University of Adelaide Theatre Guild

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The University of Adelaide Theatre Guild is a South Australian not-for-profit amateur theatre company[1][2] based on the North Terrace campus of the University of Adelaide.[3] Established in 1938, the Guild is formally recognised as a society associated with the University, as well as being recognised as a club within its Clubs Association.[1] It is one of Australia’s longest running amateur theatre companies.

History[edit]

The Theatre Guild formed in 1938 alongside a number of local Australian theatre groups aiming to develop intellectual and experimental theatre, and in particular Australian theatre.[4] In the context of acclaimed international university theatre groups, including the Dramatic Societies at Oxford and Cambridge, its academic founders believed that universities “had a responsibility to support serious drama”.[4] In its early days, it interspersed its challenging material with less challenging works, in attempting to both meet its founding mandate and maintain a degree of mainstream currency.[5]

In the 1960s, the Guild hit headlines[6] when it was caught in the midst of a dispute between Patrick White and the Board of Governors of the Adelaide Festival over the premiering of the former's first published play, The Ham Funeral.[7][8][9] The Ham Funeral was rejected from inclusion in the Festival, as it was deemed too ‘difficult’[10] for audiences by the Board of Governors – following this 'controversial'[9][10] announcement, the Guild’s chairman Dr. Harry Medlin received a copy of the script, and he insisted that it be incorporated into the Theatre Guild’s 1961 season.[7][11] After a furore of national significance, the performance at the University of Adelaide was well received by critics and audiences alike,[12] perhaps partially owing to an underdog appeal. In David Marr's biography of White, Patrick White: A Life, Australian critic Geoffrey Dutton said of The Ham Funeral that: “[p]erhaps there was among the audience the thought that a reactionary Establishment was being beaten on its own ground, that the evening was going to be a triumph of the imagination over mediocrity. So it was.”[13]

White’s next two plays, The Season at Sarsaparilla (1962) and Night On Bald Mountain (1964), were also performed by the Guild in the wake of The Ham Funeral’s success.[14] In 1973, White became the only laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature to receive the prize while an Australian citizen.[15] In 2009, The Season at Sarsaparilla was performed by the Sydney Theatre Company;[16] ironically, in 2012, the State Theatre Company performed The Ham Funeral as a part of the Festival to mark its half centenary.[10]

Peter Goers, known for hosting The Evening Show on 891 ABC Adelaide, was Artistic Director of the University of Adelaide Theatre Guild from 1981 to 1984.[17] Chris Drummond, who has been the Artistic Director of Brink Productions since the inauguration of the position in 2004,[18] was Director-in-Residence of the Guild in 1996.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hibberd, M, 2012, About the Theatre Guild, http://www.adelaide.edu.au/theatreguild/about/
  2. ^ New Adelaide Theatre Guide, 2012, University of Adelaide Theatre Guild, http://www.theatreguide.com.au/current_site/directory/companies_detail.php?CompanyID=uniguild
  3. ^ Lost On Campus, http://lostoncampus.com.au/15731
  4. ^ a b Round, K, 1999, As Many Lives As A Cat? The University of Adelaide Theatre Guild, 1938-1998. Openbook Publishers, p12. ISBN 0863966639.
  5. ^ Round, K, 1999, As Many Lives As A Cat? The University of Adelaide Theatre Guild, 1938-1998. Openbook Publishers, p13. ISBN 0863966639.
  6. ^ Sheasby, B, 2012, Fashions, fame and (almost) fisticuffs: Reflections of The Ham Funeral and the 1960s, http://statetheatresa.posterous.com/fashions-fame-and-almost-fisticuffs-reflectio
  7. ^ a b Round, K, 1999, As Many Lives As A Cat? The University of Adelaide Theatre Guild, 1938-1998. Openbook Publishers, p46. ISBN 0863966639.
  8. ^ Cook, A, 2011, Patrick White and the University of Adelaide Theatre Guild, 1961-1964, http://blogs.adelaide.edu.au/uni-archives/2011/08/12/patrick-white/
  9. ^ a b Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2011, The Ham Funeral, http://www.abc.net.au/arts/white/titles/plays/hamfuneral.html
  10. ^ a b c State Theatre Company of South Australia, 2012, The Ham Funeral, http://www.statetheatrecompany.com.au/whats-on/season-2012/the-ham-funeral
  11. ^ Dr. Harry Medlin remembers the world premiere production of Patrick White's The Ham Funeral, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwKJjx4d51g
  12. ^ Latimer, W, 1962, The Ham Funeral, Pix magazine, p58-60. Archived at http://www.crookedmirror.com/soundandlight/HamFuneralPix.html
  13. ^ Dutton, G in Marr, D, 1991, Patrick White: A Life. Random House Australia, 1991, p13. ISBN 1741667577.
  14. ^ The University of Adelaide Archives, 2012, Theatre Guild Production Records for Patrick White Plays, http://www.adelaide.edu.au/records/archives/guide/1477.htm
  15. ^ Australian Nobel Prize Winners, 2006, http://www.whitehat.com.au/australia/people/NobelPrize.asp
  16. ^ Waites, J, 2007, The Season at Sarsparilla, http://www.australianstage.com.au/reviews/sydney/the-season-at-sarsaparilla--stc-198.html
  17. ^ Round, K, 1999, As Many Lives As A Cat? The University of Adelaide Theatre Guild, 1938-1998. Openbook Publishers, p142-143. ISBN 0863966639.
  18. ^ Brink Productions, 2010, Brink Beginnings, http://www.brinkproductions.com/brink-beginnings
  19. ^ Round, K, 1999, As Many Lives As A Cat? The University of Adelaide Theatre Guild, 1938-1998. Openbook Publishers, p146. ISBN 0863966639.

External links[edit]