2010 Department of Performance Studies News Archive

Congratulations to Sydney Theatre Award nominees

We are delighted that two productions developed and rehearsed in the Department have been nominated for Best Independent Theatre Production at the 2010 Sydney Theatre Awards.

The Alex Buzo Company's double bill of Buzo's Norm & Ahmed and Alana Valentine's Shafana & Aunt Sarrinah was the Major Project in the Rex Cramphorn Studio in July 2009. Students undertaking PRFM 3601 Rehearsal to Performance had the privilege of observing the rehearsal.

The Bougainville Photoplay Project, performed by Paul Dwyer (Senior Lecturer in the Department) for Version 1.0 in association with the Tamarama Rock Surfers, and directed by David Williams (Honorary Associate in the Department) was also nominated.

New Book

"A Raffish Experiment": The Writings of Rex Cramphorn

Without access to history the growth of our theatre is inhibited. For while an absence of tradition can be liberating, it can also be wasteful as each generation earnestly sets out about re-inventing the wheel. Jim Sharman

Rex Cramphorn was one of the key theatre practitioners to come out of the renaissance of Australian theatre in the 1960s and ‘70s. When Cramphorn died in 1991 at the age of 50, he left a legacy of theatre productions, research and ideas, that have influenced his own and subsequent generations of Australian theatre artists.

In A Raffish Experiment, Ian Maxwell presents an eclectic collection of Rex Cramphorn’s writing, including theatre reviews for the Bulletin and the Sunday Australian, self-assessments, production diaries, essays and proposals, working notes for actors and selections from surviving correspondence.

Each chapter is framed by a short essay contextualising the material biographically, historically and culturally. The collection offers not only valuable–and unique–insights into a significant theatre practitioner as he wrestled with his craft, but a contribution to the historiography of Australian theatre, from a practitioner’s point of view, through a formative period of that history.

Edited by Ian Maxwell with a preface by David Malouf.

August 1, 2010 May-Brit Akerholt wins AWGIE

Postgraduate student May-Brit Akerholt received the Hector Crawford Award "for a significant contribution to the craft via a body of script editing work" at the AWGIES–the annual award night of the Australia Writers' Guild. This award is not given every year. it is particualrly exciting that an award that has, in the past, been given to television script editors has, this time, has gone to Australia's leading dramaturg.

Our congratulations to May-Brit for deserved recognition of an extraordinary career . . . with a PhD in the works, too.

Call for Articles: About Performance 10: Audiencing: the Work of the Spectator in Live Performance

The 2010 issue of About Performance will deal with the complex role played by spectators during the performance event (and afterwards). In agreeing with Grotowski’s minimalist definition of theatre as “what takes place between spectator and actor”, we have to acknowledge that performance theorists have to date devoted a great deal more attention to the performer than to the spectator and we are keen to publish reports on current research into audiences and audiencing. The title of the issue will be "Audiencing: the Work of the Spectator in Live Performance" and, as usual, we are concerned with the widest possible range of performance genres.

Topics may include empirical or historical studies of audience behaviour, consideration of spectatorship as part of broader cultural processes, the claims and counter claims concerning the passivity of the audience in certain kinds of performance, issues such as the exchange of energy between performers and audience, follow-up studies concerning spectators’ memory of performance, questions such as why catharsis has proved such a dominant concept in theorising spectatorship, the parallels/differences between audiencing in live performance and spectatorship in mediatised works. What new metaphors, paradigms, theoretical concepts are emerging from contemporary work on audiencing? What methods are being used to study audiences and what disciplines are being called upon?

Proposals are invited for articles, normally between 6000 to 8000 words in length, dealing with any aspect of the role of the spectator in live performance.

Please send your proposal to The Editor (Dr Gay McAuley, Department of Performance Studies, University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia; or by email to and include a brief note giving your institutional affiliation, recent publications, mailing and email addresses. Proposals (200 words maximum) should be sent by 1. July 2009 and we will notify you within a month whether the proposal has been accepted. The deadline for completed articles is 1 November 2009. Articles are submitted to a peer review process and any suggested revisions are to be completed by 1 February 2010. The journal will be published in July 2010.