. He will participate in workshops and creative laboratories hosted by the Theatretreffen International Forum, Charles has an observation attachment with a...
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NOTABLE PRODUCTIONS
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

11 June 2024

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Author: Rexton S Bunnett

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum is probably the funniest of all farces written for the stage and its roots happen to be the oldest. Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart’s inspiration for the book came from the works ot Titus Maccius Plautus, a Roman playwright of the third and second centuries BC (254 to 184 BC to be exact).... Read more

The Pajama Game

16 January 2024

The Pajama Game

Author: Frank Van Straten

The Pajama Game had its genesis in a novel, 7½ Cents, which author Richard Bissell based on his experiences in his family’s pajama factory in Dubuque, Iowa. Broadway producers Hal Prince and Robert Griffith saw the story’s musical possibilities and snapped up the rights, but persuading people to work on the project proved far more difficult.... Read more

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

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