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A Play for Every Stage!

Posted by Team APATA | Feb 17, 2020

It all started with ‘The Coming of Stork” presented at the La Mama Theatre in 1970. Fifty years later the curtain is closing with Australia’s best known and most beloved playwright, David Williamson, retiring.

Celebrating David Williamson

Williamson’s body of work is substantial, The Removalists, Don’s Party, The Department, The Club, Travelling North, The Perfectionist, Sons of Cain, Emerald City, Top Silk, Money and Friends, Brilliant Lies, Sanctuary, Dead White Males, After the Ball, Corporate Vibes, Face to Face, Rupert, Nearer the Gods and Sorting out Rachel. He has had over fifty plays produced. His plays have been translated into many languages and performed internationally, including major productions in London, Los Angeles, New York and Washington.

As a screenwriter, Williamson has brought his own plays to the screen, including The Removalists, Don’s Party, The Club, Travelling North and Emerald City, along with his original screenplays for feature films, including Libido, Petersen, Gallipoli, Phar Lap, The Year of Living Dangerously and Balibo.

An Award-Winning Playwright

The adaptation of his play Face to Face, directed by Michael Rymer, won the Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Film at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Williamson was the first person outside Britain to receive the George Devine Award (for The Removalists). His many awards include twelve Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE Awards, five Australian Film Institute Awards for Best Screenplay, and in 1996 the United Nations Association of Australia Media Peace Award. In 2005 he was awarded the Richard Lane Award for services to the Australian Writers’ Guild. David has received four honorary doctorates and been made an Officer of the Order of Australia. Williamson has been named one of Australia’s Living National Treasures.

Turning 78 this February 2020, the Queensland based playwright will see his last two new plays take to the stage produced back to back in Sydney where his career commenced 5 decades ago and his semi-autobiographical satire, Emerald City is presenting remounted in a new production co-presented by the Melbourne Theatre Company (6 March – 18 April, Southbank Theatre, The Sumner) and Queensland Theatre Company (8 – 29 February, QPAC, Playhouse).

Some may say Williamson has had a dream run with popular theatre and critics over the years have argued the quality of his work. Regardless of opinion, box office success is unabated, and audiences have fully supported his work drawn from personal experiences that captures the human element. Schools and universities have studied from his text and learnt from his naturalist style of storytelling. Most of all David Williamson has shown us all the pathway to achieving commercial success.

It’s hard to imagine Williamson stepping away from the theatre and as Williamson retires the door opens for emerging playwrights to forge ahead with their stories. Barely a year has gone by without a Williamson premier to provoke our thoughts. May the next generation of playwrights be as powerful, funny and poignant.

David Williamson on Telling Australian Stories

National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA)

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