This ground-breaking cultural history of Shakespearean production in Australia gives an overview of his part in the cultural evolution of Australia during the past 200 years. From early, improvised performances to the Bell Shakespeare Company today, the book traces how practitioners and audiences have clung to, exploited and finally discarded ties with Britain. From the 1850s the gold boom promised fortunes to the great British and American tragedians and produced some of the first home-grown stars. The twentieth century brought new opportunities for localisation: while companies brought out by Oscar Asche, the Old Vic and the RSC continued to demonstrate British styles, Australian companies led by Allan Wilkie and John Alden began to supplant local amateur interpretations. Nationalism intensified in the 1960s: Australian accents, open-air performances, exotic locations, eccentric adaptations and scholarly experimental productions; while post-colonial interpretations introduced Aboriginal actors. Two hundred years on, Australia's appropriation of Shakespeare is being exported back to Stratford and the world in the work of directors like Baz Luhrmann.
Illustrated with over 60 archival photographs, many not previously published.<
John Golder and Richard Madelaine, Editors