State Library of South Australia

Beyond the stage: Aspects of performing arts in South Australia 1914 - 1936

Date: 2 March 2018 to 17 June 2018

Location: Treasures Wall

Members of a concert party group in Adelaide PRG 280 1 28 267
Members of a concert party group in Adelaide [PRG 280/1/28/267]

World War One had such an effect upon Australia that its weight can still be felt today. Imagine what that impact was like for the people who lived through the War and its aftermath.

Art can reflect and deflect history. It can also be used to support 'a great cause', and then to question its result. The performing arts were an integral part of this process. During the Great War South Australians were strongly encouraged to do their duty - enlist, convince others to enlist, and take part in the 'great adventure'. Songs and poems were written, plays performed, concerts given. We were there and we were going to do our bit. After the War former soldiers, their families, and the community as a whole had to deal with its aftermath. Should we try to forget?

On display are rarely seen theatre programs, playbills, photographs, sheet music, artefacts, menus, postcards, and audio from the collections of the State Library. See costumes used in performances of Hiawatha's Wedding Feast and Babes in the Wood during wartime.

Did you know that Don Bradman performed in a 1933 theatrical production, or musician Paul Kelly's grandparents, the Count and Contessa, played vital roles in the development of opera in Australia? Discover their stories and more in this moving exhibition.

View the exhibition online

View some of the exhibition items online on the Digital Collections website.

Partners involved in this exhibition

This exhibition was developed by the State Library of South Australia as part of an Australian Research Council Linkage Project initiated by University of Adelaide, in partnership with Flinders University, State Opera of South Australia, State Theatre Company of South Australia, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

The State Library would like to thank the Performing Arts Collection at the Adelaide Festival Centre for the loan of their three beautiful costumes. We would also like to thank Deb Gard for the loan of items that belonged to her grandfather.

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