2019 fellow: Daniel Keene

Play: Playing the Tiv

Several members of Daniel's family worked at Melbourne's Tivoli Theatre in the 1920s and '30s, and he has heard their stories ever since he was a child. Their names never appeared on the billboards, but they sang and danced on the Tivoli stage and were from inner city, working-class families struggling to make ends meet.

Daniel's research outcome will be a play that centres on a cast of characters who are performers at the Tivoli in between the wars, 1919 to 1939, exploring 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?

Daniel Keene has written for the theatre since 1979, winning the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Drama twice, the NSW Premier's Literary Award for Drama three times, the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature, the Wal Cherry Play of the Year, the Queensland Premier's Literary Award and the Sydney Myer Performing Arts Award. His work has been presented at the Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide International Arts Festivals, at the Melbourne Theatre Company and the Sydney Theatre Company.

Since 2000 over 80 productions of his work have been presented in Europe, predominantly in France. In 2016, Daniel was appointed to the rank of Chevalier de I'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture for his contribution to French Culture.