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Australian drama

The Library holds thousands of scripts, works of criticism, playwrights’ biographies, newspaper reviews and theatre programmes.

The big names in Australian drama – Louis Esson, Dorothy Hewett, John Romeril, Joanna Murray-Smith, Jack Hibberd, Hannie Rayson, Ray Lawler, Patricia Cornelius, Bill Garner – are just a few of the playwrights represented in the Library.

We keep journals focusing exclusively on drama, and have series that specialise in drama, including Yackandandah Playscripts and the Current Theatre Series, both running since the 1980s. We even collect the series Australian Playwrights, which is published in Amsterdam.

There are many rich resources for historical research, including published histories of companies, a good collection of early 20th-century theatre journals (and indexes to help you search them), and around 48,000 theatre programmes.

We also hold the papers of several theatre companies and a number of performers in our manuscripts collection. One of the most significant is the Australian Performing Group, which set up home in a disused pram factory in Carlton in the late 1960s, causing an explosion of interest in new Australian theatre.