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Passionate, not parochial: local theatre in Launceston


Warren, W and Woollard, J, Passionate, not parochial: local theatre in Launceston, Australasian Drama Studies, (77) pp. 20-55. ISSN 0810-4123 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 the author(s)


As any local will happily tell you, the regional city of Launceston is passionate about theatre. For its size, with a population of roughly 80,000, the city boasts a remarkable appetite for performance – exemplified by 10,090 patrons over the three-week season of Strictly Ballroom, staged by local community company, Encore Theatre, in 2019. Moreover, this passion for theatre is part of a long and proud tradition, from the Muffs Dramatic Club, founded in 1889, and ongoing for many active amateur theatre companies, including the Launceston Players, founded in 1922. This narrative, of course, represents a European tradition; or, as historian Lloyd Robson more provocatively asserts: ‘[t]he history of Tasmania’s occupation by Europeans is one of transplanted Britons clinging to and emulating the institutions of the colonizing authority’ . As the productions and data discussed in this paper will demonstrate, the theatre culture of Launceston draws on a cultural heritage brought in on the ships that sailed up the kanamaluka (Tamar river), by the colonists that settled an outpost in 1806, at the confluence of the Tamar, North Esk and South Esk rivers. From this heritage, Launceston’s motto ‘Progress with Prudence’, speaks eloquently to the competing political and cultural forces in the region (and state) across economic and social registers that we intend to examine in relation to its contemporary theatre culture.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:theatre, regional, community
Research Division:Creative Arts and Writing
Research Group:Performing arts
Research Field:Drama, theatre and performance studies
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Arts
Objective Field:The performing arts
UTAS Author:Warren, W (Dr Asher Warren)
UTAS Author:Woollard, J (Dr Jane Woollard)
ID Code:142707
Year Published:2021 (online first 2020)
Deposited By:Theatre
Deposited On:2021-02-08
Last Modified:2021-04-29

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