1st Edition

Australian Metatheatre on Page and Stage An Exploration of Metatheatrical Techniques

By Rebecca Clode Copyright 2022
    208 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers the first major discussion of metatheatre in Australian drama of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. It highlights metatheatre’s capacity to illuminate the wider social, cultural, and artistic contexts in which plays have been produced.


    Drawing from existing scholarly arguments about the value of considering metatheatre holistically, this book deploys a range of critical approaches, combining textual and production analysis, archival research, interviews, and reflections gained from observing rehearsals. Focusing on four plays and their Australian productions, the book uses these examples to showcase how metatheatre has been utilised to generate powerful elements of critique, particularly of Indigenous/non-Indigenous relations. It highlights metatheatre’s vital place in Australian dramatic and theatrical history and connects this Australian tradition to wider concepts in the development of contemporary theatre.


    This illuminating text will be of interest to students and scholars of Australian theatre (historic and contemporary) as well as those researching and studying drama and theatre studies more broadly.

    Introduction 1. The metatheatre of Dorothy Hewett’s The Man from Mukinupin 2. The metatheatre of The Man from Mukinupin on stage 3. Louis Nowra’s Royal Show 4. Sideshow Alley as metatheatre in Louis Nowra’s Royal Show 5. Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good 6. Our Country’s Good: the metatheatre of rehearsal, backstage and the ‘Aboriginal Australian’ 7. Peta Murray’s Things That Fall Over – an (anti-)musical of a novel, inside a reading of a play, with footnotes, and oratorio-as-coda 8. Peta Murray’s Things That Fall Over: (Con)Texts, Paratexts, Metatheatre 9. Conclusion: Sideshows and other Swansongs


    Rebecca Clode is a lecturer in Drama and English at the Australian National University. She is a PhD graduate of the ANU and also holds an MA in Text and Performance Studies from King's College and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London. Research interests include Australian Drama (history and practice) as well as contemporary European and American Dramas. Rebecca is also a theatre-maker with a background in directing and dramaturgy.