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History

The Rob Jordan Prize is awarded every two years to the author of a book by an ADSA member which the judges deem to make a significant contribution to the study of theatre, drama or performance studies.

Winners

2014 winner y separately published work icon Telling Stories : Aboriginal Australian and Torres Strait Islander Performance Maryrose Casey , Kew : Australian Scholarly Publishing , 2012 Z1902297 2012 single work criticism 'Since the late eighteenth century, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander initiated performances have been an important part of cross-cultural communication in Australia. Over those years, at different points, these performances have achieved high public profile and then subsequently been erased from the social memory. This book investigates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander historical practices for performances for entertainment; how they adapted to colonisation and how these performance practices extend contemporary theatre. Based on interviews and detailed examinations of shows, this book sets out to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performance in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries within the context of their historical performance practices for entertainment.'
Source: Publisher's website
2014 winner Gay McAuley for Not Magic But Work: An Ethnographic Account of a Rehearsal Process
2012 winner y separately published work icon The Empire Actors : Stars of Australasian Costume Drama 1890s-1920s Veronica Kelly , Strawberry Hills : Currency House , 2009 Z1744685 2009 single work criticism 'In the decades from Federation to the 1920s live entertainment was an integral part of the Imperial world and performers were the first generation of truly global marketeers.In epic tales of royal splendours and Napoleonic conquests, of heroic gladiators and Christian sacrifice, of musketeers and courtesans, hussars and doomed princesses, Arab houris and Oriental mandarins, international stage celebrities transported Australian audiences into identification with the older, more powerful civilizations from which they had come. These stars travelled the world in style, carrying messages of trade, fashion, tourism, modernism and the privilege of being a member of the British Empire.' Source: Book jacket.
2010 joint winner y separately published work icon Lords and Larrikins : The Actor's Role in the Making of Australia Kath Leahy , Strawberry Hills : Currency House , 2009 Z1645312 2009 single work criticism 'This radical new account of the male performer in public life reveals for the first time his central importance to Australian society and character. From our first Hamlet, to Laurence Olivier's lordly post-war tour, the aspiring middle-classes turned to actors to each them public behaviour and political opinion. From the first moment in 1830 when little Barnett Levey was denied access to his own stage, class has been the divide between high art and low comedy. Imperial Shakespeare was the principal weapon in this war, drawing in patrons, politicians and critics, while in the vaudeville houses comedians like Roy Rene upheld the right to a working-class Australia. Then, in 1970, just as public funding fuelled again the rise of a high-art culture, a bevy of buffoons led a new assault to subvert it. Kath Leahy asks some penetrating questions about why the cultural cringe lasted so long, and why, even today, we still call for control of the public artist.' (From the publisher's website.)
2010 joint winner Helena Grehan for Performance, Ethics and Spectatorship in a Global Age
2008 winner y separately published work icon Performance and Cosmopolitics : Cross-Cultural Transactions in Australasia Helen Gilbert , Jacqueline Lo , New York (City) : Palgrave Macmillan , 2007 Z1357827 2007 single work criticism

Performance and Cosmopolitics is a pioneering study of cross-cultural theatre in the Australasian region focuses on theatrical events and practices in avant-garde and mainstream contexts. It explores the cultural and political dimensions of Australia's engagement with Asia and sheds light on international arts marketing and trends in cross-cultural performance training. Includes the following chapters : Anti)Cosmopolitan Encounters; Indigenising Australian Theatre; Asianizing Australian Theatre; Marketing Difference at the Adelaide Festival; Crossing Cultures: Case Studies; Asian Australian Hybrid Praxis; Performance and Asylum: Ethics, Embodiment, Efficacy; Conclusion: Cosmopolitics in the New Millennium (publication blurb).

2006 winner y separately published work icon Creating Frames : Contemporary Indigenous Theatre : 1967-1990 Maryrose Casey , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2004 Z1109707 2004 single work criticism

From publisher's blurb (back cover): Creating Frames provides the first significant social and cultural history of Indigenous theatre across Australia. As well as using archival sources and national and independent theatre company records, much of this history is drawn from interviews with individuals who have shaped contemporary Indigenous theatre in Australia - including Bob Maza, Jack Charles, Gary Foley, Justine Saunders, Weley Enoch, Ningali, and John Harding...

Creating Frames traces the history of production of texts by Indigenous Australian artists from 1967 to 1997. It includes productions in theatres of texts by Indigenous Australian artists, collaborations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, and adaptations of texts by Indigenous artists. The focus is public urban commercial productions and includes national and international premieres and tours. 'Commercial' is used here in the sense of public presentations open to any potential audience member as distinct from closed community productions. The focus does not include radio plays, millennia of traditional practices, performances devised and performed within communities, or community outreach/education theatre initiatives such as HeatWorks in the Kimberley. Even within these limits the constraints of space have affected the number of productions that can be covered in detail.

Throughout this thirty year period, particular themes recur, these themes relate to the ways in which the external framing of the work either facilitates or blocks production. These themes often relate directly or indirectly to concepts of 'authenticity' and/or 'Aboriginality' - in effect the 'acceptable' face of Aboriginality within government and social narratives at any point in time. The strength and power of these themes as frames for the work has drawn on generally accepted understandings of Australian history and the ways in which these are manipulated in the service of political agendas. These frames fall into three main categories within the thirty year period - assimilation, multiculturalism and reconciliation. This production history reveals that, rather than Euro-Australian theatre practitioners creating an environment that enabled Indigenous theatre practice, Indigenous artists have taken their own initiative. An initiative they continue to take whilst simultaneously contesting the primarily external frames that define their work and affect their production possibilities.

(Abstract courtesy the author.)

2004 winner Jane R. Goodall for Performance and Evolution in the Age of Darwin: Out of the Natural Order
2002 winner Joanne Tompkins for Women’s Intercultural Performance
2002 winner Julie Holledge for Women’s Intercultural Performance
2000 winner Gay McAuley for Space in Performance : Making Meaning in the Theatre
2000 winner y separately published work icon Sightlines : Race, Gender, and Nation in Contemporary Australian Theatre Helen Gilbert , Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press , 1998 Z467174 1998 single work criticism
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