||This article possibly contains original research. (October 2013)|
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (September 2007)|
Van Badham was born Vanessa Badham in Sydney in 1978. Her mother and father worked in the New South Wales gaming and track industry, with her father eventually working for the registered club industry as a publican. An only child, she grew up immersed in an adult culture of betting, drinking and sports. Her family moved many times during her youth.
The influence of her upbringing was evident in work presented to her teachers at school. Badham's first script was a second grade assignment to write up the class Nativity Play, which she duly set in the beer garden of a public house with Mary and Joseph ejected by a manager for failing to meet dress regulations.
Badham attended St George Girls' High School in Kogarah [dead link]. Badham's parents enrolled her in Sydney's Phillip Street Theatre drama school. At Phillip Street she was tutored by Darrell Hilton, an acting teacher whose previous students included Nicole Kidman. Encouraged by Hilton to develop her writing for the stage, on graduation from high school Badham was admitted into the Creative Writing programme at the University of Wollongong.
While a student she began to publish poetry and short fiction as well as write student dramas. At university, her growing political awareness flowered and she was drawn into involvement with student politics and left-wing activism, and she was elected editor of the Wollongong University Student Representative Council newspaper, Tertangala. By 1998, Badham was an avowed anarchist and President of the New South Wales branch of the National Union of Students, caucusing with radical group the Non Aligned Left.
In 1999, Badham withdrew from organised political activity to return to campus life and her writing. That year, she won the Naked Theatre Company's first "Write Now!" play competition and with it both a production of her winning play, The Wilderness of Mirrors, at the Sydney Theatre Company's Wharf studio and mentoring from established Australian playwrights Nick Enright and David Williamson.
The success of The Wilderness of Mirrors - a play about secret service infiltration of an activist organisation, based on Badham' experiences in the NUS - brought her to public attention and she began to stage more work across Australia. By 2001, however, her radical themes and attacks on the Australian establishment had won her little favour with the prevailing conservative political climate in her home country and she relocated to the United Kingdom  initially studying at the University of Sheffield.
Move to UK
In the UK, Badham's work was discovered by the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, in 2001 who staged a collaborative production of Kitchen with company Nabokov in 2001. A play about marriage as a metaphor for capitalism, it then toured to the 2002 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where it became an instant hit.
Commissions from the Royal Court Theatre [dead link] and the BBC World Service followed, as did transfers of Kitchen to London and New York plus six subsequent Edinburgh productions between 2003 and 2006: Camarilla and Bedtime for Bastards (2003), Nikolina and the subversive children's musical Waitin' 4 Da G (2004 - with music by Jonny Berliner), Petrograd (2005) and Persae (2006).
Camarilla was a critical sensation at the 2003 festival  and led to the cementing of Badham's sudden international reputation as a leading proponent of radical political theatre.[dead link] Badham has since won numerous international awards and her work is performed around the world.
Career as Novelist
In 2009 it was announced that Badham had been signed for a three-book deal for a paranormal fiction saga by Pan Macmillan Australia.[dead link] The first book of the series, Burnt Snow, was released in September 2010. The second book in the series titled White Rain is to be released in 2011.[dated info]
||This article possibly contains original research. (June 2013)|
Van Badham's plays are typically concerned with the legacy of personal and political violence, critiques of Western consumer capitalism, dichotomies of middle- and working-class values, the social roles assigned to women and the relationship of art to history.
Badham's works include:
- We Met at the Demo (1996)
- Thrown to Earth (1997)
- The Wilderness of Mirrors (1999)
- Kitchen (2001)
- Dole Diary (2001)
- Bedtime for Bastards (2003)
- Camarilla (2003)
- Material Girls (2003)
- Still Life with a Dead Artist (2004)
- Letters to W (2004)
- Nikolina (2004)
- Waitin' 4 Da G (with Jonny Berliner) (2004)
- Bang on the Nerve (2004)
- Black Hands / Dead Section (2005)
- Petrograd (2005)
- The Gabriels (2006)
- Persae (an adaptation of The Persians by Aeschylus) (2006)
- Cash in Christ (with Jonny Berliner) (2007)
- Poster Girl (2008)
- Die Tod und Leben von D-Star K / Snatch Paradise (2009)
- Hot Man (2009)
- The Sameness of the Days (2009)
- The Bull (2011)
- Vanessa Badham
- Van Badham "Would a bigger tax on cigarettes have saved my father's life?", thegyuardian.com, 8 August 2013
- Scully, Jess (2006). "Interview with Van Badham". SummerWinter (4): 56.
- St George Girls High School
- "Playwrights Exit Stage". The Courier-Mail. 2007-03-24.
- [dead link]
- Sierz, Aleks "Dramatic Interventions", The Independent March 17, 2004
- Pan Macmillan Australia: About the Book