Platform Papers 39: The Retreat of Our National Drama
rising controversy has arisen regarding the repertoire of our national stages:
a debate around a mainstage vogue for resetting familiar international classics
in an Australian context and the playwrights who believe their work is being
depreciated. Julian Meyrick believes the cause goes much deeper than the
present quarrels. The adaptations issue, he writes, 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.
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 that will
address, seriously, the growth of our own classic repertoire.