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Passionate, not parochial: local theatre in Launceston

Warren, W ORCID: 0000-0003-0002-5753 and Woollard, J ORCID: 0000-0002-7271-7452 2020 , 'Passionate, not parochial: local theatre in Launceston' , Australasian Drama Studies, no. 77 , pp. 20-55 .

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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 Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Warren, W and Woollard, J
Keywords: theatre, regional, community
Journal or Publication Title: Australasian Drama Studies
Publisher: La Trobe University
ISSN: 0810-4123
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 the author(s)

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