Simon Piening

Simon Piening

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

George Coppin

George Coppin (8 April 1819 – 14 March 1906)

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Friday, 18 March 2022

2022 Annual General Meeting

2022 Theatre Heritage Australia Annual General Meeting

Saturday, 01 January 2022

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Saturday, 01 January 2022

Volunteers - Working page

Volunteers are vital to our work

 

Current volunteering opportunities

Interview transcribers | Oral history program

In 2022, THA will undertake a new Oral History Program involving long-form recorded interviews focusing on Australian performing arts practitioners, with a view to creating a specialist resource for performing arts researchers, including theatre historians, arts journalists, educators and students.

Email us at [email protected] or use the form below to register your interest in becoming a volunteer for Theatre Heritage Australia Inc.

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Saturday, 01 January 2022

Acquisitions - Working page

Do you have an item you'd like to donate?

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We are interested in the following items:

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Name

Position

Diana BurleighVice President
Jenny FewsterCommittee member
Peter JohnsonCommittee member
Elisabeth KummSecretary
Judy LeechCommittee member
Rob MorrisonCommittee member
Jasna NovakovićCommittee member
Simon PieningPresident
Robert RayCommittee member
Cheryl ThreadgoldCommittee member
Sue-Anne WallaceCommittee member
David WilliamsTreasurer

 

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Sunday, 26 December 2021

Donate

Our goal in 2022 is to raise $10,000 to enable THA to digitise and publish historic ephemera, photographic, film and manuscript material relating to the history of Australian theatre and make it available for research and educational purposes.

Theatre Heritage Australia (founded in 1995 as Victorian Theatres Trust) is a volunteer-run charity which promotes and encourages study and research into Australia’s theatre history; preservation, renovation and use of Australia’s theatres; and identification, documentation and preservation of items relating to Australia’s theatre history.

In recent years, THA has undertaken a number of major digitisation projects, including the JCW Scene Books , The Riley/Hailes Scrapbook and The Falk Album  . Help us continue this important work by making a donation.

Please note: All donations over $2 are tax deductible. See below for ways to donate, or contact us to discuss other donation options.

 

Fundraising Policies

Theatre Heritage Australia adheres to ethical fundraising practices. You can view our Fundraising Policies below:

Fundraising Policy (pdf file, 45KB)
Ethical Fundraising Policy (pdf file, 48KB)

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Oral History

In 2022, Theatre Heritage Australia will begin a new Oral History program, with the focus on Australian performing arts practitioners.

To find out more about the THA Oral History program, please contact chair of the Oral History Sub-committee, Jasna Novakovic at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

Theatre Heritage Australia builds its Oral History repository with a view to creating a specialist resource for performing arts researchers, including theatre historians, arts journalists, educators and students. The interviews unfold in the form of interactive exchange between the interviewer and the artist/theatre maker with the purpose of sourcing information and expanding knowledge. 

While pursuing the common objective of Oral History to preserve the records of personal, lived experience – in this case that of performing arts practitioners – THA seeks to avoid putting the emphasis on biography alone. Rather, the main thrust of the interview is on artistic achievements and the uniqueness of the ideas, concepts and artistic means used in the work. The rationale for this is drawn from the principles of art practice: it is the ideas/concepts and their realization in performance that win an artist critical acclaim and, ultimately, a place in history. Biographical detail is outlined as an integral part of the artist’s journey or as a tool for grasping their work and is not the sole focus of interview.

Consequently, the interviews conducted under the banner of THA are neither evaluative nor confrontational. They uncover the fields of artist’s interest and the driving forces behind personal search for an idiosyncratic form of artistic expression, creating a broad platform for future critical inquiry.

Comprised of diverse profiles of performing artists of merit, the THA Oral History repository thus sheds light on the trajectories of and influences on artists’ lives and careers, their creative collaborations and achievements. It is as much a research resource as a biographical dictionary in oral mode.

 

 

William (Bill) Miles died on 29 August 2021 and designer Anna French is putting a file together on his life and career for inclusion in The Australian Performing Arts Collection, Arts Centre Melbourne.

He was a costume maker, and taught at WAAPA in Perth. She is looking for reminiscences of him and his work and any work photos.

If you have information or photos, email Anna, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2021 Theatre Heritage Australia – Notice of General Meeting

Setback of Standards in Australia

The Stage - 17 Aug 1967The Stage, 17 August 1967, p.20Standards of theatre in Australia have recently been set back at least a decade by three appalling productions staged by the mis-named Australian National Theatre, which recently has taken a three-year lease on the Princess in Melbourne.

The plays are The School for Scandal, Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice, all set for the schools. But school children are likely to be put off Shakespeare for ever after seeing these productions.

The least bad production was the Sheridan play, which had a simple production, with no gimmicks or business, was fairly static, had no sense of style or period and a certain amount of hamming. Despite all this, some of the play’s witty lines managed to get through, and skeleton-type sets were pleasing.

Macbeth, however, could hardly have been worse with the leading actor totally inadequate, sometimes inaudible, and on the first night the battle scenes were greeted with loud laughter by the audience. Most of the lines were repeated in a sing-song tone. The Merchant of Venice was likewise boring, the Portia and Bassanio standing out only because the remainder of the company was so bad. There was no pace, no sparkle, no distinction and no sense of imagination anywhere.

LONG WAY TO GO

Out of it all only costume and set designer Anne Fraser emerged with any honour. Most of the actors are unknown and many seem to have graduated from amateur companies and making their professional—and classical—debuts. By the time the third production was reached most of the Press seemed unanimous that the company possessed little talent and the ANT has a long way to go to live up to its name.

It is understood that the ANT received an annual subsidy from the State Government, directly or indirectly, of $40,000, plus donations. This is far more than the Union Theatre Repertory Company in Melbourne receives from its three sources—the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, the University of Melbourne and now the Melbourne City Council. Yet the Union is attaining standards comparable with the best from overseas. There are many who now fell it is time the ANT became extinct and its subsidy given to the Union and or the St Martin’s Theatre Company which receives no subsidy at all.

SELL-OUT

Opera in Australia is proving a sell-out through a subscription scheme thought up by Harry M. Miller, who is acting as commercial and promotion consultant to the Elizabethan Opera Company.

In Melbourne, where the Company are currently staging four operas—plus one of last season’s revived for one performance—the top price per seat for one opera is Aust. $5.00. But by taking out a season ticket for four opera the total cost is $12, a saving of $8.00. And anyone under 26 can see all four opera, on Monday nights, from anywhere in the house for a total of $3.00.

The result is that in Melbourne whilst last year’s occupancy for opera was 53% capacity this year there is a 100% capacity, and even with the lower price a 30% increase in revenue. In Melbourne the subscription series covered 87% of the entire capacity throughout the whole season, the youth series completely sold out in the day booking opened, and the whole season sold out just a few days after over-the-counter bookings opened. It is the first time in the history of theatre in Australia such an occurrence has happened. Standing room can be obtained on the night at $2.

In Sydney, where the company go after Melbourne, the Youth series, sold out in two hours for the entire season.

NEVER HAPPENED

Mr Miller told The Stage Australian Correspondent: “It took just five days for the entire five-week opera season in Sydney to sell out on subscriptions. This meant that six weeks prior to the opening night in Sydney there was not a single ticket available. This has certainly never before happened for any attraction in Australia. Occupancy and gross figures are the same ratio as Melbourne.”

The names in the present season are not big enough in themselves to attract patrons—Morag Beaton, Macella Reale, Rosemary Gordon, Donald Smith, Raymond Myers and Neil Warren-Smith leading the company.

Now Mr Miller is hoping to do the same with Melbourne’s Union Theatre Repertory Company, to which he has recently also been appointed commercial and promotions consultant. For the forthcoming season of five plays all are being offered for a total of $8 or any three for $50, a saving of up to $2 per patron. R.S.

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