Today’s Letter to the Editor comes from Sydney-based translator and dramaturg May-Brit Akerholt in response to our recent interview with director Kate Gaul: Why The Ham Funeral remains relevant in Australian theatre, 70 years later.


Thank you for an insightful interview with Kate Gaul about her forthcoming production of Patrick White’s play The Ham Funeral. I worked on the 1989 STC production of the play directed by Neil Armfield, and an inspiring cast, curious to understand every line, yearning to explore their characters, hungering to reveal them to the audience – such is the writing of Patrick White.

Jim Sharman’s 1979 production of A Cheery Soul in the Drama Theatre of the Opera House, with Robyn Nevin’s Miss Docker exploding into the lives of the quiet, suburban Custances, produced my first ‘dramaturgical’ thoughts, I think, and a desire to work in the theatre. We keep reviving and adapting the classics, producing old and new British and American drama, and the odd new Australian play. We need not only to give our young playwrights a better go, but to create a classic repertoire of our own writers, like most countries do.

May-Brit Akerholt

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