Lords and Larrikins: The actor’s role in the making of Australia


ISBN: 9780980563238
Author: Kath Leahy
Publication Date: 1/10/2009
Edition: Standard
Publisher: Currency House
Extent: 256pp.
Availability: Available


This radical new account reveals the central importance of the male performer in Australian public life, showing how the aspiring middle classes turned to actors to teach them public behaviour and political opinion, and how class divided high art and low comedy. While imperial Shakespeare drew in patrons, politicians and critics, vaudeville comedians upheld the right to a working-class Australia. When in 1970 public funding fuelled the rise of a high-art culture, a bevy of buffoons led a new assault to subvert it. Kath Leahy asks questions about why, even today, we still call for control of the public artist.

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