Bookmark This is a new podcast from the National Library of Australia. Available here or wherever you get your podcasts.
Season one, Off Stage, is a series produced by the National Library of Australia that explores the vibrant characters, milestone moments and cultural treasures found in the exhibition On Stage: Spotlight on Our Performing Arts.
Hosted by award-winning journalist, author, radio broadcaster and playwright Melanie Tait, Off Stage delves into the untold stories of Australia theatre, dance, music and film.
Episode 1: When Theatre is Criminal
In 1796, the theatre was the place to be. In the growing colony of Sydney, people packed in to see ex-convicts perform the latest popular plays.
On Stage, an exhibition at the National Library, has an exquisite treasure from this time: a playbill once belonging to the Lieutenant-Governor of NSW, Philip Gidley King.
On our first episode of Off Stage, host Melanie Tait takes you inside the theatre to meet the characters involved the production of Jane Shore.
Guests: David Marr, journalist and Gillian Russell, Professor of Eighteenth-Century Literature and author of The Playbill and its People
Episode 2: Just Desserts
Throughout the late 1800s and a lot of the 1900s, there was one name on most of the posters of shows that made it big in Australia: JC Williamson. JC Williamson Ltd was one of the biggest production companies of our history, and it was started by a man called James Cassius Williamson. This episode looks at the life and legacy of JC Williamson’s, and one of the biggest touring stars they brought to Australia – ballerina Anna Pavlova. And yes, we can’t talk Pavlova without getting deep into meringue choices and whipped cream.
Guests: Dr Robert Reid, Theatre Historian and Annabelle Utrecht, Meringetrix and Food Researcher
Episode 3: Rose Quong's Midlife Crisis
By the time we’re in our mid-forties, most of us feel as though our life is pretty much sorted out. Not Rose Quong. After twenty-seven years, she left her public service job in Melbourne to pursue life as an actress in London. She continued to chase adventure for all the years of her life afterwards.
Guests: Professor Angela Woollacott, Manning Clark Professor of History at the Australian National University, author of Race and The Modern Exotic (2011).