Australian travelling theatre 1890-1935 : a study in popular entertainment and national ideology

Garlick, Barbara (1994). Australian travelling theatre 1890-1935 : a study in popular entertainment and national ideology PhD Thesis, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, The University of Queensland.

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Author Garlick, Barbara
Thesis Title Australian travelling theatre 1890-1935 : a study in popular entertainment and national ideology
School, Centre or Institute School of English, Media Studies and Art History
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1994-01-01
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Richard Fotheringham,
Total pages 434
Collection year 1994
Language eng
Subjects 190404 Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies
Formatted abstract
This thesis defines travelling theatre as those companies which were not based in a particular place or theatre, except for certain limited seasons in city theatres, but which travelled widely to different locations and whose theatrical life and repertoire were determined largely by this fact rather than by the demands of an urban or a singular community audience. The focus is on the particular appropriateness of this type of theatre as one of the most enduring forms of popular entertainment in a period of a rapidly growing sense of Australian nationhood, and on the way in which it has become a vehicle within a specific historical period for the construction of a particular Australian ideology.

Chapter 1 discusses theatre historiography and the problems involved in the collection of material about companies which rarely kept extensive records because of their peripatetic existence; anecdote and memoir thus acquire importance and significance.

Chapters 3 and 4 consider the history and practicalities of travelling theatre in Australia.

The three case studies in chapters 5, 6 and 7 each demonstrates a different style of theatre, of management and of travelling: the first two, the E.I. "Bohemian" Cole and the Kate Howarde Companies, engage directly with the concept of travelling and the resultant repertoire, particularly the bush melodrama and the homely bush comedy. The third case study, the digger companies based around the talents of their female impersonators, were unable to negotiate the political minefield of growing nationalism and the consolidation of a national identity predicated upon the masculinist digger image.

The questions of repertoire, audience, and the political expediency involved in the need to create a rapid rapport with widely divergent audiences inform the discussion of the specific Australianness of this form of popular entertainment which is the final chapter.

There are four appendices: illustrations; a catalogue of the Cole Collection in the Mitchell Library, Sydney; an edition of Kate Howarde's bush play Possum Paddock; anecdotes.
Keyword Theater - Australia - History
Theater and society - Australia
Popular culture - Australia
National characteristics, Australian

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - UQ staff and students only
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