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The Parsons Lectures
Published in association with Company B, Belvoir Street Theatre
The Philip Parsons Memorial Lectures on the Performing Arts and accompanying Young Playwright's award, were established by the NSW Ministry for the Arts in 1993, following the death of Dr Philip Parsons. Since 2003 their administration has been undertaken by Company B Belvoir.
This collection contains ten years of our most controversial addresses on the performing arts, by Neil Armfield, Katharine Brisbane, John Derum, Wayne Harrison, Robyn Nevin, Stephen Page and Richard Wherrett.
Creeping commercialism invading artistic integrity; unsustainable levels of actors, rising administration, failing relevance, the perils of sponsorship, the unrecognised changing needs, the failure of governments— these papers reflect the topics of their time. . 'There is a lot of anger in these papers, anger and frustration but also imagination, exploration, competitiveness and above all a single-minded dedication to the work and a belief in the power of the arts to contribute to public and private good. Sydney is fortunate in its creative artists and could afford to listen to their voices more often than is at present the case,' writes Katharine Brisbane.
'I see our work as part of an Aboriginal art movement that's based on frustration and the social issues of our communities.' Stephen Page, 2003.
'The crossroads in the Sydney Theatre Company story are inexorably connected to the story of subsidised theatre in Australia. We are at a crucial, dangerous moment.' Robyn Nevin, 2000.
'How dangerous for all of us, for our culture, is this new-found zeal in the arts towards sponsorship.' Neil Armfield, 1998.
'Eighty-six per cent of our theatre work is now Australian, We are doing too many Australian plays.' Richard Wherrett, 1997
'The theatre must recover its integrity. No institution can claim any rights in a society while it treats its own artists so badly.' John Derum, 1995
Philip Parsons, AM, PhD (Cantab) was a senior lecturer and eminent teacher in Drama at the University of NSW, who influenced a generation of students on the value of the performing arts, especially the classics. He was co-founder in 1971 of Currency Press, the performing arts publisher, which pioneered the publication of Australian drama.
Further Parsons lectures are available in EVENT ARCHIVES
Paperback, 129 pages.