Stage and Theatre


"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players"

So wrote the bard, William Shakespeare in As You Like It.


Two lines frequently quoted, yet in their way they set the stage for a special introduction to the world of theatre in a Learning two-page special feature in The Mercury, looking at the various elements of theatre.  Theatre is nowhere near as popular as it was before films and TV, but it is not a dying artform as some people believe.  Companies continue to stage plays, ensuring that the ancient artform will survive into the future.


While play acting starts in the first grade of school, few people realise the huge range of components - and people - needed to stage a full scale theatrical production. The same can be said of the long road theatre has gone down through the centuries from the first humble open-air production in ancient Greek times to today's multi-million dollar Broadway and West End London productions.

















-Activity 1. Person A is buying clothes at a department store, B is a checkout operator, and C is the observer and judges the action. The action should be mundane and involve ordinary chit chat.
-Activity 2. Person B is buying clothes, they are very concerned that the items should be Australian made. C is the operator and agrees there are too many imported goods. A watches the interaction and notes how the relationship between B and C develops.
-Activity 3. Person C is the buyer, A is the operator and B is next in the queue and doesn't care about Australian made goods. They just want to be served.
-Debrief: Discuss how relationships between characters develop and how tension is built up over time. Each group should report on their experiences to the class. These activities can be repeated with many topics, e.g. 'green' products, GM foods and current topics taken from the editorial page of The Mercury.




Australian Drama
Posted as a support for a university subject on Australian theatre this site contains some interesting articles and a chronology of theatre in Australia.


Justin's Drama and Theatre Links
There are some broken links here but some of the links are very useful for students of theatre and theatre history.


Theatre History on the Web
A useful collection of links to theatrical websites around the world.


Mr William Shakespeare and the Internet
A guide to the best orthodox sites on Shakespeare.


Much Ado About Something
Documentary maker Mike Rubbo's website based on his film about the Shakespeare authorship debate. Take a look at some of the links. See also The Shakespeare Authorship roundtable, offering links to sites for and against Shakespeare as author


Association of Community Theatre
Find out how to get involved with local community theatre groups or where to go to see a show.





A History of Theatre
By Neil Grant
A stunning pictorial journey through the history of the stage. Published by Hamlyn and available from bookstores or order from Australian Online Bookshop at


See How It Runs
By Julian Meyrick
A history of the Nimrod theatre and its place in the history of modern Australian theatre. Published by Currency Press and available from bookstores.  For more details see


The Romance of the Sydney Stage
By Humphrey Hall and Alfred J. Cripps
Written in the early years of the 20th Century the manuscript for this book did not find publication until 1996. It is a lively, informative and entertaining account of theatre in Sydney from the First Fleet until 1861. Published by Currency Press and available from bookstores.  For more details see


Building Works- Theatre
By John Malam
Beginning with a wonderfully illustrated cross-section of a typical modern theatre this book explains all aspects of theatre and putting on a play, also showing all aspects of running a theatre. Belitha Press. Distributed by Heinemann


A Greek Theatre
By Peter Chrisp
Looks at life inside a Greek theatre through the objects found there: comic and tragic masks, tickets, shield, ivy wreath, flute, costume. It moves on from the theatre to look at curriculum aspects of Greek life, including leisure and entertainment, religion, war and politics.  Published by Hodder Wayland.  Available from October 2003.  For more details see


The Theatre A Concise History
By Phyllis Hartnoll
A comprehensive but brief look, complete with a wealth of illustrations, at all of the forms of theatre throughout the centuries since its birth in ancient Greece. Published by Thames and Hudson and available from bookstores.


A History of the Theatre
By Glynne Wickham
A generously illustrated and more in-depth look at the history of theatre. Published by Phaidon Press and available from bookstores.


Behind the Media: Theatre
By Catherine Chambers
A look at how a musical theatre production comes together, how a theatre operates and a survey of some of the greatest productions. Published by Heinemann. For more details see