Highlights in Australian theatre history - An archived online article about Australia's diverse theatre culture - a list of playwrights who have written or been produced in English since 1956

AusStage - an accessible online resource for researching live performance in Australia

Aitken, A., photographer, On the set of the film Two minutes silence, New South Wales, 12 May 1932, nla.obj-162472775

How do you find Australian drama?

Start with the Library Catalogue

  • choose subject from the drop-down list  
  • Type your keywords [for example 'drama'] in the search bar

Selected works:

How can you find drama in our online databases?

AustLit: the resource for Australian literature is a key resource for information about Australian writers and writing covering the 1780s to the present. With an author search, you can find lists of publications, collections of plays, criticisms, links to online access for reviews of plays, awards lists and biographies of major playwrights.

  • Select the Research tab at the top of the page
  • Scroll down and under 'More projects' find Drama

This opens the Australian Drama subset. Select 'Using the data' in the left menu for information about how to search the collection. 

You can find AustLit by visiting our eResources portal and searching for this database under the Browse eResources tab. If you are a registered member of the National Library you can access AustLit from home.

Case Study

Biographical information about a playwright

I am the literary manager of a theatre company which will soon be mounting a production of The Sum of Usby Australian playwright, David Stevens. Do you have any current biographical information on the playwright to include in our newsletter?

1. Starting with the National Library Catalogue, we can find a file of newspaper cuttings about David Stevens, however these are taken from newspapers in the 1990s. Stevens left Australia to live in the United States in 1987.

2. A biography of Stevens' early life, as well as a list of his works and awards, is at AustLit, but again there is little recent detail. In the US he has worked as a director and producer; lists of his work can be found online.

3. We can also download a 1994 interview from a Brisbane radio station website This includes a reference to The Sum of Us but little recent information.


The Kookaburra: A Children's Play

Edith Allingham The kookaburra : a children's play1938 Royal edition ; no. 204 nla.obj-170433039

The Kookaburra: A Children's Play by Edith Allingham. This edition was published in 1938 and included instructions for making costumes and a stencil design for a kookaburra-shaped fan, which could be made from cardboard.

The play was performed by pupils of St John's Sunday School in October 1929, as reported in the Cairns Post

Not sure where to start?