John Bell, Shakespeare and the Quest for a New Australian Theatre


This book about the work of actor director John Bell is essential reading for anyone interested in Australian theatre and in Shakespearean performance. Adrian Kiernander makes use of the Stage on Screen archive of Australian theatre with extensive video excerpts of performances, and lucidly explains how, for over five decades, Bell has revived and reinvented theatre in Australia with his interpretations of radical new drama and particularly his innovative approach to staging Shakespeare’s plays. This scholarly book reveals why Bell deserves the reputation as a ‘national living treasure’ and a giant of the Australian theatre. It presents a perspective on recent history and national identity through the achievements of theatre and its evolution over time. From carnivalesque to circus, tragedy to farce, Bell has created theatre that is dynamic, vibrant and politically aware and that continues to challenge and excite audiences.

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Series Editor’s Preface
Note on References

Chapter One: A National Theatre
Chapter Two: Acting Against Tradition
Chapter Three: Directing New Australian Plays
Chapter Four: Entrepreneur and Teacher
Chapter Five: Australian Shakespeares

Epilogue: Australian Shakespeare in the New Millennium

Appendix: Table of Productions