La Trobe
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Sustaining Melbourne’s independent theatre

posted on 2023-01-18, 17:51 authored by Peita Collard
Submission note: A thesis submitted in total fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts to the Theatre and Drama Program, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora.

This thesis presents the argument that a sustainable independent theatre sector is an essential element in the continuing growth of the theatre industry overall. It establishes that the small‐to-medium companies within the independent sector are vital in the role of developing new work and practices, which are necessary for this growth. This thesis’ main focus is on Melbourne independent theatre and its relationship to Melbourne’s major performing arts organizations. In presenting this argument, the first chapter explores why such growth within arts and culture is important to a city’s economy through an investigation of cultural economics. Included in this chapter is an examination of the comparable nature of sustainable ecological discourse within the scholarship of cultural economics. In Chapter Two, this thesis examines whether past and current development programs of Major Performing Arts Organisations such as Melbourne Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre act as a viable option in the growth of new works and practices and whether they are successful in their efforts to support independent practice. Chapter Three then investigates the value second productions have in assisting the development of new works and also their role in the sustainability of the independent sector. This is achieved through an examination of relevant elements of the period known as the New Wave and the practice‐led research of the second production of The Joy of Text. The conclusion of this thesis is that, in order to maintain a vital and viable theatre industry in Melbourne, there must be a consistent growth of new works and practices. It concludes that the independent sector is the natural environment for this development and therefore adequate measures must be taken to ensure its sustainability as an ecology that is separate from the mainstream. It offers evidence that second productions can assist in that sustainability.


Center or Department

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Theatre and Drama Program.

Thesis type

  • Masters

Awarding institution

La Trobe University

Year Awarded


Rights Statement

This thesis contains third party copyright material which has been reproduced here with permission. Any further use requires permission of the copyright owner. The thesis author retains all proprietary rights (such as copyright and patent rights) over all other content of this thesis, and has granted La Trobe University permission to reproduce and communicate this version of the thesis. The author has declared that any third party copyright material contained within the thesis made available here is reproduced and communicated with permission. If you believe that any material has been made available without permission of the copyright owner please contact us with the details.

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