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Paul Brown on verbatim theatre

Paul Brown: playwright.
Interview with Paul, at his home in Lewisham, November 2009. 

Paul Brown trained as a geologist in Sydney, and is an expert on ocean floor rocks at  Gundagai. In 1981 he founded one of Australia's foremost community theatre companies, Death Defying Theatre, which is now Urban Theatre Projects. In 1985 he turned to writing, and wrote Coal Town, a play about social and political struggle in mining towns and designed for performance on a football field. He has since worked as a freelance playwright, often in community contexts, and on drama and documentary films as writer, producer and songwriter. Paul wrote Aftershocks in collaboration with the Workers Cultural Action Committee. He is the editor of Verbatim: Staging Memory and Community .

Suggested Readings:

Belonging: Australian Playwriting in the 20th Century , by John McCallum.

, by Paul Brown.

Derek Paget’s article, ‘ Verbatim Theatre: Oral History and Documentary Theatre Techniques’, New Theatre Quarterly (1987)

Suggested Links:

20th Anniversary of the Newcastle Earthquake


1.  Verbatim in Australia (2.37) – Paul responds to the notion that he wrote the first verbatim play in Australia. He also discusses the history of verbatim theatre in Australia, the ‘pure verbatim’ form and the influence of British trends.

2. Journalistic Function (1.49) – Paul discusses the truth bearing nature of the work – positioning Aftershocks as an alternative media version of events.

3. Role of Writer (2.29) – Paul discusses his role on Aftershocks as the employed writer. He outlines how he facilitated the research team and established a feedback loop between various creative & community groups.

4. Meaning & Context (3.43) – Paul discusses the manner in which the meaning of the work shifted outside of the Newcastle performances.

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