Australian Theatre after the New Wave

Policy, Subsidy and the Alternative Artist


In Australian Theatre after the New Wave, Julian Meyrick charts the history of three ground-breaking Australian theatre companies, the Paris Theatre (1978), the Hunter Valley Theatre (1976-94) and Anthill Theatre (1980-94). In the years following the controversial dismissal of Gough Whitlam’s Labor government in 1975, these ‘alternative’ theatres struggled to survive in an increasingly adverse economic environment. Drawing on interviews and archival sources, including Australia Council files and correspondence, the book examines the funding structures in which the companies operated, and the impact of the cultural policies of the period. It analyses the changing relationship between the artist and the State, the rise of a managerial ethos of ‘accountability’, and the growing dominance of government in the fate of the nation’s theatre. In doing so, it shows the historical roots of many of the problems facing Australian theatre today.

“This is an exceptionally timely book... In giving a history of Australian independent theatre it not only charts the amazing rise and strange disappearance of an energetic, radical and dynamically democratic artistic movement, but also tries to explain that rise and fall, and how we should relate to it now.”
Prof. Justin O’Connor, Monash University

“This study makes a significant contribution to scholarship on Australian theatre and, more broadly… to the global discussion about the vexed relationship between artists, creativity, government funding for the arts and cultural policy.”
Dr. Gillian Arrighi, The University of Newcastle, Australia

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Julian Meyrick, Ph.D. (2000, La Trobe), is Professor of Creative Arts at Flinders University. Director of many award-winning theatre productions, he is the author of See How It Runs, a history of Sydney’s Nimrod company, and numerous publications on Australian theatre and cultural policy.
Preface. Brief History of Australian Theatre
List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Note on Sources
Brief Chronology

  The Whitlam Era
  Cultural Subsidy in Australia
  Accounting for Australian Theatre: Different Approaches
  Badiou and Truth

1 The Origins of Alternative Theatre
  Alternative Theatre
  Two Moments

2 The Paris Theatre 1978
  The Sydney ‘Scene’
  The Paris Narrative
  The Paris Reviewed
  The Meaning of the End

3 The Hunter Valley Theatre Company 1976–1994
  Steel City
  The Neeme Era
  Into the 1980s with Brent McGregor
  The Governmentalisation of the Arts
  Last Years of the hvtc
  The Group of Six
  The Meaning of the End

4 Australian Nouveau Theatre 1980–85
  The No. 1 Tram
  In Search of a Company
   ant and the Event of Artaud
  Mignon’s Return
   ant ’s Place in the World

5 Australian Nouveau Theatre 1986–89
  From Triumph to Disaster
  Chekhov and Beyond: Integrating the New Wave Legacy
  Loss of Funding
  The Refused Artist Accepted

6 Australian Nouveau Theatre 1990–91
  The Ghosts of Emerald Hill
  The Company Reborn
  The Funding Game

7 Australian Nouveau Theatre 1992–94
  The Move to Gasworks Theatre
ant , Ruined

8 Australian Nouveau Theatre: The Meaning of the End
  Internal Problems
  External Problems
  The Destruction of Fellowship: ant vs. Playbox
  Creative Nation: Culture with the Art Left Out

  The Logic of Culture: The Fate of the ‘New’
  The Post-Whitlam Era
  (No) End of an Idea

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All interested in Australian theatre, and anyone concerned with the recent history of cultural subsidy and the impact of government policy on creative practice, especially on alternative theatre.

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