Australian Plays for the Colonial Stage, 1834-1899

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Australian Plays for the Colonial Stage, 1834-1899

Richard Fotheringham

Publisher:University of Queensland Press

From the mid-1830s until the end of the nineteenth century hundreds of plays were written and staged in the Australian colonies. The first known of these, Henry Melville's “The Bushrangers,” was performed by a mixed amateur and professional cast at Hobart's Argyle Assembly Rooms on 29 May 1834. By the end of the century at least six professional theatre companies were giving hundreds of performances of versions of “The Kelly Gang” to popular acclaim throughout the length and breadth of Australia.This Academy Edition presents the scripts of nine colonial plays, one of them in two versions. Beginning with Melville's short melodrama and ending with the best known of the Kelly Gang plays, first staged in 1899 in Sydney, the volume also contains a scurrilous satire “Life in Sydney” (1843), a pioneering romance “Arabin”; or, “The Adventures of a Settler” (1849), a short choral 'masque' “The South-Sea Sisters” (1866), a proto-nationalistic pantomime in Melbourne and Sydney versions “The House that Jack Built” (1869 and 1871), a city murder-mystery “Hazard” (1872), a comic-horror saga of a bush heroine ""For Ôéñ60,000"" (1874) and the first Australian stage classic, adapted in 1886 from Marcus Clarke's novel, “For the Term of His Natural Life.”

  • Comprehensive general introduction
  • Each play has been given generous historical and textual introductions and is supplemented with explanatory notes on the many people, places, events and stories referred to
  • Appendix containing nearly sixty pages of music for the songs and tunes used in four of the productions
  • Contains over 50 illustrations
  • Special hardback volume with quality sewn bindings, decorative head and tail bands with coloured and gold foil blocking, and an attractive dust cover jacket
  • Four of the plays have never before been published and the other five are copied from rare nineteenth century editions that are difficult-to-access

Editorial apparatusAll of the plays in this edition are reset. Four of the plays - “Life in Sydney, Arabin, For the Term of His Natural Life” [from Marcus Clarke's novel] and “The Kelly Gang” - have never been published before and have been transcribed from unique hand-written manuscripts; and the other five are copied from rare nineteenth century editions - “The Bushrangers, The South-Sea Sisters, The House that Jack Built, Hazard,” and “For 60,000.” The plays have been given generous introductions, placing the play in historical context and detailing the choice of copy text and textual variants, and are supplemented with explanatory footnotes.A comprehensive general introduction describes the Australian colonial theatre industry - its stories, artists, stage traditions and innovations - and explains the appeal that theatre had as art and show business to men and women from different social groups living in both city and country. The collection also has a chronology of events relating to colonial theatre, over 50 illustrations and an appendix containing nearly sixty pages of music for the songs and tunes used in four of the productions which is edited by Angela Turner.ContentsHenry Melville, “The Bushrangers”; or, “Norwood Vale” (1834)'A. B. C.', ""Life in Sydney; or, The Ran Dan Club"" (1843)James R. McLaughlin, “Arabin”; or, “The Adventures of a Settler” (1849)Richard Henry Horne, “The South-Sea Sisters: A Lyric Masque” (1866)William Mower Akhurst, “The House that Jack Built”; or, “Harlequin Progress, and the Love's Laughs, Laments and Labors, of Jack Melbourne, and Little Victoria” (1869) and Anonymous, “The House that Jack Built”; or, ""Harlequin Jack Sydney, Little Australia & the Gnome of the Golden Mine, and the Australian Fernery in the Goden Conservatory, the Home of Di

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