STORMING MONT ALBERT BY TRAM – one man’s attempt to get home. (1982)
The world’s first “really moving” play set and performed on a typical Melbourne tram as it makes its way from the Mont Albert Terminus to the City and back. Audiences watch as fellow passengers as various characters get on and off the tram interacting with each other in increasingly hilarious ways. Relationships are formed and fall apart, fares are avoided, an attempted hijacking takes place, until eventually the police arrive to arrest the innocent and let the guilty go
1982 saw TheatreWorks bounce back with its marvelous Storming Mont Albert By Tram…one of the most original and surreal events ever to animate Melbourne Theatre. It played to packed trams for 14 weeks and has more than confirmed the viability of TheateWorks.
Jack Hibberd The Age Weekender
Storming Mont Albert By Tram captured the (community theatre) movement’s overall style superbly, a pungent parody set on a moving tram, with a nightly load of passengers as the audience. It played to packed trams for four months.
Rhonda Pelletier and Des Files Theatre Extra
Suburban theatre is booming in Melbourne. A new idea…this theatre is a moving tram! The play has had such a tremendous success it is running indefinitely…
Carole Veitch Melbourne Herald
“Stormtroupers hit the Mont Albert track”:
Anyone who rides on a tram knows the feeling of being a spectator at a series of tiny individual dramas. Passengers are like theatre audience members, randomly assembled in a confined space for a short period of time, participants in a ritual with potential for the unexpected…The play takes place entirely on the tram, which travels into the city and back to Mont Albert. Each audience member-cum-traveller is issued with a giant sized mock travel card. They climb aboard, take a seat, look around. Very much like a normal tram. Except the conductress introduces herself: “Hi I’m Alice Cronin and this is my very first night.” The play has caught the public interest. There are only a few seats left for the reason of the season.
Phillipa Hawker The Age
On a Friday evening at approximately 9.20 pm a green tram travelling east along Victoria Parade, Fitzroy narrowly missed colliding with two buses travelling in convoy south along Brunswick Street. Passengers in all vehicles were stunned but sustained no injuries except for a debilitating contortion of the facial muscles… for theatre goers a unique event. Only the drivers were real. Using chartered public transport, the Bus and Tram shows are exploring different relationships between actors and audiences by creating theatrical events in everyday environments… the usual division between audience and performance is challenged which gives rise to ambiguities that are confronting and often hilariously funny… the shows expose and flout the rules of watching. They give us the right to watch unabashed in situations which we are normally reticent. At other times we are the ones being watched.
Suzanne Spunner The National Times
Another clever tram idea, Storming Mont Albert By Tram is a chaotic comedy booked out for months.
John Allen and Claude Forrel Melbourne Living
(Storming Mont Albert By Tram) has great tourist potential. It was phenomenally successful… I can see it becoming something like The Mousetrap was in London, a real tourist drawcard.
Don Dunstan (former premier of South Australia) The Age
Storming Mont Albert By Tram is a unique theatrical experience based on a series of actual incidents that the writer and cast have collected over lifetimes of travel on public transport. A progression of curious and hilarious incidents that occur as the tram makes its way to the city and back. Relationships develop and fall part. There is humour, pathos and desperation. A documentary play about the nature of Melbourne’s trams and the people who use them. The characters are drawn from the suburbs in which they appear to live.
Moomba Festival of Theatre
Paul Davies has got a good deal of mileage from the incidents he witnessed. He also used his experiences in a short story which won a prize in the Journal’s short story competition.
Phillipa Hawker The Age
A unique and intriguing production
It’s not every day that you can watch a stage play on a moving tram. But that’s what
Melbourne “commuters” are doing during Moomba this year… If a play in a tram is not a world first, it’s certainly very close to it.
Visitors from faster and trendier cities used to say there wasn’t much fun at night in Melbourne. But not anymore. This year two hilarious night rides have grabbed the headlines. Storming Mont Albert By Tram is a sequence of amusing and startling “happenings”. The commuters (audience) were starting to get the hang of the show and loving the diversion. But they weren’t sure about the warring couple whose conversation sounded too real to be play-acting. None of it was real, but all of it was the sort of thing that COULD happen.
Laurie Landray Australasian Post
Innovative, a bizarre theatrical first: a play on a tram.
One of the most memorable moments involved an off-duty policeman who got on the tram unaware that a play was being acted out inside. The play was at the point where a drunken derelict and a conductress are arguing about the drunk’s attempts to buy a ticket with a pound note. He approaches the conductress ID in hand and asks if the drunk is giving any trouble. While she was trying to deal with the policeman the derelict was trying to keep the play moving by offering his pound note. The policeman swung round and asked “Oh come on mate, how many times have you tried that one?” The audience loved it. On another occasion the drunk had just been thrown off the stage tram when an ordinary tram squealed to a halt. The driver leapt out, grabbed Danny, put him in a half nelson and called out “I’ve got him. I’ve got him!”
Deidre Black Eastern Standard
Innovative, valid with elements of street theatre. It involves the eastern suburbs and focuses on an area not noted for avant garde theatre. Any form of innovation is welcome in these dreary days.
John Hindle Sunday Observer
Taking Melbourne By Storm! A bizarre but entertaining sequence of events.
METRA (the news vehicle for MMTB employees)
Every tram should have one. Car drivers and prospective passengers along the Mont Albert route into Collins Street have been intrigued by some strange goings on this week. Of course this is not a regular journey but a neat bit of innovation by TheatreWorks. The audience loved it all. One said riding on trams would never be the same again. Another said “Every tram should have a resident drama company.”
Laurie Landray The Melbourne Herald
Tram Stormed Mont Albert. Storming Mont Albert By Tram had a riotous debut on its tram trip from Mont Albert to Melbourne and back last Thursday night.
The funniest things happen on trams. In an attempt to expose the curious, humorous, idiosyncratic folly and genius of the situations which arise while tram trolleying TheateWorks is performing the world’s first ever play on a tram. An inspired piece of lunacy. The production has enough scope for improvisation to accommodate the audience as actors. Nobody actually identifies themselves they simply start talking.
A unique repertory conception, a play on a specially hired green tram is a theatre highlight of Melbourne’s Moomba festival. The show is built for laughs
Storming Mont Albert By Tram not only takes theatre out to the people it makes theatre out of the everyday environment. Sherrifs and Davies have created a complete event that is more than just being on a tram with a group of actors. The event they have created, like real-life, has a multiplicity of focus and the script is only a part of it; what really is at issue and of interest is the subversion of the boundaries between theatre and life. The tram show has done more for the public transport lobby than Travelcard ever could, and en route created original, genuinely popular theatre.
Suzanne Spunner Theatre Australia
Storming Mont Albert By Tram has furnished some indication of the importance of the theatrical upheaval in Melbourne. No play with and audience of 50 can pay its way, but it is unique and precious and must be preserved. Technically it is fascinating to watch the cast trim its ad libbing to the actual time between stops. There is something very special about this project which Melbourne must not let slip out of its communal life. Not only are trams virtually unique to Melbourne, but the possibility of stylizing some of the events that all tram travellers have seen has been realised triumphantly. Television brings a form of drama to where we live; this play brings live theatre into the public space we share, not like street theatre, at which we are passing spectators, but to a defined space of which we have elected to become part for a specified time. Needless to say the incidents which make up the script are very funny. The actors from TheatreWorks are revolutionising theatrical space, by performing a play as though it were real life, in the safety of a moving tram. I can think of no better bridge between the community and its own theatre than the sort of re-enactment of real-life fiascos that make up the stuff of Storming Mont Albert By Tram
Ken Healey The Canberra Times
A wild, whacky idea which took Mont Albert and the rest of Melbourne by storm. So successful was Storming Mont Albert By Tram that a three week experiment turned into a three month engagement that has put TheatreWorks back on the tracks financially.
Kay O’Sullivan The Sun
The show must go on! The freewheeling Number 42 tram packed with caricatures of the tram travelling society, an expectant audience is one of the most popular shows playing anywhere in Australia.
5 Storming Mont Albert By Tram had a riotous debut on its tram trip from Mont Albert
to Melbourne and back last Thursday night. This unique repertory conception will be a theatre highlight of Moomba. The show itself is built for laughs.
BREAKING UP IN BALWYN – a toast to money, marriage and divorce (1983)
The world’s first play staged and set on a Melbourne riverboat, Breaking Up in Balwyn is performed as a divorce party where the audience are the best friends of housewife and socialite Samantha Hart-Byrne. They’ve been invited to help Samantha celebrate her official separation (decree nisi) from husband, Michael Byrne – a colourful businessman and gambler. The gay divorcee also seizes the opportunity to introduce her new boyfriend, independent Sydney filmmaker Nigel Davidson. Unfortunately, Michael gate-crashes the party disguised as a gorilla-gram and soon the tax squad and river police become involved as the details of his tax avoidance and money laundering schemes become shockingly clear.
“If Storming Mont Albert was as crazy as I’ve been led to believe, then they’ve gone one better with Breaking Up…. The whole idea of theatre- on-the move is a breath of fresh air for the theatre goer and performer adding as it does, an extra dimension to the theatrical process.” (Kevin Gray Lot’s Wife)
“On a boat cruising up the Yarra, Breaking Up In Balwyn has its own nautical charm” (Garrie Hutchinson The National Times)
“Tram Crew Afloat: Barry Humphries will not be the only showman set afloat this Moomba. Energetic community theatre group TheatreWorks whose Storming Mont Albert By Tram was such a success last year, is continuing to chronicle suburban life on the move in Breaking Up In Balwyn set entirely on a Yarra riverboat. (Stephanie Bunbury The Age)
Breaking Up In Balwyn … introduces the divorcee, her new boyfriend, her ex-husband and the ‘French maid’ who serves party goodies. A resident psychiatrist makes the running in the over-acting stakes. As with Tram a shady and confused police posse become vitally involved, and with their presence the action turns into hilarious farce.” (Laurie Landray The Herald)
“Another gem, a satire on marriage, money and divorce the play will be staged on board the Yarra Princess, Melbourne’s ‘love boat’ cruising the Yarra… a madcap boatride play with films, music, dancing and light refreshments.” (Melbourne Sun)
“Real theatre; certainly theatrical in the best sense of the word. From the moment you line up at Princes Walk waiting to board the Yarra Princess there is a sense of excitement, celebration and fun… an inspired sequel to Storming Mont Albert By Tram. Hilarious. The script works on gags and general send ups of characters we know so well. But it is good natured satire, qualitatively different to the sourness of say Edna Everage humour. Never a dull moment. (J. Ellison Melbourne Times )
“After a landing stop near Como Park, which sees a couple of unexpected additons to the cast, the pace quickens and the laughs come more freely. The actors’ timing cannot be faulted. A light and gentle entertainment with a strong sense of occasion.” (Leonard Radic The Age)
“An hilarious sequel to Storming Mont Albert By Tram” (The Sun)
“ a mixture of the novelty of being on board a riverboat, funny throwaway one-liners and a feeling of being part of the action makes the play work. It is the unusual side of the play that makes it entertaining…Ten marks to TheatreWorks for attempting a production like this It is certainly innovative theatre” (Robert Gibson This Week In Melbourne)
“The farces was an enjoyable float through divorce and the water police… the enjoyment and participation of the audience in the confined space of the boat was complete.” (Garrie Hutchinson The National Times)
“TheatreWorks show sold out” (Progress Press) “Riot of a comedy set on the Yarra” (Advocate) “This satire will break up up.” (The Mail)
“ A splendid concept…inventive use is made of the river, with comings and goings by various means; as interruptions to the pallid party pile on upon another, each seems funnier and more unlikely than its predecessor. In short the show is saved.” (Ken Healey The Canberra Times)
“Theatre for the people is afloat! There will be music, dancing and some of Nigel’s films and the party promises to do for divorce what Dimboola did for marriage ” (Di Lyttleton Sunday Observer)
“Somehow Paul Davies has…written a play which leaves behind the ockerism of
Dimboola and yet seems as close to home as the local milk bar. It’s my kind of theatre – it talks about the things that make me smile, albeit cynically. It’s bound to appeal to a wide range of people…get a party together Samantha will be glad to have you. What is being lampooned is everyday stuff; the suburban hypocrisy and pumped-up sophistication of the middle classes; the it’s-legal-as-long-as-you-don’t-get-caught syndrome and the supposed infallibility of those holding respected positions. The whole idea of theatre on the move is a breath of fresh air for both theatre goer and performer, adding as it does an extra dimension to the theatrical process. On the one hand the normal intimacy associated with the theatre restaurant is retained while an element of ‘expanded realism’ thus far only possible in film and television is introduced leading to a total experience theatre. ” (Kevin Gray Lot’s Wife)
“There’s plenty to watch; characters arrive by rowboat or are picked up from the shore, the cast is continually called upon to improvise so that the boat and the story are both in the right places. The events are so unexpected that they often take the actors by surprise. It relies entirely on novelty value – and what’s wrong with that?”
“A riot of a show!” (Mountain District Free Press)
LIVING ROOMS – scenes in a family mansion 1986
Three scenes are set in separate rooms in different time periods as the story of one of St. Kilda’s grand old mansions is revealed. Set in 1900 (as a family mansion), 1972 (as a boarding house) and 1988 (as an art gallery) the scenes are performed simultaneously and repeated three times as three separate audience groups rotate through the building. Eventually characters from all three time periods are brought together for a surreal finale in the central Hallway.
“It seems that you are in a time warp and that you’re walking into some rich history book… witty humorous and quite profound” Lidia Giarratana
“Writer, actor and director Paul Davies has ingeniously constructed a play which breaks down the normal constraints of time and place in theatre…. This is community theatre at its best, socially relevant, artistically challenging, thought-provoking in the contemporary issues it raises.” Helen Thompson (The Australian)
“Apart from the incredible precision required to mount this production as smoothly and coherently as they have, and the skills to perform the material with the energy and cunning that they have displayed, TheatreWorks have also had the wit to exploit that most marvelous amalgam of theme, atmosphere, location and contemporary relevance so vital to the success of community theatre. Living Rooms in short, has been without doubt the most interesting play in town for some nine weeks.” Geoffrey Milne (Centre Stage)
“The complexity of how these events relate to each other is captivating and enchanting – so much so that you could view the events in any order and still understand.”
“This piece of innovative location theatre deals with the tragedy of misused moments… energetic and convincing the script is sharp and extremely witty. Davies premise is that the value of idealists at the turn of the century and during the Whitlam years were never realized, leaving a vacuum of empty rhetoric.” Jacqui Macdonald.
“Something more than a history lesson …I found the location aspect of theatre in this TheatreWorks production, fascinating to say the least.” Karen Murphy (Melbourne Times)
LAST TRAIN TO ST. KILDA? – a heavy rail story 1987
A young couple move into a run down house in an inner city suburb about to undergo a dramatic demographic change from established working and criminal class neighbourhood (drugs and prostitution) to a “new” community of middle class professionals piling in for the real estate “opportunities” to be had so close to their offices in the CBD. Unfortunately fo them, the criminal element doesn’t quite leave and our innocent young couple are soon burgled several times and receive little help from the obviously compromised local police. Set in a near future where one’s identity is entirely bound up with an “Australia Card”, where classes collide and where the closing of the local railway line symbolizes the inevitability of change – not always for the better.
The funniest night’s entertainment in years. Theatre That Really Works ! This inventive piece of modern theatre really gets down to the nitty gritty in its story of a very ordinary suburban couple caught up in the traps of modern society. The laughs come thick and fast. All the cast are excellent. It’s so good one wonders how long it will be before Paul Davies material enters the mainstream theatre, perhaps the MTC. I can’t recommend Last Train to St. Kilda highly enough…
Set somewhere in the near future the play explores the suburb affectionately. The show moves at a rapid pace, using a series of television
12 style sketches. Performances are strong. In all a pleasant slight evening of humour
and social satire.
John Hindle (The Herald)
Last Train to St. Kilda deals with a society that has gone mad. A society whose opinions are formed by newspapers like the Daily Liar, where all the money has holes in it and where, about the only thing you’re allowed to get without your ID is a cold sore. Can a mere individual Turn the Tide. Can a play save a railway line? Make sure you catch Last Train to St. Kilda and find out.
The result is partly a rail against the government, and partly a reaction against the attack on our privacy from bureaucrats, in particular their misuse of computer data bases. The style of the play is Mel Brooks. Davies certainly has some brilliant ideas and some razor-sharp observations on contemporary life, but for each classic line there are a dozen clichés. Last Train to St. Kilda might appeal to lovers of farce or activists in need of some comic relief.
Chris Boyd (Australian Visitor News, Melbourne Times, St. Kilda Times)
The actual, as opposed to the theatrical last train to St. Kilda ran on July 31 1987 which added a certain poignancy to TheatreWorks’ entertaining show. It was great to be in a community theatre packed to capacity (about 300) by and appreciative and theatre-wise audience.
Ann Nugent (The Canberra Times)
What a perfect piece of timing. The last train will run on the old St.Kilda railway line next week and five days later playwright Paul Davies the man who gave us Storming Mont Albert by Tram will premiere his new play. A suitably nutty play about the massive changes the old seaside suburb is undergoing.
Graeme Johnstone (The Sun)
One of Melbourne’s more inventive theatre companies…Defiantly parochial. Last Train to St. Kilda is written like a film, very simple props, entrances, exits, “very Joe Orteon or Dario Fo: quick lines and rapid changes. There’s even a black and white Hollywood feel like those old films Last Train to Bombay. The sets and costumes are black and white. I wanted to capture a sense of the romance of the train.
In tackling burning issues of the moment Davies and TheatreWorks are to be congratulated. Enjoyable punchy vigorous. It’s a very funny piece and its well served by Denis Moore’s inventive and energetic production. But there are distinct problems: its awkward structure and its tendency to take on more issues and themes than it can develop with any thoroughness. Geoffrey Milne (Centre Stage)
If there is a central theme, this is it. The replacement of the old trusted by the new and doubtful is seen as symptomatic of what’s wring with St. Kilda and the modern world, where decisions are made by bureaucrats and capitalists and the people affected have no say. Though there are some
13 funny and telling moments, and though Rod Williams, Helen Tripp and Jean Kittson
make a success of most of the variety of roles they play,
the writing is uneven, the structure is shaky and the scenes often follow one another jerkily.
Barry Oakley (Times On Sunday)
If topicality was all that went to the making of a good play, TheatreWorks would be on a winner with Last Train to St. Kilda. Unfortunately, other qualities are called for; and Paul Davies script does not have them. In his earlier environmental plays for TheatreWorks – Storming Mont Albert By Tram, Breaking Up in Balwyn and more recently Living Rooms – he revealed a wonderfully inventive streak. The novelty lay not so much in the scripts themselves as in the sense of occasion created by playing them on a tram, a Yarra riverboat and inside an historic St. Kilda home respectively. This was community theatre at tits best. The play is an attempt to marry a number of concerns on the author’s part – in particular, his concern for the individual in society controlled by bureaucrats and developers. The trouble with this approach is that the hero seems to be his own worst enemy. He is not in any real sense a victim of “progress” or “development”. His loss of his identity is of his own making. In short the play is strong on humour but weak on sociology and analysis.
Leonard Radic (The Age)
It is seriously flawed, possessing a committed sincerity it is true, but requiring a much higher degree of professional competence, both of writing and production, if is to lay claim to any artistic effectiveness. The characters consist of a series of crude stereotypes with about as much complexity as a comic strip (there are a few bood jokes). Moral relativity rules in this very confused piece which simplistically makes villains of all representatives of authority yet also makes us laugh at the culturally impoverished lives of the resident for whom it apparently speaks. Last Train to St. Kilda fails to demonstrate a real alternative to the ills it deplores; in fact, it tends to reinforce the worst prejudices about St. Kilda. The play itself consists of a sequence of simple scenes and lacks both structural and subtextural complexity. Paul Davies as the representative Everyman, John Smith, fails to evoke much sympathy for a character barely in charge of his own life, apparently as confused as the audience ends up being after watching his play.
Helen Thomson (The Australian)
Davies made a very good fist of acting in his own play and in fact so good was he, so charming and engaging of the audience, that one wonders if one see a better or even as good a production without him in it. The seediness and local colour of St. Kilda are drawn to good effect in the script. The central couple are innocents abroad in a suburb seething with security fences (burglars on the inside, not the outside), paranoid trigger happy policemen, proud lovable prostitutes, pizza sellers and nosy neighbours. This fine production was made even finer by good direction and design from Denis Moore and Greg Carroll respectively, and by a few cartoons that Barry Dickens managed to slide into the show.
(The Melbourne Report)
Davies, who grew up in Queensland watching the destruction of Surfers Paradise is concerned progress could destroy the suburb. The attraction of St. Kilda is its history, its nightlife, its cosmopolitan feeling and there’s a
14 danger that mindless development will destroy that. But any kind of change, whether
social or personal, is interesting dramatically. (Herald Thursday Magazine)
So what happens if your home is burgled three times in as many weeks and the autobank Teller has swallowed your Australia Card? How can you commit suicide on a railway line that has been closed for twelve years? What exactly is the St. Kilda curse? Who is that woman who keeps buying bottles of baby oil by the dozen with $100 notes with holes drilled through? Should the police do something about all this? All these questions are answered in the latest play by Paul Davies: Last Train to St. Kilda.
STORMING ST. KILDA BY TRAM – another man’s attempt to get home
The world’s second “really moving” play unfolds on a typical Melbourne tram as it makes its way from the St. Kilda Terminus to the City and back. Audiences are part of the action as various characters get on and off the tram interacting with each other in increasingly hilarious ways. Relationships are formed and fall apart, an attempted hijacking takes place, and eventually the police arrive to arrest the innocent and let the guilty go
Making Mirth On The Move:
…a uniquely Melbourne version of travelling theatre…this show (is) compulsive viewing. Some of the fun comes from the confusion between life and art. If you can drag your attention away from the drama inside the reactions of the passing motorists or genuine travellers trying to board constitute a comedy in themselves. Paul Davies has written a plot of sorts, but Storming St, Kilda relies on informality of pushing beyond the conventions of stage naturalism. There is no escape from the intimacy of public transport, and our private audience space is frequently invaded by actors playing all too familiar roles. In fact the characterization consists entirely of stereo-types, with much of the humour arising from the very predictability of their behavior. Alice the conductor is a battler with a heart of gold, Danny the Derro makes precisely the public nuisance of himself of which drunks have always been capable. You may not be much edified by Storming St. Kilda by Tram but you’re bound to enjoy this robust slice of Melbourne life, an entirely appropriate offering for its Comedy Festival.
Helen Thomson The Australian.
Worth Going Along For The Ride:
I nervously boarded the tram outside Luna Park…and quietly prayed that the performance would not involve too much audience participation. The passengers – performing ones that is – range from a romantic punk to a film-making Sydney trendy in bad need of some primal therapy. There’s an escort agency girl, an escapee from Brighton and of course a derro. The show has everything. Colour movement, travel sickness bags and an interval at Young and Jackson’s.
Chris Boyd St. Kilda Times.
Melbourne’s dynamic theatre scene provides drama for all tastes. TheatreWorks have staged works in unusual venues, including a hotel, a living room, and very successfully a tram. The company mounts theatre of everyday life, encouraging audiences to think differently about the quality of their existence.
Age Good Weekend Magazine 8/4/1988
Tram Play Runs Right On Track:
Even the threat of a tram strike could not put this show off the track… the zany cast provided plenty of mayhem for the travelling audience…in what conductor Siobhan Tuke
Herald Sun Melbourne 23/1/1991
Melbourne’s tramway system is one of the nine wonders of the world…something special also applies to the play Storming St. Kilda By Tram… The play captured the imagination of everyone who had ever ridden on the Met with its realism, wit and original lines.
Western Independent 22/1/1991
Melbourne’s tramway system whether we like it or not is one of the major tourist attractions in our city, rain, hail or shine…and a first class conveyance for thousands of commuters everyday. The TheatreWorks group has jumped onto the tram bandwagon with a return season of Storming St. Kilda By Tram.
The hilarious story unfolds as you travel along some of Melbourne’s most scenic routes on Tram No 902 leaving at 8.17pm (sharp)… so buy your ticket early and some along for the ride of your life!
Richmond Times i29/1/1991
The most ‘moving’ piece of theatre you are ever likely to see is coming to a tram stop near you… Last performed three years ago Theatre Works Storming St. Kilda By Tram by award winning author Paul Davies is having a return season. Travel along some of Melbourne’s most scenic routes in the Heart Health tram while enjoying some very funny theatre. Last performed three years ago Storming St. Kilda has been extensively revised, so if you’ve seen it before it will be well worth seeing again.
… a thoroughly modern and uniquely Melbourne experience. TheatreWorks innovative show, Storming St. Kilda By Tram returns for a third triumphant season…performed on a moving Melbourne tram as it travels from St. Kilda to the city and back, it presents you with extraordinary stories of ordinary tram travellers. Trapped in a set of hilarious circumstances, their lives, and yours, as a result, will never be the same again.
What’s on in Melbourne 4/2/1991
Tram To Storm St. Kilda Again
Trams. They provide a useful transport to and from a show. But a tram as the theatre? “Why not?” thought that highly imaginative company TheatreWorks back in 1983 and proceeded to stage a hit production Storming Mont Albert By Tram. Now its back with a script revised by author Paul Davies to make it even funnier.
Coburg Courier 5/2/1991
Storming St. Kilda By Tram the successor of the 1983 production Storming Mont Albert By Tram was one of the major hits of the 1988 Comedy Festival as it captured the imagination of everyone who has ever ridden on the Met ! The production sold out prior to opening night, and TheatreWorks has been inundated with requests ever since, and in 1989 Storming St. Kilda By Tram was awarded the AWGIE for “Best Community Theatre Piece of 1988”
Collingwood City News 5/2/1991
Show On The Road
…some of the most priceless moments as the action spills out of the tram between stops, are the looks on the faces of ordinary passers-by.
All Aboard For A Rattling Good Yarn Or Two
It ran late of course and was packed but everyone aboard was smiling in a silly, expectant way. The connie was a sterling example of why they are indispensible. At the first stop a woman in black sequins boarded, she had been stranded when hubby had skipped desert at Jean Jacques leaving her with only an Amex card. An old gent (fortified by more than public spirit) offered his last coins for the ride and the streetcar named desire lurched off at a cracking pace…after two hours we ended up back where we had started, but as the saying goes “to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.”
Rebecca Lancashire The Age 8/2/1991
The highly acclaimed hit opened a return season with a revised script. It promises once more to be one of the most vigorous pieces of theatre in town.
The Sunday Age 10/2/1991
Storming St. Kilda By Tram
There is nothing like an unusual venue or setting to titillate the palate of the jaded theatre goer. Storming St. Kilda By Tram Melbourne’s only perambulatory theatrical entertainment, has also returned for the third time, with a new cast and rewritten script. As with most truly successful ideas the premise is mouthwateringly simple. The audience join the tram in St. Kilda, which takes them via a circuitous route, into the city. Unlikely characters get on and off the tram at various stops, and the resultant interplay between them creates a lively and not too far removed from reality entertainment. The interval is observed at Young and Jacksons and your ticket entitles you to a free beer. The plot strands are simple but engaging Storming St. Kilda is a mobile soap opera. Storming St. Kilda is a marvelous show with obviously limited seating that is worth booking ahead for. Much pleasure comes from when the drama spills over to the outside of the tram – when one character screams abuse of ‘I love you’ out of the door at another character at another who has alighted – because the expressions on the faces of the people on the street is absolutely priceless, indubitably the most fun you can have on the Met.
Fiona Scott-Norman 13/2/1991
Soap Opera On Wheels
The latest incarnation of Storming St. Kilda has a new cast (Cliff Ellen excepted), several new gags and a different ending. Paul Davies has polished his script. His talent for one-liners gets better each year. “Time wounds all heels” an escort agency worker says to her jerk ex-boyfriend. Davies observations on contemporary society too, are getting more pungent and wryly perceptive. The ex-boyfriend for example, a chic filmmaker from Sydney talks of a course in group therapy which he took by correspondence. (Think about it!). In previous years I have complained that the scripts of these location theatre events have in general been underwritten and thus productions have relied too heavily on the environment. With this latest version of Storming St. Kilda By Tram the tram and the script are perfectly matched. The play couldn’t exist without the location and vice versa. Storming St. Kilda By Tram is a soap-opera-buffa- cabaret on wheels. It will delight once a week theatre goers no less than the once a year punters. Do yourself a favour.
Chris Boyd The St. Kilda Times 14/2/1991.
A young punk in St. Kilda proved reality is funnier than fiction when he tried to hitch a ride on a private tram used as the mobile venue for Storming St. Kilda By Tram. The unscheduled performance occurred when the tram stopped in Domain Rd. Sth Yarra to let one of the character actors on. The spikey-hired punk mistaking the vehicle for a real tram attempted to get on. The doors would not open for him so he hung on to the running board screaming “Let m in” until the next stop. Gaining entry he screamed abuse at the “conductor’ and the audience, thinking he was part of the show laughed. The punk alighted at the next stop, commenting that he’d never ssen such a rude bunch. The audience of course applauded him.
The Sunday Sun 24/2/1991
A thoroughly enjoyable experience. The return of TheatreWorks’ Awgie Award production allows the audience to laugh up a storm while Storming St. Kilda By Tram … an extraordinary production as the venue is actually a mobile tram. This is by no means a conventional piece of theatre with scenes, props or intervals. Instead the audience adopts the role of passengers on the tram and the comedy/drama unfolds as the characters board the tram from various terminals along the way. The success of this production lies in its recognition of all passengers’ weakness: eavesdropping. Storming St. Kilda By Tram indulges our fondness for both eavesdropping and voyeurism with its colourful characters in their eye catching array. Forget about debating the benefits of buying a weekly ticket over a monthly one. Let me assure you, a ticket to Storming St. Kilda By Tram is the best value around.
Geraldine Doyle Lot’s Wife 28/2/1991
Trams Snakes And Tea Cakes
One does not expect to find the words ‘entertainment’ and ‘tram’ in the same sentence. TheatreWorks current production Storming St. Kilda By Tram panders to the voyeur in us all, and does so with great humour and panache. Storming St. Kilda By Tram is one of a number of ‘situational theatre’ events being staged around Melbourne this summer, and these events require more active audience participation than does conventional theatre. The structure is developed around a series of incidents which unfold in front of the passengers/audience. These are actually short stories, moments in the lives of the characters who step aboard to participate in the comic-drama. The characters are primarily stereotypes, and Davies plays on the audience’s prejudices, preconceptions and fantasies in order to demonstrate the pathos and humour of the human condition beneath the clichéd images they present to the world. The cast worked very hard to please and succeeded in most instances in providing very amusing characterizations. The timing of the production was very cleverly done, with the dramatic conclusion occurring just before the tram reached the terminus. Some of the most enjoyable moments in the play came from the reactions of people in traffic-bound adjacent cars,
as one or two of the cast alighted from the tram and continued their antics on the footpath. Their reactions brought to mind Woody Allen’s film Stardust Memories. Paula Carr Melbourne Report (March 1991)
This wasn’t your ordinary run-of-the-mill commuting journey. By courtesy of that innovative company TheatreWorks we were Storming St. Kilda By Tram. And after that any other trip would seem tame.
So wholeheartedly do the actors enter into the spirit of the thing that at first we looked askance at the seedy character sprawled on one of the seats, snoring loudly while a “tranny” blasted out the races. Then as the conductress tried to wake him up we realized that the play had begun. The script is easy on the intellect. Don’t bother looking for a message, there isn’t one. In all it’s a couple of hours of relaxed good fun. It’s easy to see why the original concept over in the eastern suburbs became almost a cult attraction, and why the St. Kilda version, launched in 1988 has been revived by genuine public demand.
Peg Morgan Preston Post Times 18/3/1991
Making Mirth On The Move:
…a uniquely Melbourne version of travelling theatre…this show (is) compulsive viewing. Some of the fun comes from the confusion between life and art. If you can drag your attention away from the drama inside the reactions of the passing motorists or genuine travellers trying to board constitute a comedy in themselves.
Tram Play Runs Right On Track:
Even the threat of a tram strike could not put this show off the track… the zany cast provided plenty of mayhem for the travelling audience… Herald Sun Melbourne 23/1/1991
Melbourne’s tramway system is one of the nine wonders of the world…something special also applies to the play Storming St. Kilda By Tram… The play captured the imagination of everyone who had ever ridden on the Met with its realism, wit and original lines.
Western Independent 22/1/1991
ON SHIFTING SANDSHOES – an in tents experience 1988
Every year a group of friends go camping on North Stradbroke Island (Mingerriba), an idyllic paradise only twenty kilometres off the the Queensland coast near Brisbane. Every year from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve they have a fabulous time, cavorting in the surf, playing bastard ball, eating, drinking and celebrating another year gone. However, in 1988, the year of Australia’s Bicentennial, they encounter a massive cyclone which not only wrecks and floods their campsite but soon sees them cut off from civilization and, incredibly, virtually running out of food. As things go from bad to worse and hunger turns to starvation prior deceptions and misdemeanors are revealed, new passions are ignited and relationships rapidly fall apart. Even magic mushrooms are mistakenly eaten causing more chaos. At the climax of their descent into madness a rare and endangered local marsupial is destroyed. At which point, the storm seems to abate. But by the end of the holiday week they leave the debris of their campsite knowing full well that such a reunion will never happen again.
“A riotous comedy of errors possessing elements of The Big Chill, Wake In Fright, and Lord of the Flies… Performances from the cast had the audience in hysterics throughout the evening.” Southern Cross
“A fine comic script. The first half is like a burlesque, eighties version of Michael Gow’s Away. The second half is a Gothic, mushroom-induced nightmare. This is in my opinion, the comedy of the year.”
Chris Boyd, The Melbourne Times.
“Part of the glee with which the audiences can watch this show is that it’s them and not us having to suffer through this abominably awful experience. Davies and the cast obviously had a lot of fun putting the show together.” Jennifer Ellison The Bulletin.
“On Shifting Sandshoes is a fine and light hearted piece of Australian theatre by Paul Davies, thorough, hilarious and delightful.” Footscray Mail
“On Shifting Sandshoes is one in an impressive line of clever satirical comedies by TheatreWorks stalwart, Paul Davies. Arguably the funniest show in town at the moment, it concerns an oddly assorted sextet which takes its Christmas and New Year holidays each year on Stradbroke Island. As pre-Christmas farce it works pretty well.” Geoffrey Milne The Australian Financial Review
“It is in part about the rituals and pecking orders, while exploring the way in which stress can rip away the superficial veil of civility. When things go wrong the stress begins to corrode each person’s character.” Melbourne Herald.
“TheatreWorks have done it again! A laugh-a-minute call of the wild in Paul Davies’camping epic On Shifting Sandshoes. It’s exceptionally well cast with superb performances. Paul Davies is developing into a major comic satirist and his plays are always worth seeing. I challenge anyone not to enjoy this latest offering.” The Melbourne Report.
FULL HOUSE/NO VACANCIES – last night at the “Linga Longa” 1989
Full House No Vacancies is a “location play” set in a run down St. Kilda boarding
house that was once a splendid Victorian mansion. On arrival at the front door the audience are divided into three groups who rotate through bedrooms belonging to three of its residents where scenes are performed simultaneously (so that each audience group witnesses all the events of the play but in different viewing orders). These are the living spaces of Sheila (a semi-retired actress and chantreuse), Freddie a failed stand-up comic, and Rosie a professional masseuse. Into the mix come Liz, a pregnant friend of Rosie’s, Gareth a deregistered Welsh doctor who has saved Freddy from being bashed up at his latest failed gig, and Nick, one of Rosie’s clients (who turns out to be a developer intent on turning the Linga Longer into a car park for his latest highrise monstrosity next door). Over-lording the Lina Longa is its caretaker Morrey, a nervous, constantly irritated little man with one eye and less patience for anything. As the residents endeavor to save their “home” from destruction, characters wander from room to room, hiding secrets and plotting strategies. The story concludes with a “happy hour” in the main dining room out the back where Freddy finally gets to be funny, Gareth ties the knot with Liz, and Rosie has her sweet revenge on the heartless developer.
House of Fun In St. Kilda. In the tradition of Living Rooms (also by Paul Davies) comes Full House/No Vacancies an ambulatory piece which takes the audience, literally through the lives (and rooms) of the people whose lives revolve around the Hotel Linga Longa. The characters, all exaggerated to some extent, are vivid reflections of many of St. Kilda’s more interestin personas. Full House/No Vacancies is an example of traditional theatre meeting the distilled St. Kilda Experience. It is a vibrant, lively production combining elements of comedy and drama. The sheer energy of the piece carries the audience along and draws it into what is exceptionally well synchronized slice-of-life theatre. But among the froth and the trauma lies a strong anti- development message. Quintessentially St Kilda the play makes a plea not only to preserve a unique bayside suburb, but places generally which because of their bohemian nature or mix of residents give a city character and stop it becoming just another bland collection of skyscrapers…lots of fun, regular TheatreWorks patrons should not be disappointed.
Carolyn O’Donnell The Herald
It was difficult to work out who was acting and who was not. Actually everyone was and we were just beginning to realize the fact. Full House/No Vacancies is a brilliantly conceived story of one particular evening in a St. Kilda boarding house. Each character is trying to keep a grasp of their sanity and integrity while trying to avoid the commonplace occurences of the 1980s. The Linga Longa is a sanctuary free from Dial-A-Dinos, push button telephones, property developers and remote control television. It’s residents live from day to day, striving to maintain the institution of St. Kilda, while still holding on to the glory of their youthful ambitions. My advice is to grab a tambourine, visit the residents of 26 Acland Street, and join in the Linga Longa sing-along. You might even win the chook.
Elizabeth Wortley In Press/In Theatre
Despite the outrageous comedy Paul Davies latest play Full House/No Vacancies does have a serious theme.
Once famous for its drug addicts, prostitutes, street kids, drunks and generally seedy way of life, St. Kilda is on the move. It has become trendy, home to the yuppies, the developers and the entourage which goes with real estate on the rise. Not all agree that the change is for the good. Indeed St. Kilda is suffering from and identity crisis. It is quite a remarkable feat that all the actions takes place simultaneously as the audience (which is divided into groups) moves from boudoir to boudoir. Indeed it is a remarkable performance from the beginning to Freddie Finally’s stand-up routine and Liz and Gareth’s love song. Directed by Robin Laurie and produced by TheatreWorks Full House/No Vacancies is a theatrical event.
Fern Voller Melbourne Report
A riotous evening of laughter and innovative theatre. An array of eccentric characters…pop in and out of rooms as the story unfolds, giving a taste of life in a St. Kilda boarding house. Written by Paul Davies Full House/No Vacancies is a clever piece of theatre which induces total audience involvement. Scenes are played to the three audience groups as they move from room to room… Overall it makes for great entertainment and an hilarious night out and gets people involved in the true spirit of theatre.
Claire Fitzpatrick The Melbourne/St Kilda Times
As usual Davies draws his characters with broad brush strokes. None the less the piece is held together by the sheer energy of the players who leap in and out of doors windows and cupboards in the best French farce tradition. The production by Robin Laurie is lively and entertaining. Some how the running, jumping and standing still is synchronized so that the audience is never kept waiting. This is not profound or daring theatre. But it is innovative, inventive and in the best TheatreWorks tradition, full of fun. As with Living Rooms it also taps into the debate about property development in St. Kilda. As a Comedy Festival even it more than earns its keep. Leonard Radic The Age
TheatreWorks, the St.Kilda based company which largely pioneered this sort of “location theatre” contributes Full House/No Vacancies an ingenious play by Paul Davies about characters living in a St. Kilda boarding house. It reminds me in structure of Alan Ayckbourn’s the Norman Conquests except that everything happens simultaneously, demanding nice timing from the cast. It is performed with tremendous energy with particularly entertaining performances from Brian Nankervis as the failed comic Freddie Finally and Carolyn Howard as the reformed prostitute, Rosie.
Alison Croggon The Bulletin
The hilarious TheatreWorks tradition of moving plays continues with the group’s latest production Full House/No Vacancies, directed by Robin Laurie. Like many of Davies’ pieces this is funny boisterous and thoroughly entertaining theatre with a social conscience. It takes as on one of the highlights of this month’s Comedy Festival.
Barbara O’Sullivan South
Davies has written yet another hit which will “linga longa” unlike the private hotel he writes about. A roaring comic contribution to the Comedy Festival. I enjoyed the innovative, physical comedy which celebrated the lives of St. Kilda’s local. TheatreWorks is assured of one thing: a full house with no vacancies. A word of warning: Don’t eat the party pies and Wipe ya Bloody Feet.!
Maurice Lawlor Melbourne Star Observer
Davies was the writer on the hugely popular Storming St. Kilda By Tram
and he continues his “location theatre hits with this delightful piece set in ‘Linden” a former private hotel. The splitting of the audience and the punctuation of the play by out of sight devices like clocks chiming, gunshots, screams etc. creates and original and highly entertaining bedroom farce. Directed by Robin Laurie the cast play it at the pace that farce demands: fast. The audience becomes immediately involved and intrigued by the plot and quite forgets the Happy Hour that awaits. It is a mark of the quality of Paul Davies writing that a Welsh nationalist, dressed in a gorilla suit, climbing through a St. Kilda boarding house window is internally logical to the play. It is also incredibly funny. Normally if I see a gorilla suit I pick up my bag and leave. The Happy Hou as a finale to a show is a theatrical cliché that usually means the author ran out of original ideas acts ago and is desperate for someway out of the mess – in Full House/No Vacancies it is the icing on the cake. A great night out.
Jonathan Higgs BEAT magazine
Full House/No Vacancies is at once the simplest and the most complex of the three plays under discussion. It is virtually impossible to discuss this as a playtext in isolation from te conditions of its performance. Reading the sequentially laid-out scenes in the Currency text thus gives little impression of what it’s actually like to witness them, especially since printed text can only supply one of the three possible running orders. The show requires split-second timing and, in order to keep the simultaneous scenes synchronized Davies has written a series of control factors into the text. Six sound effects – audible in and integral to the action of each – divide the scenes up into sequences of equal duration. …What appeals most strongly in the play is the energy of its farce situations and the simple but nicely topical nature of the material- over and above that is, the real pleasure to be had from the novel structure and promenade style of the event. TheatreWorks have created a number of pieces of location theatre over the years (employing riverboat, a tram-ride, a pub and Linden itself on a previous occasion and Full House/No Vacancies is as good an example of the company’s adventurous house-style as any. It is also typical of the generally lightweight content of TheatreWorks shows: they make many demands upon their audiences but they’re usually great fun!
Geoffrey Milne Australasian Drama Studies
STORMING GLENELG BY TRAM – one woman’s attempt to get home (1992)
The world’s third “really moving” play unfolds on a typical Adelaide tram as it makes its way from the Glenelg Terminus to the City and back. Audiences are part of the action as various characters get on and off the tram interacting with each other in increasingly hilarious ways. Relationships are formed and fall apart, an attempted hijacking takes place, and eventually the police arrive to arrest the innocent and let the guilty go.
33 POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN USTRAYLIA – a novel correspondence 2005
All Joe Deegan ever wanted was a quiet, simple life in a reasonably organic environment. So naturally he comes to HEAVEN UStraylia seeking healing, enlightenment and a little lie down on an unspoilt beach – where it finally dawns on him that, while life could be completely miraculous, time remained unbearably short. And with expensive guidance from his accountant/guru things were going really well … until the occasion of Joe’s 50th birthday. In quick succession he nearly drowns in the surf, virtually throws away an undemanding, well paid job, and almost destroys the perfect relationship. When it looks as though his modest fibro cottage is about to be swamped by dozens of pink and lilac cluster town houses, the beautiful birthday starts to go seriously pear shaped…
Through images and chapters written like scenes from an increasingly surreal movie, 33 Postcards From Heaven describes a day in the life of Joe Deegan, an incurable romantic and teledramatist, who has arrived in Heaven, UStraylia, recovering from the death of his partner Kate after her long and painful battle with cancer.
As the story opens, Joe is pretty much burnt out emotionally and creatively, and clearly going through some sort of mid-life crisis triggered by a grieving process that is now in danger of becoming interminable. Like so many others, Joe comes to the Rainbow Coast seeking healing, enlightenment, a stress-free lifestyle in an organic environment, and a little lie-down on an unspoilt beach – almost every day. Where it finally dawns on him that, while life could be completely miraculous, time remained unbearably short. And with expensive guidance from his accountant/guru, Gra’eme, things were starting to go really well – until the occasion of Joe’s fiftieth birthday.
Within a few short hours the low-sensation thrill seeker almost drowns in the surf, throws away a well-paid, undemanding job, and then virtually destroys his near perfect relationship with Barbara Solomon- the angel come to rescue him in the aftermath of Kate’s death. This occurs when Barbara stumbles in upon and completely misreads an innocent, semi-naked embrace between Joe and his masseuse, Helen Strongfeather. When it looks as though Joe and Barabara’s humble fibro cottage is about to be surrounded by 238 pink and lilac cement town houses, the beautiful birthday starts to go seriously pear shaped.
Suddenly awake to the dangers that surround and threaten to overwhelm his carefully crafted lifestyle, Joe sets about rousing the Nullumbah Shire Protection Society to take on a cohort of shadowy and seemingly unstoppable property developers. And in trying to rescue the small rainforest next to his modest home, Joe discovers a cause worth fighting for. Something that might even lift him out of his interminable depression. As the day unfolds, and allies drop away, Joe soon finds himself pretty much alone and defenseless against the overwhelming power of developer-in-chief, Carlos Mondeigo, whose Dreamtime Beach Estate proposal will effectively destroy Heaven and just about everything people go there for.
As our hero confronts the developers head on, he flashes back to a childhood stolen from him by the ‘Brothers’, and also back to Kate’s illness – the thing that brought them up from Melbourne in the first place, looking for the miracle cure. He also relives key moments in his life with Barbara, travelling back with her to her beloved Muddled East, trying to fathom what their strange, serial relationship is all about (at the precise moment when it seems to be ending).
Finally, staggered by the betrayal of his guru, Gra’eme (who seems to be in league with the developers), Joe manages to use his considerable powers of expression to turn ‘real estate over-reach’ into something people can live with.
However, the day’s combination of bad luck and disappointment reaches its lowest point straight after nobody turns up for Joe’s birthday BBQ. Drenched, drunk and tragically alone, he slips into a kind of self-induced coma in which all the worst aspects of the day are revisited and thrown up into stark relief- along with some under cooked saveloys.
Nevertheless, by early the following morning Joe realises, to his immense relief, that most of the worst aspects of his birthday were only a nightmare! Kate might be gone, but deep down, he knows Barbara will come back. It gives him hope. And he’s finally able to accept that, while life in Heaven might be a hell of a thing, somebody had to do it…
REALLY MOVING DRAMA – taking theatre for a ride 2013
Really Moving Drama began as a Ph D thesis examining the site-specific revolution that occurred in theatre performance in Melbourne throughout the 1980s. From 1979 to the early 1990s a number of small, professional companies took theatre out of dedicated buildings into places where their audiences lived, worked, travelled and played. Deriving from independent filmmaking, ‘happenings’ and political street theatre, these self-described ‘location plays’ were performed on busses, trams, and riverboats, as well as in tents, houses, cinemas, pubs, galleries, prisons, parks and gardens. What became known through 8 iterations as “The Tram Show” was staged over a dozen years on light-rail vehicles in both Melbourne and Adelaide, trambulating a total distance that would have taken its combined nightly audiences halfway around the world. These early forms of site-specific theatre immersed spectators in their places of performance in ways that liberated a whole suite of new sensations – beyond sight and hearing – to include touch, taste, smell, balance etc. In this way they moved the ‘art of theatre’ into literally new territory. Here the practice broke through not only theatre’s 4th wall (between stage and audience), but the 5th wall (between individual audience members) and 6th walls as well (between the play as a whole and a random outside audience sometimes looking back in). In the example of the Tram, Bus, and Boat Shows spectators could even witness the events of the play through a kind of 7th wall: that of their own reflection in the vehicle’s night-time window: watching themselves watch the play as it spread from its ‘really moving’ stage out onto the streets beyond…
SMOKE IN MIRRORS – screenwriters admit to make-believe 2020
Smoke In Mirrors examines the art of screenwriting through a series of interviews with some of the key players in the Australian film and television industry. Originally published in Metro, Cinema Papers and Cantrill’s Filmnotes these authors talk about where their ideas come from and how they manage to put words on a page for the purpose of producing moving images – sometimes with dialogue.
Keith Thompson (The Sapphires, Clubland, Homicide) tries to conjure a “three dimensional image dancing”. Peter Yeldham (Ride On Stranger, Age of Consent) agrees it’s “all in your mind”. For Mark Shirrefs (The Girl From Tomorrow, Spellbinder) it’s about a “different way of looking at things”. Andrew Knight (Seachange, Rake) strives to get to “the heart of the matter”. Roger Simpson (Good Guys, Bad Guys, Stingers, Something In the Air) searches for the “story engine”. John Hughes (What I have Written, After Mabo) works between “fact and fiction”. Everett de Roche (Patrick, Long Weekend) claims to be “only the writer”. For Shane Maloney (Stiff, The Brush Off) the stories are always about “crime, politics and the girl.” And Elizabeth Huntly (Neighbours, Something In the Air) quite literally “hears voices”.
All nine writers are talking about the art of make-believe, of ‘holding the mirror up’ – with sometimes a bit of smoke in the way. All were key players in a revival of Australian film and ‘teledrama’ that started in the early 1970s and continues to this day.
STAGING THE WORLD – theatre in the ‘space’ age 2020
STAGING THE WORLD is a collection of essays about plays produced in real places. These “site specific productions were inspired by political street theatre, independent filmmaking and a desire to take theatre away from dedicated theatre buildings. They took place on trams and boats, in pubs and cinemas, parks and gardens, tents and houses. They also took Shakespeare’s idea of “all the world” being “a stage” quite literally and were part of a revolution in theatre practice that occurred in Melbourne during the 1980s.
A SHORT HISTORY OF THEATREWORKS (1979 – 1994)
A Short History of Theatreworks presents an illustrated chronology of the first dozen years of this small but remarkable theatre company that grew out of Victoria’s community theatre movement at the beginning of the 1980s and continues to support local, original theatre from its home base in the Acland Street Parish Hall in St. Kilda. TheatreWorks first gained a reputation for innovative performance styles in 1982 with their revolutionary production of Storming Mont Albert by Tram – the world’s first play on a moving tram. What became known as The Tram Show was subsequently reproduced seven times on trams in both Melbourne and Adelaide and lead to the creation of a number of other ground breaking site-specific plays in riverboats, pubs and cinemas, mansions, boarding houses, parks, tents and gardens.