Australian variety entertainment from theatre to television and night clubs, 1946-1975

varietyperformanceOngoing research since 2004: Flinders Research Grants, 2007 and 2010; Research Fellow, National Film and Sound Archive, 2008; research in Hong Kong, Singapore, Manila, Taipei and Tokyo, 2010.

Theatre historians usually record the decline of vaudeville and variety shows by citing the widespread closure of theatre buildings as venues for live entertainment. This indeed was the fate of many theatre buildings in Australian towns and cities during the middle decades of the twentieth century. Yet when theatres closed their doors, burnt down, were demolished or converted into cinemas, the performers and their acts did not just disappear. In this project, I want to find out what happened to variety performance in the transition of popular entertainment from travelling tents and theatre circuits to television screens and night clubs over three decades from 1946 to 1975.

Read more…

Publications

  • Bollen, J. (2013) ‘Show girls and choreographers in Australian entertainment – the transition to night clubs, 1946-1967’, Australasian Drama Studies, 63: 52-68.
  • Bollen, J. (2013) ‘Here from There – travel, television and touring revues: internationalism as entertainment in the 1950s and 1960s’, Popular Entertainment Studies, 4/1: 64-81.
  • Bollen, J. (2012) ‘From theatrical nostalgia to modernist design: night clubs as venues for live entertainments in mid-twentieth century Australia’, in A World of Popular Entertainments, eds Gillian Arrighi and Victor Emeljanow, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press.
  • Bollen, Jonathan (2010) ‘Don’t Give Up the Strip! Erotic performance as live entertainment in mid-twentieth century Australia’, Journal of Australian Studies, 34/2: 125-140.
  • Bollen, Jonathan (2010) ‘Cross-dressed and crossing-over from stage to television’, Media International Australia, 134: 141-150.

Presentations

  • ‘Australian entertainers in Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s’, International Federation for Theatre Research, University of Warwick, England, 28 July 2014.
  • ‘Progress as the future of entertainment – the view from Broken Hill, 1955-1964’, Another World of Popular Entertainments, University of Newcastle, 12-14 June 2013.
  • ‘Cargo-loads of entertainment: touring Hong Kong’s night clubs in the 1950s and 1960s’, International Federation for Theatre Research, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, 22-28 July 2012.
  • ‘As modern as tomorrow, as international as a jet-airliner’: Harry Wren takes Toho’s Cherry Blossom Show on a tour of Australia in 1958, International Federation for Theatre Research, University of Osaka, Japan, 8-12 August 2011.
  • ‘Extra-national entertainment: touring Asian and Australian nightclubs in the 1950s’, Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies conference, Monash University, Melbourne, 28 June – 1 July 2011.
  • ‘Others from elsewhere: East-West crossover as cosmopolitan entertainment in Hong Kong, Manila and Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s’, Crossovers of East and West Conference, National Taiwan Unviersity, Taipei, 30-31 October 2010.
  • ‘Stripping in the 1960s: theatre, television and clubs’, Beyond Burlesque, La Trobe University, Melbourne, 12 Feb 2010.
  • ‘Erotic performance as historical fiction in Australian variety performance of the 1950s and 1960s’, A World of Popular Entertainments, University of Newcastle, 10-11 Jun 2009.
  • ‘Transforming stage acts and variety television in the 1950s and 1960s’, Television and the National, La Trobe University, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne, 19-21 Nov 2008.
  • ‘Australian variety performance from theatre to television in the 1950s and 1960s’, National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra, 24 Jul 2008.
  • ‘Here from There: Exotic revue as excursive practice in Australian variety performance’, Turangawaewae – A Sense of Place, Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, 30 Jun – 3 Jul 2008.
  • ‘Australian variety performance in the 1950s and 1960s’, Spotlight Lecture, The Arts Centre, Melbourne, 17 Apr 2008.
  • ‘Rendering the everyday ordinary: Australian variety performance as excursive practice’, Extreme States, Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies, La Trobe University and University of Melbourne, 3-6 Jul 2007.
  • ‘Whatever happened to vaudeville? Australian variety performance from theatre to television and licensed clubs, 1945-1975”, Flinders Humanities Research Centre, Flinders University, 18 Oct 2006.

Login to wiki | Login to website (prior to 12 Feb 2009) [passwords required]