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Robbery Under Arms  

Robbery Under Arms $20.90 ex GST
$22.99 inc GST
OUT OF PRINT

This lively melodrama, adapted from the novel by Rolf Bolderwood, was a huge success in 1895 and played to enthusiastic audiences for some fifteen years thereafter. Edited by Richard Fotheringham and published with Australasian Drama Studies.


Cast : 18M, 7F + extras

Currency Press | 978-0-86819-137-9 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB

Author

ALFRED DAMPIER (1843-1908) was a major supporter and promoter of domestic playwrights. From 1886 to 1905 he was particularly famous for his productions of For the Term of His Natural Life and Robbery Under Arms, stage versions of Australian novels. Dampier arrived from England in September 1873 with his wife Katherine Russell — a pianist who also acted professionally — and infant daughters Lily and Rose to begin a three-year contract as a leading actor and stage manager at the Theatre Royal in Melbourne. As an actor Dampier rarely received an unfavourable review in the colonies. He formed his own touring company in 1877 to stage vehicles for the family. His daughters had great successes in All for Gold and Helen's Babies, plays he had written for them.

Dampier's support for Australian drama really began, however, during  a long residence in Sydney in 1885-88. In 1886 he co-wrote, directed and starred in For the Term of His Natural Life. Dampier then gave a long series of seasons at the Alexandra Theatre in Melbourne between late 1888 and 1892. He presented Marvellous Melbourne in January 1889 followed it in March 1890 with Robbery Under Arms. He combined performances of Shakespeare with his seasons of popular melodrama. Dampier had a three-year lease on the Alexandra Theatre and the depression and bank closures of 1891-93 were disastrous for him. Dampier was forced to declare himself bankrupt after a disastrous New Zealand tour in 1893. He clawed his way back to prosperity, principally through seasons as Captain Starlight in Robbery Under Arms. His company broke up soon after his death in 1908.

This is an edited extract from The Currency Press Concise Companion to Theatre in Australia, Philip Parsons and Victoria Chance (eds), Currency Press, Paddington, 1997.