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Russell Beedles Performing Arts Fellowship

The Russell Beedles Performing Arts Fellowship supports a project exploring theatre and the performing arts in Victoria.

The fellowship includes:

  • $15,000 funding
  • desk space at the Library for 12 months
  • access to collections and Library staff expertise.

The funding is based on 3 months of work in the Library, either continuous or broken up over the year.

2024 recipient

Dr Kate Rice: Chasing Rainbows

Chasing Rainbows is a musical based on the true story of May de Sousa, an American light opera singer whose life changed when she visited Melbourne in 1919.

Kate will research May de Sousa's life, her social and cultural background, and the historical events she experienced. From this, Kate will create a book, music and lyrics in collaboration with songwriter Sally Seltmann.

Kate Rice holds a PhD in ethical creative process for writing theatre based on real events. Her theatre work has been commissioned and performed in Sydney, Darwin, Perth and Melbourne. In 2020, she was awarded the Frank Van Straten Fellowship at the Australian Performing Arts Collection to research historical performance.

About Russell Beedles

Russell Beedles (1939 to 2011) was an award-winning playwright, performer, and teacher. His work spanned a range of creative and performing arts, including theatre, opera, and drama. He wrote plays and short stories and taught school and university students.

The Russell Beedles bequest endows the Russell Beedles Performing Arts Fellowship.

Previous recipients

Learn more about the inspiring projects undertaken by past and present fellows in our fellows gallery.

  • 2022: Rhys Ryan with the project Na Trí Céilithe, The Three Céilithe, which examined original manuscripts documenting the annual céilithe (Gaelic concerts) held in Melbourne in the early twentieth century.
  • 2019: Daniel Keene's research outcome is a play that centres on a cast of characters who performed at the Tivoli in between the wars (1919 to 1939). The play explores their relationships with each other and their audiences. In hard times, the Tivoli was a place of laughter and escape for its audiences – but what was it like behind the scenes?
  • 2017: Andrew Watt explored the evolution of the Melbourne live entertainment scene during a significant era for Melbourne and Victoria. From 1987 to 1997, Melbourne was established as Australia's live music capital, giving birth to the careers of numerous significant artists and behind-the-scenes personnel whose contributions had an impact on the future.
  • 2015: Christopher Bryant's playscript The Other Place looked at the incredible lives of two influential women of theatre. It explored the ways the women's lives were mirrored in the plays they produced and the roads they paved, often by force. The way the women kicked against the oppression and political turmoil of the world surrounding them. And the lives they changed, even in death.