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How have changes in our national identity been reflected in Australian drama?

Uploaded by mshiraev on Mar 07, 2005

The word identity has a significant meaning in the contemporary world. It means more than being an independent nation or a geographical location. It has something deeper and more complex which is concerned with the lifestyle, thoughts, faith, arts, sport and how we respond cross-culturally to the values of heroes. Since the early twentieth century, Australia's national identity has been mirrored through its arts programs and use of drama and theatre. However, there has been significant change in the way Australia’s drama has reflected this national identity. In the early 1900’s, less Australian drama appeared on stages around the country, and we were mainly home to foreign works such as Shakespeare. There was a slow increase in the projection of national identity through drama up until the late 1940’s and early 1950’s where Australia's theatre industry hit a boom. From that period onward, the country’s dramatic talent and literary works only enhanced. Plays such as The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, A Touch Of Silk, The Removalists and No Sugar were some of the most influential representations of Australian culture to date. They all portrayed the ‘battling’ way of life through Australian eyes. To our modern day, Australia's national identity is still being strongly reflected through the use of stage drama.
The story of Australian drama had very humble beginnings. Mud huts with improvised stages, lit by candles were not uncommon. The actors were convicts of penal settlements and would put on very small productions of English restoration comedies. Australia’s theatre industry was all “imported culture”. The first Australian play written by an Australian was The Bushrangers by David Burn, in 1829. Before the 20th century, Australian drama was not particularly effective in conveying prominent issues and themes of the time – partly due to political censorship prevailing then, and a lack of ability to describe an Australian ‘identity’ through drama. With federation in 1901, there were increasing demands for a national theatre which truly reflected Australian life. A number of Australian writers were inspired by the growth of national theatre in Ireland and the emergence of a new realism in theatre through the plays of Ibsen, Chekhov and Shaw and the works of Stanislavski, and by the beginning of the 20th century, there was a new nationalistic current surging through Australian theatre.
Although the British theatre was still the popular trend, the nationalistic current was sustained by the growth...

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Uploaded by:   mshiraev

Date:   03/07/2005

Category:   Miscellaneous

Length:   11 pages (2,550 words)

Views:   2539

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