Arts for All Appeal

Podcast Series

Uncovering stories from the Australian Performing Arts Collection

The 2020 Frank Van Straten Research Fellowship recipient, Dr Kate Rice, uncovers stories from the Australian Performing Arts Collection in a series of creative docu-drama podcasts.

We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Dr Rice for overcoming enormous challenges presented by the global COVID pandemic, namely endless lockdowns, quarantines and consequently a severe lack of direct access to the Australian Performing Arts Collection for much of the duration of the Fellowship. Dr Rice’s unrelenting energy and enthusiasm for the stories, the collection and our performance history is evidenced in the episodes of her marvelous series. Enjoy.

Discover more about the Frank Van Straten Fellowship.


Title image credit: Cover of scrapbook of theatre newspaper cuttings, 1918-1919
Transferred from the Dennis Wolanski Library, Sydney Opera House, 1997
Australian Performing Arts Collection, Arts Centre Melbourne

 

Episode 1: 1919

Mary de Souza

 

When the influenza pandemic swept across Australia in 1919, the performing arts industry scrambled to survive. Through restrictions, quarantines and closures, one glittering pantomime kept wowing audiences with a cast of 350, thousands of costumes, state-of-the-art theatrical effects, and world-class international acts – including American singing star May de Sousa, in what turned out to be the last performance of her career.

Written, researched and narrated by Kate Rice. Additional voice acting by Angourie Rice, Jimmy Eaton and Maddy Tyers. Produced and edited by Jimmy Eaton. ‘I’m sorry I made you cry’ by N.J. Clesi was performed by Linda O’Brien on piano and Angourie Rice on vocals and ukulele. Special thanks to Felicity Jackson, Carol Rushman and Anne Russell.

 

Photo credit: May de Sousa in ‘Goody Two Shoes’, Her Majesty’s Theatre Melbourne, 1919
Scrapbook, J.C. Williamson Ltd Collection
Gift of J.C Williamson Theatres Ltd, 1978
Australian Performing Arts Collection, Arts Centre Melbourne

 

 

Episode 2: For The Term Of His Natural Life

For The Term Of His Natural Life movie poster

 

For The Term Of His Natural Life is a 19th century Australian novel about a man transported from England to Van Diemen’s Land for a crime he didn’t commit. Adapted for the stage many times over, it became an epic melodrama that drew huge audiences for over thirty years. Behind the stage show is another story of injustice: of a writer who lost control of his most famous work, theatre makers who exploited it, and two women who fought to get it back.

Written, researched and narrated by Kate Rice. Additional voice acting by Angourie Rice, Jason Geary, Jimmy Eaton, Laurence Boxhall and Maddy Tyers. Produced and edited by Jimmy Eaton. ‘Curious Case’ written and performed by Cody Martin. ‘Good Old Days’ written and performed by Dresden the Flamingo. ‘I’m Sorry I Made You Cry’ written by NJ Clesi and performed by Angourie Rice. ‘Kings and Queens’ written and performed by Wicked Cinema. Handel’s ‘La Rejouissance’ and Chopin’s ‘This Too Shall Pass’ in B minor performed by Joshua Speight.

 

Poster from the film, For The Term Of His Natural Life

 

 

Episode 3: Memories of Pavlova

Program for 'Don Quixote', 1926, depicting a ballerina in a tutu with the words 'Anna Pavlova' underneath.

 

When world-famous ballerina Anna Pavlova came to Australia in 1926, audiences flocked to see her dance her famous solo, the ‘Dying Swan’. She thrilled a whole generation of young dancers like small-town teenager Adele Hardwick, who refused to let reality get in the way of her dreams. This is the story of the life and death of a career inspired by genius, fueled by ambition and thwarted by circumstance.

Written, researched and narrated by Kate Rice. Additional voice acting by Jimmy Eaton, Olga Olshansky, Maddy Tyers and Angourie Rice. ‘The Swan’, music by Camille Saint-Saëns, performed by Linda O’Brien and Ffion Stoakes. ‘The Dying Swan’ performed by Enoch Yang, “Gatsby Saloon’ and ‘Good Old Days’ performed by Dresden the Flamingo, ‘Tip Toes’ by George Gershwin, care of WMG, ‘Swan Lake’ by Tchaikovsky, performed by Music Box, and ‘Farewell’ by Harold Fraser-Simpson and Harry Graham performed by Gladys Moncrieff. Produced and edited by Jimmy Eaton.

 

Image credit: Program for Don Quixote, 1926
Australian Performing Arts Collection, Arts Centre Melbourne

 

 

Episode 4: So and So and Such and Such

An old sepia-tone photograph of Alf Goulding as Major General in Pirates of Penzance.

 

The Australian Performing Arts Collection helps us remember performances of the past. While there is a lot to celebrate, perhaps it’s the most uncomfortable chapters in our cultural history that offer the best insight into who we really are. This is the story of a forgotten song, a lost show, and a ruined theatrical empire that built its success on the exploitation of children.

Written, researched and narrated by Kate Rice. Additional voice acting by Jimmy Eaton. Editing and production by Jimmy Eaton. ‘So and So and Such and Such’ original lyrics by Bert Royle and JC Williamson, additional lyrics by unknown author, music by Ash Gibson-Grieg, performed by Ash Gibson-Grieg. ‘HMS Pinafore’ by Gilbert and Sullivan. Special thanks to Claudia Funder and Nick Murphy.

Content warning: racially offensive term

 

Photo credit: Alf Goulding as Major General in Pirates of Penzance
Australian Performing Arts Collection, Arts Centre Melbourne

 

 

About Kate Rice

Kate Rice is the inaugural Frank Van Straten Fellow. She has used this fellowship to research a number of historical theatrical performances documented in the Australian Performing Arts Collection and produce a series of performative podcasts that bring these forgotten stories of the Australian stage to life. She has a background in playwriting, specialising in creating work based on real events and ethical creative process.

 

"The Performing Arts Collection is vast, and this Fellowship offers the opportunity to really bring out its drama. I’m so excited to find the real experiences and stories behind the collection, and create a podcast series that will bring them to life."

Kate Rice

 

Dr Kate Rice, inaugural Frank Van Straten Fellow

 

Dr Kate Rice, inaugural Frank Van Straten Fellow

 

Australian Performing Arts Collection logo

 

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