“At the end of Keating’s prime-ministership, he was talking about embracing complexity and multiculturalism, and the difficulties there. Howard’s masterstroke was to come in and say: “I want Australians to be comfortable about their past, their present and their future.” Which is to say, “we’re not going to talk about this anymore.” And I feel like, since that period, we have not had a robust national conversation. Where is the cultural discourse about any of this stuff? We’ve had the apology, great; but that is not the end. Kevin Rudd’s apology should have been the beginning of this, kind of, great evolution in the way Australians see themselves. But I think that’s failed.”
– Mark Wilson

“I would characterise the Australian experience as, unfortunately, having to reflect a majority, and a popular view – more than art is required to in other cultures.”
– Marcel Dorney

In episode four of Audio Stage, our studio is full. We have gathered some of our favourite people, to talk about what it means to work in contemporary Australian theatre, and operate without history. Fleur is away for a wedding (luckily, not hers!), but the magic of technology, and Kieran’s amazing production skills, keep her present. Meanwhile, Jana is joined in the studio by: Marcel Dorney, Artistic Director of Melbourne independent theatre collective Elbow Room Productions; John Kachoyan, Co-Artistic Director of MKA: Theatre of New Writing; and Mark Wilson, independent theatre-maker and dramaturg.


“Making art is a sedimentation of layers. What we make today indirectly reflects what was done before. Maybe it comes as an opposition, or a continuation, as an echo, but we need to be aware of that. And I do think that in Australia we are not aware of what’s been done.”
– Angela Conquet

In episode three, the Artistic Director of Dancehouse, Melbourne’s home of contemporary dance, Angela Conquet, joins hosts Jana Perkovic and Fleur Kilpatrick. We talk about contemporary dance in Australia, what makes it particular; about the urgency to preserve it, and whether Australia, being such a young country, is not aware of the forces of impermanence.


“There is a good side to not being crushed by culture. I think in Europe you’re really aware of the centuries and centuries of Western culture and it has all been done. One of the beautiful things about Australian writing, culture and performance is this sense that that’s not hanging over everybody. I think at its best there is a tremendous freedom in Australian performance, a huge intelligence and a kind of disrespect that’s really healthy.”
– Alison Croggon

In episode two poet, novelist, critic and commentator Alison Croggon, joins hosts Jana Perkovic and Fleur Kilpatrick. We talk about the place of the review in art documentation and how one balances the responsibilities that the critic has to the artist, the audience and to history.


“We characterise development historically as a kind of linear progression from ‘bad’ to ‘good’ to ‘better’. It is demonstrably not true. It expands, it contracts, it expands, it contracts. It is not a mechanical process. It is an organic process.”
– Robert Reid

In our first episode artist, historian and prolific contributor to Australian theatre, Robert Reid, joins hosts Jana Perkovic and Fleur Kilpatrick. The conversation gives context to this moment in performance history whilst looking to the future of documentation.