The Ripples Before the New Wave

Drama at the University of Sydney 1957-63

Robyn Dalton,

The Ripples Before the New Wave: Drama at the University of Sydney 1957-63
The Ripples Before the New Wave charts the history, influence and artistic resonances of Sydney University Dramatic Society (SUDS) and a rival group, the Sydney University Players, and their members between 1957 and 1963. Unlike much of the commercial and pro-am theatre that dominated at this time in Sydney, SUDS’ and Players’ work was groundbreaking and exciting, and SUDS and Players produced the Australian—and even world—premieres of a number of significant European plays at this time.This was a time before professional theatre and Australian plays, before NIDA, before an Australian film industry, before the Nimrod and La Mama and all those things people think of as the beginning of modern Australian performance culture. Most importantly, through a happy combination of circumstances (financial, political and cultural), the students there at the time included people who went on to become some of our most famous exports and creators of Australian culture—Clive James, Germaine Greer, Bruce Beresford, Robert Hughes, Mungo MacCallum, Madeleine St John, Les Murray, Bob Ellis, Richard Brennan, Jill Kitson, Ron Blair, John Bell, Richard Wherrett and Leo Schofield, to name a few. In short, many of the artists who went on to form and play a major role in the New Wave made their first shows at the University of Sydney.Meticulously researched and lovingly documented, The Ripples Before the New Wave provides context for our cultural history and the New Wave of Australian theatre that followed thereafter.

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