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Australian Playwriting in the 20th Century

Belonging $18.17 ex GST
$19.99 inc GST
John McCallum’s new history explores the relationship between 20th century Australian drama and a developing concept of nation. The book focuses on the creative tension sparked by dueling impulses between nationalism and cosmopolitanism; and between artistic seriousness and larrikin populism. It explores issues such as the domineering influence of European high culture, the ongoing popularity of representational realism, the influence of popular theatrical forms, the ambivalence (between affection and aggression) of much Australian humour and satire, and the interaction between the personal and the political in drama.

The strength of Belonging is its comprehensiveness. Anyone studying an Australian play will find it here in the context of the other works by its author or the time and place in which it was written. As well as a rundown of the major writers and their works, the book also investigates a number of lesser known plays and writers.

This authoritative study of Australian drama gives an account of the relationship between our theatre and our sense of self while taking into account a broad range of influences that helped to shape both.


    eBook available from

Currency Press | 978-0-86819-658-9 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB


John McCallum is Senior Lecturer in the School of English, Media and Performing Arts, at the University of NSW. He teaches 20th Century and contemporary Australian theatre and drama; comedy and humour studies. He is a Member of the Editorial Board of Currency House; a consultant to the NSW Board of Studies, and Chief Examiner for Drama; and a member of the Board of Studies for NIDA.

For many years he has been a critic and commentator on the arts in academic journals and magazines, and on radio. Since 1989 he has been the Sydney theatre critic for the Australian newspaper. In 1995 he won the Pascall Prize for Critical Writing.