1968 Terror Australis

Terror AustralisDevised and directed by Jim Sharman. Performed on 8 March 1968 – 30 March 1968

Having graduated from the NIDA Production course in 1965, Jim Sharman was employed by NIDA as a Resident Producer, working at the Old Tote Theatre, NIDA and on affiliated activities. Robert Quentin determined to continue in some way the Jane Street initiative, invited Sharman to present a new work in early 1968.

Terror Australis was a devised work developed during the rehearsal process between Sharman, the actors – Helen Morse, Garry McDonald, Jennifer West and Peter Rowley – and three of the Oz Magazine writers with whom Sharman had previously worked during the production of the satirical review Oz on Stage (Dean Letcher, Richard Raper and Richard Walsh).

Sharman recounts in his book Blood & Tinsel, the play was ‘a spirited attack on many Australian sacred cows’, with audience members crawling through a sheep-run to enter the theatre. Criticism from the Sydney Morning Herald reviewer Harry Kippax, led Patrick White to write a letter praising the show – an event remembered fondly by Sharman, whose later friendship with White saw him direct White’s plays to great acclaim.

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