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Chapter 19 A View from Australia

DOI: 10.23912/978-1-910158-15-9-2642

ISBN: 978-1-910158-15-9

Published: January 2015

Component type: chapter

Published in: Focus On Festivals

Parent DOI: 10.23912/978-1-910158-15-9-2599



Dragan Klaić’s faith in festivals as a uniting cultural force seems to have had much in common with the altruistic beginnings of the Edinburgh Festival. While it is true that post-war Edinburgh desperately needed new economic drivers, there is no reason to doubt the founders’ desires for a cultural framework that might help to pull Europe together again. Klaić’s desire was to deconstruct the silos of national identity and construct in their place platforms on which the differences in language and practice could be better understood and shared. While Melina Mercuri’s desires for better understanding between the different cultures of Europe resulted in many positive collaborations and much-needed sources of mobility for artists through the European Capital of Culture programme, the programme has also bred a kind of necessary civic bragging that I doubt Klaić would have found productive. This account of international arts festivals in Australia is less one of bragging (though that too has had its place) and more one of early ignorance, gradual evolution and a happy present. International arts festivals in Australia were first built entirely on the Edinburgh model. When first Perth in Western Australia, and then Adelaide in South Australia, cloned that model to their relatively isolated cities, the core desire was to bring ‘culture’ to those cities. Not that Perth and Adelaide lacked artists and performances, but those who had been to Edinburgh felt that Australian audiences were rarely exposed to the ‘best’ of culture. The significantly named Elizabethan Theatre Trust and entrepreneurs such as Ken Brodziak, already toured international shows and artists: I myself was taken by our science teacher, along with a few fellow students, to see Vivien Leigh play Portia in The Merchant of Venice, in 1962.

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  • Robyn Archer (Author)

For the source title:

  • Chris Newbold, De Montfort University (Editor)
  • Christopher Maughan, Freelance writer (Editor)
  • Jennie Jordan, De Montfort University (Editor)
  • Franco Bianchini, Leeds Beckett University (Editor)

Cite as

Archer, 2015

Archer, R. (2015) "Chapter 19 A View from Australia" In: Newbold, C., Maughan, C., Jordan, J. & Bianchini, F. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/978-1-910158-15-9-2642


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