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Jim’s Australiana Spot – 2UE - April 17, 2016

aussies at the theatre

With Turandot taking over the Harbour and Botanic Gardens - let's look at our THEATRE GOING HABITS.

% of Aussies who attend cultural events annually.
Theatre 17%      Musicals and Opera 17%  Dance 11%        
Classical Music Concerts 10 %  Popular Music Concerts 30%
Dance 10%         Cinema 67%       Art Galleries 26%       Museums 26%

1 What do these great Aussie companies? Peters Ice Cream, Cobb and Co, Fosters Brewing and JC Williamsons Theatre Co have in common?
  All started by Americans
2 What JCW production in 1902 went over 4 hours and include horses racing on a treadmill while the scenery moved
  Ben Hur
3. In 1880, JCW bought the Australian Rights to whose musicals? From whom?

Gilbert and Sullivan - D'Oyly Carte

• In June 1789 convicts performed The Recruiting Officer by George Farquhar, for the King's birthday - Arthur Phillip and 60 people attended.
•  Robert Sidway ran a theatre in the 1790s
• Theatre Royal  est by Barnett Levy in 1833 Her Majestys in 1838 and Adelaide had theatre from 1838 also and Melbourne in 1840.
• In gold Rush era Theatre boomed - George Coppin was most popular but there were many companies - from minstrel shows to Grand Opera.
* In 1879 James Cassius Williamson (1845 –1913) arrived in Australia.

Born Pennsylvania raised in Wisconsin. His father died when he was eleven years old. He acted in amateur theatricals and joined a local theatre company as a call-boy at the age of 15, In 1871, he became the leading comedian in San Francisco and married comedian Maggie Moore.
The two found success touring in Australia, London, the U.S. etc in a comedy called Struck Oil. In 1879, Williamson obtained the right to present Gilbert and Sullivan in Australia. He formed Royal Comic Opera Company. In 1881, and leased the Theatre Royal. He died in 1913, but he left a strong theatrical empire that became the largest theatrical firm in the world, with extensive film and property holdings. The company continued to produce seasons of Gilbert and Sullivan operas, operetta, straight plays, musicals, pantomimes and revues and traditional opera, ballet seasons, and concert tours by visiting celebrity singers and musicians, at the many theatres that it owned or leased throughout Australia and New Zealand. It also toured and presented shows in UK. In 1976, the company closed and leased out its name.




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