Australian theatre

In it you will find concise, informative and fascinating descriptions of the lives of over 12, significant and representative persons in Australian history. The General Editor then commissions the entries.

Australian theatre

A short history of the Australian theatre to Australian theatre has a long and distinguished history. It is a history Australian theatre was influenced by the two great western powers, the United States and Britain. The influence of the British tradition on Australian theatre should not be underestimated.

British born entrepreneurs were the fathers of Australian theatre. Despite the shadow of the two great powers, Australian theatre had it's own peculiar characteristics. It grew to be a unique institution for a unique land. Australian theatre began a year after the establishment of Sydney as a penal colony in Australian theatre Ina play was performed to celebrate the birthday of King George of England.

The play was called "The Recruiting Officer " and was presented by a cast of convicts. It concerned the recruitment of men for the army, in a small town, and was a comedy.

It was performed in bleak surroundings, in a convict's hut, and observed by an audience of around sixty. Most of the audience were officers of the garrison.

The Governor also attended Whether convicts should be permitted to participate in or observe theatrical entertainment was a matter for debate in the early years of the colony. Several considerations influenced this debate. Firstly, the purpose of a penal colony was punishment.

Theatre, a frivolous exercise, was designed for pleasure. Pleasure was not appropriate for those undergoing punishment and could corrupt the convicts.

Secondly, theatre by it's very nature caused disorder. It was associated with indolence, wantonness and rioting.

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This was particularly the case when the audience, as convicts, had a predisposition towards these traits. In ,it seemed that the corrupting influence of theatre upon convicts was confirmed. The Lieutenant Governor, King, had hoped that allowing theatrical entertainment would distract the convicts and residents of the colony from other, idle, more destructive pursuits such as gambling or drinking.

Unfortunately the behaviour of the audience was so unruly that the performance was interrupted. This confirmed the fears of the more conservative rulers of the colony Another attempt was made to establish a theatrical presence in Sydney in Entry was gained by paying either a shilling, or the equivalent in flour, meat or spirits.

Unfortunately whilst the audience watched such edifying entertainment as "The Revenge", less respectable citizens would rob their unattended residences. In the continual theft from the patrons in terms of burglary and pick pocketing led to the closure of the theatre.

This was a convict colony after all. In another attempt at establishing a Sydney theatre was attempted. Barnett Levey, a Sydney merchant applied for a theatre licence from Governor Darling in that year.

The next year the Governor allowed him to hold concerts and balls at his Royal Hotel. Levey tried for a theatrical licence again inand applied to the new Governor, Bourke. Bourke was more liberal than his predecessor.

Levey was granted a licence and in opened the Theatre Royal in Sydney. Levey almost bankrupted himself in the process. Theatre in Sydney can be said to date from the establishment of these two theatres.

Australian theatre

Theatre came to Victoria a little later. Ina bar man named Hodges, persuaded his employer to build a theatre in Melbourne. Hodges called the theatre, The Pavilion.

He called it this to circumvent the penal law. Hodges applied for a licence to operate as a theatre, but was refused. He did gain permission to hold concerts and balls at the Pavilion. Hodges and his associates presented several amusements which were not considered suitable by the authorities.The Australian Dictionary of Biography is Australia's pre-eminent dictionary of national biography.

In it you will find concise, informative and fascinating descriptions of the lives of over 12, significant and representative persons in Australian history. The subjects come from all walks of life.

Australian theatre

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Find out more about how you can play a part in our future. A short history of the Australian theatre to Australian theatre has a long and distinguished history. It is a history which was influenced by the two great western powers, the .

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