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The history, culture and voices of amateur theatre in Victoria

“The amateur theatre should be the backbone of the theatre in any country. From its ranks come many of the finest professional actors and producers. The amateur theatre is a vital part of the living theatre.”


Council of Adult Education Survey, c. 1964

"A long overdue and loving tribute to the thousands of dedicated people who have devoted their talents and their time to helping people like me experience that special form of magic — in the Name of Theatre"


Theatre Historian

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$49.50 (inc. free shipping Australia wide)
In the Name of Theatre (cover art)
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Part One: The history of amateur theatre in Victoria, condensed from an award-winning PhD thesis by Cheryl Threadgold, commences in the 18th century in New South Wales and continues through to modern-day.

Live cultural performances presented by First Nations People for over sixty thousand years are respectfully acknowledged.

Part Two: The culture and voices of amateur theatre are shared in individual stories from 129 musical and non-musical amateur theatre companies currently operating in urban and regional Victoria.

Known past amateur theatre companies in Victoria are listed to pay tribute to their existence, and some research data collated from interviews with representatives from 70 theatre companies gives insight into the transformative benefits of amateur theatre, and perceived strengths, threats and weaknesses of companies.

All profits from the sales of this book will be donated to the Victorian Drama League and Music Theatre Guild of Victoria.

  • Hard cover

  • Colour images

  • 354 pages

  • 285mm x 210mm

  • ISBN 978-0-646-81339-4

dr cheryl threadgold, oam

Cheryl performed in her first amateur theatre show in 1958 at the Arrow Theatre, Middle Park, directed by Jack Beresford Fowler, and since the 1990s has participated in performative, creative, production, committee and publicity roles. The honorary theatre writer/reviewer/review coordinator for the Melbourne Observer newspaper since 2005, she also presented the ‘non-pro’ theatre segment on 3AW for six and a half years. In 2018, Cheryl presented a talk on the history and culture of amateur theatre in Victoria for Theatre Heritage Australia at The Channel, Arts Centre Melbourne.  Cheryl greatly admires all practitioners who create theatre to entertain others, whether professional, independent or amateur.  But now, for the first time, this book pays tribute to the unpaid theatre-makers in Victoria, who dedicate their time, talent, skills and passion to entertain communities … in the name of theatre.

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