About Drama Production | The First Joanna

The University of Queensland (UQ) and AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource (www.austlit.edu.au) announces the publication and production of a gem of 1940s Australian theatre, The First Joanna, by Dorothy Blewett.

AustLit, the online resource for Australian literature and storytelling heritage, has partnered with UQ Drama, the Ian Potter Foundation and Playlab Press to create an archive of stage and radio plays, alongside rich information on the forgotten plays and playwrights of the pre-Summer of the Seventeenth Doll era.

Written by the sadly under-recognised Australian playwright and novelist, Dorothy Blewett (1898-1965), the stage play was uncovered by Kerry Kilner, Director of AustLit, in the theatre archives at UQ’s Fryer Library and selected for production by UQ senior lecturer and award-winning playwright, Dr Stephen Carleton, and renowned Queensland theatre practitioner and former artistic director of La Boite Theatre, Sue Rider. They have worked with UQ Drama students to produce the play as a part of their 50th anniversary celebrations.

Selected as the first in a tranche of plays, written and produced before 1955, to be researched, digitised and published through AustLit and Playlab, The First Joanna is being revived for a modern audience more than 50 years since its last curtain call.

Re-discovering Dorothy Blewett’s extensive list of works has brought excitement to researchers and students at UQ and delight to Dorothy’s family who are travelling to Queensland to witness this remarkable event. The plays and novels stand the test of time and her story should be told. This project will open up these and other theatre works to a whole new generation of readers, producers, actors, and students of Australian theatre.

Event Details: Set in South Australia post-World War II, the homecoming of the second Joanna is soured by the close-knit and guarded Deveron family. Feeling as if she can’t connect with the present, Joanna turns to the past to reveal the skeletons in the Deveron family’s closet.

This classic Australian play was optioned by J C Williamson for productions in Australia, and by Maxwell Wray for a West End, London, production. A new story of Australian plays in 1950s London is emerging.

Season runs 1 – 4 June at the Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio, University of Queensland, St Lucia.
Bookings preferred, but not essential. To book please call 33652552
For more event information please refer to our Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/833644390113986/ or contact via email.

Contact AustLit and the Production team:
AustLit Director Kerry Kilner: k.kilner@uq.edu.au 0402 454 120
Dr Stephen Carleton: s.carleton@uq.edu.au
Sue Rider: suerider@iprimus.com.au


Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio