Barry Dickins

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Barry Dickins (born 1949) is a prolific Australian playwright, author, artist, and journalist, probably best known for his historical dramas and his reminisces about growing up and living in working class Melbourne.[1] His most well-known work is the award winning stage play Remember Ronald Ryan, a dramatization of the life and subsequent death of Ronald Ryan, the last man executed in Australia. He has also written dramas and comedies about other controversial figures like poet Sylvia Plath,[2] opera singer Joan Sutherland,[3] criminal Squizzy Taylor,[4] actor Frank Thring,[5] playwright Oscar Wilde[6] and artist Brett Whiteley.[7]

Dickins primarily writes for Australia's independent theatre scene, frequently collaborating with La Mama Theatre, Malthouse Theatre, The Pram Factory, Griffin Theatre Company, fortyfivedownstairs and St Martin Youth Theatre.[8][9]

Biography[edit]

He was born in the Melbourne suburb of Reservoir.[10] Leaving school early he worked for five years in a factory in North Melbourne, and then as a set-painter for television programs being produced at Channel 7.[11] Through his association with La Mama Theatre, his first play, a translation of Ibsen's Ghosts, was performed in 1974.[12] He has written a further 50 or so plays since then, along with numerous short stories, biographies, opinion pieces, essays and children's books.[13] His play Remember Ronald Ryan won him the 1995 Victorian Premier's Literary Award.

On two occasions, Dickins has ventured into acting: During the early years of his career, he appeared in Barry Oakley's The Ship's Whistles, at the Pram Factory Front Theatre in 1978, with Paul Hampton as director.[14] He then made an appearance in a 1985 revival of Graeme Blundell's Balmain Boys Don't Cry (renamed The Balmain Boys) at the Kinsela's Cabaret Theatre in Darlinghurst, New South Wales.[15][16] He recently performed a dramatic reading of his new monologue, Ryan (a continuation of his earlier work Remember Ronald Ryan), which was performed as part of a QandA event held at Melbourne based bookshop, Collected Works.[17]

In 2009, he published his memoirs Unparalleled Sorrow, which discusses his career and his battle with depression.[18] 2015 will see the publication by Black Pepper publishing of A Line Drawing of My Father, a memoir of the authors' father Len Dickins who served in the Second World War and was a commercial printer thereafter. It also gives a portrait of the working class northern suburbs of Melbourne.

He is now writing for Fairfax Media in the Sunday Age as a Journalist.[19]

Bibliography[edit]

Plays

  • Ghosts [from Henrik Ibsen] (1975)
  • A Season of Five Plays [as contributor] (AGP Women's Theatre Group 1976)[20]
  • Only An Old Kitbag (Australian Performing Group 1977)[21]
  • The Great Oscar Wilde Trial (La Mama Theatre 1977)[22]
  • The Interview (La Mama Theatre 1977)[23]
  • The Rotten Teeth Show (Pram Factory Theatre 1978)[24]
  • The Bloody Horror of Dentistry (La Mama Theatre 1978)[25]
  • The Ken Wright Show (Pram Factory Front Theatre 1980)[26]
  • Doing His Thing (Restaurant Upstairs Comedy Cafe Theatre 1980)[27]
  • The Banana Bender and The death of Minnie. (Currency, 1981) ISBN 0-86819-053-5
  • Interrogation of an Angel (Playbox Theatre Melbourne 1981)[28]
  • The Ability to Eat Crow (Menzies Theatre/Festival of Australian Student Theatre 1981)[29]
  • Lennie Lower. (Yackandandah, 1982) ISBN 0-86805-012-1
  • A Couple of Broken Hearts (1982)[30]
  • God and Geoff (St Martins Theatre 1982)[31]
  • A Kingly Crown (St Martins Theatre 1982)[32]
  • Graeme King Lear (Playbox Theatre Melbourne 1983)[33]
  • One woman shoe. (Yackandandah, 1984) ISBN 0-86805-010-5
  • The Bridal Suite and Mag and Bag: Two plays. (Yackandandah, 1985) ISBN 0-86805-040-7
  • Beautland. (Currency, 1985) ISBN 0-86819-130-2
  • Green Room (La Mama Theatre 1985)[34]
  • The Horror of Suburban Nature Strips (Yackandandah 1985)[35]
  • Reservoir by Night (Russell Street Theatre 1985)[36]
  • The Gummy Man in Search of Love (Griffin Theatre Company 1985)[37][38]
  • The Golden Goldenbergs. (1986)
  • More Greenroom (1986)[39]
  • Eat Your Greens (La Mama Theatre 1987)[40]
  • The Fool's Shoe Hotel. (Yackandandah, 1987) ISBN 0-86805-055-5
  • Royboys. (Currency, 1987) ISBN 0-86819-177-9
  • Bedlam Autos (Russell Street Theatre 1988)[41]
  • Between Engagements (La Mama Theatre 1988)[42]
  • Perfect English (La Mama Theatre 1990)[43]
  • Hymie (La Mama Theatre 1991)[44]
  • A Dickins Christmas (Playbox Theatre Melbourne 1992)[45]
  • The Foibles (Budinskis Theatre of Exile 1992)[46]
  • Funny Fiction at La Mama [with Wendy Harmer, William Henderson & Sue-Ann Post ] (La Mama Theatre/Melbourne International Comedy Festival 1992)[47]
  • Dear Suburbia (La Mama Theatre 1992)[48]
  • Remember Ronald Ryan. (Currency, 1994) ISBN 0-86819-392-5
  • Dame Joan Green (La Mama Theatre 1994)[49]
  • La Mama 30th Birthday Celebrations [as contributor] (La Mama Theatre 1997)[50]
  • Believe Me Oscar Wilde (La Mama Theatre 2000)[51]
  • Go in Tight (La Mama Theatre 2001)[52]
  • Insouciance (Playbox Theatre Melbourne 2001) ISBN 0868196444
  • Claustrophobia (La Mama Theatre 2003)[53]
  • All of Which are American Dreams [with Ben Ellis, Melissa Reeves, Robert Reid & Stephen Sewell] (Theatreworks/Theatre in Decay 2003)[54]
  • Tyranny (The Builders Initiative/La Mama Theatre 2005)[55]
  • Myer Emp (La Mama Theatre 2007)[56]
  • The Real Thring (Hoy Polloy/Triple R 2008)[57]
  • Flashpoint (fortyfivedownstairs/R. E. Ross Trust 2009)[58]
  • Whiteley's Incredible Blue ... an hallucination (fortyfivedownstairs/Melbourne Festival 2011)[59]
  • The Way Out: A Masterpiece by a Dead Goblin (La Mama Courthouse 2011)[60]
  • A Faboulous Kind of Hatred (fortyfivedownstairs 2013)[61]
  • Lost in Ringwood (La Mama Theatre 2013)[62]
  • Ryan (La Mama Theatre 2015)[63]

Musicals

  • Squizzy [with Faye Bendrups] (Think Big Productions 2010)[64]

Stories

Fiction

Non fiction

  • The Gift of the Gab: Stories from the life of Barry Dickins. (1981; Penguin, 1987) ISBN 0-14-010866-1
  • What the Dickins! A symposium of pieces from the low life. (Penguin, 1985) ISBN 0-14-007253-5
  • You’ll Only Go In for Your Mates. (Allen & Unwin, 1991) ISBN 1-86373-147-4
  • I Love To Live: The Fabulous Life of Barry Dickins (Penguin Books 1991) ISBN 014013350X
  • The Australasian Post Great Aussie Beer Guide [with Maurie Fields] (1994)
  • Guts and Pity: The Hanging that ended Capital Punishment in Australia. (Currency Press, 1996) ISBN 0-86819-424-7
  • The House of the Lord (Vintage 1999) ISBN 9781863305624
  • Ordinary Heroes: Personal Recollections of Australians at War (Hardie Grant 1999)[65]
  • Heart and Soul : personal recollections of life in the police force [as editor] (Hardie Grant 2000) ISBN 186498077X (pbk.)
  • Articles of Light: Reflections on lowlifes, ratbags and angels. (Penguin, 2000) ISBN 0-14-029752-9
  • Black and Whiteley: Barry Dickins in search of Brett. (Hardie Grant Books, 2002) ISBN 1-74064-001-2 Review
  • Unparalleled Sorrow : finding my way back from depression (Hardie Grant 2009) ISBN 9781740668033
  • Charles Blackman [with Ken McGregor] (Macmillan Art 2010) ISBN 9781921394355
  • Miniatures: Famous and anonymous souls i collided with. (Flat Chat Press, 2010) ISBN 978-1-921142-57-4
  • Barry and the Fairies of Miller Street with Lee, J (Hardie Grant Books 2012) ISBN 978-1-742703-71-8
  • Lessons in Humility : 40 years of Teaching (Connor Court Publishing 2013) ISBN 9781922168009
  • Footy Works: Australian Football (AFL Media 2014) ISBN 9780992363185
  • The mouthless murderer (Victoria Connor Court Publishing 2015) ISBN 9781925138863
  • A Line Drawing of my Father (Black Pepper Publishing 2015)[66]
  • Last Words: The Hanging of Ronald Ryan (Hardie Grant 2017) ISBN 9781743792780

Children's books

Verse

  • In Light: poems (Melbourne Footscray Community Arts Centre 1978) ISBN 0908109083
  • See What I'm Talking About [as contributor] (La Mama Poetica, 2009)[67]

As illustrator

  • The Barracker's Bible [anthology compiled by Jack Hibberd & Garrie Hutchinson; co-Illustrated with Noel Counihar] (McPhee Gribble Publishers 1983) ISBN 0869140280, 9780869140284
  • Ten tales for republicans [by Allan Drummond] (Green Barrow 2000) ISBN 1876460954

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.vu.edu.au/news-events/events/writer-in-residence-barry-dickins
  2. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/theatre/theatre-review-a-kind-of-fabulous-hatred-20130913-2tq4e.html
  3. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/29332
  4. ^ http://www.theage.com.au/news/arts-reviews/squizzy/2006/06/13/1149964507914.html
  5. ^ http://www.theage.com.au/news/arts-reviews/the-real-thring/2008/09/15/1221330703503.html
  6. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/rn/legacy/programs/atoday/stories/s133053.htm
  7. ^ http://www.fortyfivedownstairs.com/wp2016/news/playwrights-addiction-to-an-australian-art-great-barry-dickins-interview-with-the-age/
  8. ^ https://www.vu.edu.au/news-events/events/writer-in-residence-barry-dickins
  9. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/contributor/417
  10. ^ "Dickins, Barry (a.k.a. Dickins, Barry Leonard )". AusLit Database. 2002-09-30. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  11. ^ https://www.vu.edu.au/news-events/events/writer-in-residence-barry-dickins
  12. ^ http://www.doollee.com/PlaywrightsD/dickins-barry.html
  13. ^ https://www.vu.edu.au/news-events/news/writer-barry-dickins-shares-his-story-in-footscray-university-town
  14. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/30297
  15. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/tv/talkingheads/txt/s2605233.htm
  16. ^ https://www.ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/106497
  17. ^ http://adelaidereview.com.au/opinion/irregular-writings/memories-last-man-hanged-australia-barry-dickins/
  18. ^ http://www.angusrobertson.com.au/book/unparalleled-sorrow-finding-my-way-back-from-depression/6968629/
  19. ^ http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/fairfaxs-barry-dickins-charged-over-carlton-police-claims-published-in-the-sunday-age/news-story/036f8c2748aae1f0955f89b142b598ed
  20. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/124236
  21. ^ https://www.ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/126697
  22. ^ http://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/117474
  23. ^ http://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/117477
  24. ^ http://www.theatrepeople.com.au/whiteleys-incredible-blue-interview-with-barry-dickens/
  25. ^ http://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/117472
  26. ^ http://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/89255
  27. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/91282
  28. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/30885
  29. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/83759
  30. ^ http://www.doollee.com/PlaywrightsD/dickins-barry.html
  31. ^ http://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/91284
  32. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/91279
  33. ^ http://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/30981
  34. ^ http://www.doollee.com/PlaywrightsD/dickins-barry.html
  35. ^ content://com.sec.android.app.sbrowser/readinglist/0202210336.mhtml
  36. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/79230
  37. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/115978
  38. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/work/14488
  39. ^ content://com.sec.android.app.sbrowser/readinglist/0202210336.mhtml
  40. ^ https://www.ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/258
  41. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/1834
  42. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/97267
  43. ^ https://www.ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/11873
  44. ^ http://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/14320
  45. ^ https://australianplays.org/script/ASC-1655
  46. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/13738
  47. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/98389
  48. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/16658
  49. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/29332
  50. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/11817
  51. ^ http://kateherberttheatrereviews.blogspot.com.au/2000/05/believe-me-oscar-wilde-may-31-2000.html?m=1
  52. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/11687
  53. ^ http://kateherberttheatrereviews.blogspot.com.au/2003/05/claustrophobia-by-barry-dickins-may-7.html?m=1
  54. ^ http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/12/23/1071941713253.html
  55. ^ http://kateherberttheatrereviews.blogspot.com.au/2005/03/tyranny-by-barry-dickins-builders.html?m=1
  56. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/75287
  57. ^ http://www.australianstage.com.au/reviews/melbourne/the-real-thring--hoy-polloy-1869.html
  58. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/89393
  59. ^ http://www.theatrepeople.com.au/whiteleys-incredible-blue-interview-with-barry-dickens/
  60. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/97232
  61. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/stage/plaths-potent-words-find-voice-on-stage-20130909-2tg5x.html
  62. ^ http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts/theatre-review-lost-in-ringwood-la-mama-theatre/news-story/06d28cb7a6241e21131b5ef9fd4bb17c
  63. ^ http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/stage/ryan-at-la-mama-syd-brisbane-captures-prisoners-final-hour/news-story/555b97237f2cdcfaa40c2dcbf55da7d2
  64. ^ http://kateherberttheatrereviews.blogspot.com.au/2010/11/squizzy-by-barry-dickins.html?m=1
  65. ^ https://books.google.com.au/books?id=x0hCCQAAQBAJ&dq=barry+dickins&source=gbs_navlinks_s
  66. ^ https://www.vu.edu.au/news-events/news/writer-barry-dickins-shares-his-story-in-footscray-university-town
  67. ^ https://ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/89670

External links[edit]