Julian Meyrick discusses a rising controversy in the repertoire of our national stages. As the mainstage vogue for resetting familiar international classics in an Australian context continues, playwrights believe their work is being depreciated. The issue of adaptations, writes Meyrick, is a symbol of loss within the Australian dramatic consciousness. It is not about defending Tennessee Williams over David Williamson, but about the value of our national drama.
He contends that audiences no longer understand the difference between making a new play and buying an old one. Something crucial has been lost about our ability and need to nurture and produce original drama; and public policy has been a contributor. To remedy this, he concludes, we need a national theatre. Not a building or a company but a co-commissioning, co-production house to address, seriously, the growth of our own classic repertoire.