When do the writers come from?

This entry is part 2 of 11 in the series Facts & Figures
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The last post looked at the origin of plays by writer in Season 2011 for Queensland Theatre Company and La Boite Theatre. When all details are available, there will be a future post addressing the gender break-down of the authorial teams. Meanwhile, this post follows up by assigning the plays under consideration to a matrix which lays out the historical era which first produced the work in question.

A quick word at the outset. The division is one I used in a couple of earlier posts elsewhere which investigated the repertoire of Queensland Theatre Company during the first 10 years of its existence and in the 10 years preceding its 40th anniversary year in 2009-10. The breakdown is fair enough – although I grant a little arbitrary in that, for example, Chekhov’s plays go into the Early Modern era when they actually span the late 19th and early 20th century. I know, too, that historians would probably quibble with the era that I call ‘Early Modern‘ but, overall, this matrix works for me. In any case, you have to start somewhere, i.e., with a marker for comparative purposes. Here are the eras I use:

  • Classical: pre-Shakespeare;
  • Early Modern: post-Shakespeare to end of 19th century;
  • 20th & 21st century: 1901-2005;
  • Contemporary: a play produced within 5 years of its publication and/or completion. Right now, this means a work in this year’s season which was published or completed between 2006 and 2011.

Queensland Theatre Company

Typical of previous QTC seasons in that it features plays from nearly all historical eras – there are no classical works on offer – Season 2011 is also typical of this Company’s programming in years 2000-2009 with a pronounced emphasis on contemporary works, other 21st century and 20th century plays.

La Boite Theatre Company

La Boite’s commitment to contemporary work couldn’t be clearer. That 10% early-modern slice of the pie in the chart above represents one production, Julius Caesar which, judging by the promotional poster image, is going to get a very contemporary spin. There are no classical works and no 20th century plays in Season 2011 for this company.

2011 Season. Origin of Play by Historical Era – Comparison Queensland Theatre Company: La Boite Theatre Company


From this comparative chart, it looks as if Brisbane theatre goers are in for a year of the very new on the stages of both subsidised companies. Is this breakthrough i.e., trendsetting programming across the board? Assign your own qualifier. I think exciting and maybe even dangerous – it’s audacious stuff to be sure. Many will say ‘About time.’

It looks as if the really old and some of the not-all-that-old dead white guys are on the way out, perhaps to be replaced with living white guys? Which brings us to the subject matter of that future post mentioned above i.e., the gender breakdown of all authors in Season 2011 for both Queensland Theatre Company and La Boite Theatre Company. Probably no surprises for anyone, but we shall see what the numbers reveal.

Thanks for reading this far. Hope you are finding it useful.

Meanwhile, here’s something out of the archives. I stumbled over it doing some free-form searching online.  You might be interested in this post from Sean Mee in 2007 The Future of La Boite Theatre Company. As you probably know, Sean was the former Artistic Director of La Boite.

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3 thoughts on “When do the writers come from?”

  1. Thanks for this Alex. I am pretty certain the comparatively level playing field of works you cite is as a result of a quite deliberate equity policy at work.
    I called for consideration of a gender equity ‘intervention’ of this kind in an earlier post ‘Memories of 2010 and a few hopes for the new theatre year.’ I was referring to roles for female actors in that context, similar to the way STC factored ‘roles for women’ into their planning for Season 2011. You can read the post at http://actorsgreenroom.net/archives/4245

  2. RE: “the gender breakdown of all authors in Season 2011 …”

    There seems to be a comparatively level playing field with the, Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards.

    Drama Script (Stage) Award

    2009 ‘Realism’ by Paul Galloway
    2008 ‘When the Rain Stops Falling’ by Andrew Bovell
    2007 ‘Embers’ by Campion Decent
    2006 ‘Mrs Petrov’s Shoe’ by Noelle Janaczewska
    2005 ‘Black Hands/Dead Section’ by Van Badham
    2004 ‘Run Rabbit Run’ by Alana Valentine
    2003 ‘Last Cab to Darwin’ by Reg Cribb
    2002 ‘Old Masters’ by Beatrix Christian
    2001 ‘Meat Party’ by Duong Le Quy
    2000 ‘Box the Pony’ by Leah Purcell and Scott Rankin
    1999 ‘Who’s Afraid of the Working Class’ by Andrew Bovell, Melissa Reeves, Patricia Cornelius and Christos Tsiolka

    Food for thought.

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