Peter Kenna

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Peter Joseph Kenna
Born (1930-03-18)18 March 1930
Balmain, New South Wales
Died 29 November 1987(1987-11-29) (aged 57)
Sydney, Australia
Occupation playwright, film and screenwriter
Nationality Australian

Peter Joseph Kenna (18 March 1930 – 29 November 1987) was an Australian playwright, radio actor and screenwriter.


Early life[edit]

Born in Balmain, New South Wales, Kenna left school at fourteen and took up various jobs. He started working in the theatre by participating in concert parties at the camps in Sydney during World War II.[1]


His first play was written when he was twenty-one.[1]

In 1959 the play The Slaughter of St Teresa's Day was produced in Sydney, based on the life of Tilly Devine. The play was turned into a television drama in 1960.[2]

He wrote the screen play for the film, The Good Wife (also known as The Umbrella Woman) produced in 1987, a World War II drama about a man, his wife and his brother. The film starred Bryan Brown, Rachel Ward and Sam Neill. Rachel Ward won the Tokyo International Film Festival award for best actress for the film, and Jennie Tate the Australian Film Institute award for Best Achievement in Costume Design.


He died in Sydney on 29 November 1987 after a long illness.



Television writing[edit]

  • The Slaughter of St Theresa's Day (1960) (adapted for TV)
  • Dust or Polish (1972) (TV, adaptation of a novel by Norman Lindsay)
  • The Emigrants (1976) (BBC TV)
  • A Hard God (1981) (adapted for TV)



  1. ^ a b "Agent Details - Kenna, Peter Joseph". Austlit. Retrieved 9 March 2008. 
  2. ^ "The Slaughter of St Theresa's Day (1960) (TV)". Imdb. Retrieved 9 March 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Plays by Peter Kenna". the Playwrights Database. Retrieved 9 March 2008.