Saturday, January 13, 2018

Oceania - Females in Theatre and Drama in the 20th and 21st Century

Oceania - Females in Theatre and Drama in the 20th and 21st Century

Katharine Susannah Prichard

Although mainly known as a novelist, the Australian writer and playwright Katharine Susannah Prichard was one of Australia's first and most talented playwrights . Born in 1883, in Fiji, she was one of the founding members of the Communist Party of Australia in 1921. She wrote her first novel earlier in 1915. In 1922, she wrote her first play Brumby Innes which deals with the issue of gender and race relations in the outback Pilbara region of Western Australia. She returned to this theme in her controversial 1929 novel Coonardoo which portrayed relationships between white men and Indigenous Australian women in the outback. Her second play, Bid Me To Love was written in 1923 and it deals with another world, the world of the fashionably rich of Perth in Western Australia. Although an Australian theatre director of the period, Gregan McMahon considered her work as comparable to Eugene O’Neill’s drama, both plays had to wait until the 1960’s until they got their first performances.

Violet Targuse
One of New Zealand’s first important female playwrights was Violet Targuse. She wrote approximately seven plays (mostly one act plays). Her first play, Rabbits written in 1930 has become her most memorable and popular. Her style as a playwright is very naturalistic and her observation of individuals and social situations is quite astute. She wrote plays on mostly based around domestic themes set in kitchens and living rooms addressing the emotional and psychological concerns of women particularly in rural settings. Alienation and the search for meaning and purpose in domestic and rural settings are a hallmark of her plays.

Oriel Gray

One of Australia’s most prolific early female playwrights and theatre makers was Oriel Gray. Her work with the Socialist New Theatre in Sydney and the New Theatre in Melbourne spanned almost 50 years from 1940 until 2000. Her work explored the issues of social activism, feminism, the environment, Indigenous Australians, assimilation and bush life. In 1942, she became Australia’s first paid playwright in residence at Sydney’s New Theatre which put on primarily Socialist and radical political theatre. Her first play Lawson, was written in 1942 and performed in 1943 at the Sydney New Theatre. Over the next few years she wrote and had performed a string of plays including Westernlimit (1946), My Life is My Affair (1947), Had We But World Enough (1950), Sky without Birds (1950), The Belle And The Bushranger (1951), Hewers Of Coal (1951), The King Who Wouldn't (1952), Marx Of Time (1952), Milestones (1953) and Royal Tour (1953). Her 1954 play The Torrents was jointly awarded the Australian Playwright’s Advisory Board awards best play (along with Ray Lawler’s Summer of the Seventeenth Doll). In 1955 she wrote Drive a Hard Bargain (1955). In 1959 she wrote what many consider her greatest play Burst of Summer which depicted the real life events of Indigenous Australian actress Ngarla Kunith and the trials she faced when acting on Charles Chauvel’s film Jedda. The play won best play at the J.C.Williamson Theatre Guild Awards. She wrote for radio and television in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. She lived a long life and saw her work become popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s. 

Dorothy Hewett

Probably the greatest Australian female playwright was Dorothy Hewett who was also known as a poet. Born in 1923 in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt in Wickepin, she joined the Communist Party in 1944. She married communist lawyer Lloyd Davies around this time but after the death of her son of leukaemia at the age of three, they divorced. She moved to Sydney and lived with Boilermaker Les Flood, a boilermaker. They had three sons together. She wrote for various Communist papers in the 1950’s. They divorced and she returned to Perth where she married Merv Lilley with whom she lived for the rest of her life and they had two daughters together. After the Prague Spring and the Soviet invasions of Poland and Czechoslovakia, Hewett renounced her membership of the Communist Party.
In 1967, Hewett wrote her first play This Old Man Comes Rolling Home which became a hit which stayed in the Australian theatre repertoire for many years. Her next two plays Mrs. Porter and the Angel (1969) and Bon-Bons and Roses For Dolly (1972) confirmed her plays as an important Australian playwright. But it was her 1972 play The Chapel Perilous that first achieved notoriety for her leading to her being one of the first recipients of an Australia Council playwright grants. The grants continued and saw her write continuously over the next few years including Catspaw (1974), Joan (1975), The Tatty Hollow Story (1976), The Golden Oldies (1977), Pandora's Cross (1978) and The Man From Mukinupin (1979) which was the winner of many awards.
Hewett continued to prolifically through the 1980’s producing plays such as Golden Valley (1981), Song of the Seals (1983), The Fields of Heaven (1983), Christina's World (1983) and Me and the Man in the Moon (1987). In the 1991, she started to develop osteoarthritis and moved to the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney. In the mountains, she started to write more poetry but in 2000/2001 she produced two plays Nowhere and Jarrabin. She also wrote the play Halfway Up the Mountain for Melbourne’s Playbox Theatre but by 2001 she had started to develop breast cancer and eventually died in 2002.

Jean Betts 

Jean Betts is a New Zealand actor, director and playwright who was born in London. After graduating from the University of Canterbury with a degree in English Literature and New Zealand and Pacific History she went on to study as an actor at the New Zealand Drama School (now Toi Whakaari).
Betts worked initially as an actor but by 1972 she was also directing. She helped found in 1975, the Playmarket Theatre and the Circa Theatre in 1976. She was also a founding member of the Wellington-based Depot Theatre along also with the oversea New Zealand Theatre Company 'The Heartache and Sorrow Company' which performed in Amsterdam, Germany, London, and at the Edinburgh Festival. In 1993 Betts work with others to establish the Women's Professional Playwrights Association (WOPPA) which premiered Betts’ play Ophelia Thinks Harder in 1993.

With other collaborators, Betts co-founded an organization committed to publishing plays by women called The Women's Play Press.  In 2005 she set up a small NZ play publishing project, The Play Press to further the playwriting of women, New Zealand playwrights and especially playwrights of Maori and Indigenous heritage. Her own plays include The Nobodies from Nowhere (1973 co-written with Ludlam, Frost, Minifie & Wahren), Bloomsberries (1974), Fairy Tales (1976), Dada (1977), Leaving Home (compiled with Barbara Ewing in 1980), Revenge of the Amazons (1983), Digger and Nudger (developed in 1989 with Parry, McGlone and Hen's Teeth), Ophelia Thinks Harder (1993), Strange Brew (1995), Camelot School (1995), Saskia's Version (1996), BATS Theatre, Wellington), The Misandrist - an Angry Comedy (2000), The Collective (2005), The Man from Tamil Nadu (2010), Into the Uncanny Valley (2012) and Genesis Falls (2014).

Ollie Black

Ollie Black is an Australian theatre maker, social activist and the co-founder of the Wimmins Circus (Melbourne: 1979) and Vitalstatistix, (Adelaide: 1984). She later became the founder the National Women’s Theatre. Many people consider her also the mother of modern Australian Feminist theatre.

Black’s work in the performing arts started around 1977.   Her work in the performing arts is mostly movement and circus skills based and she has been the founder and co-founder of many companies including Desperate Measures, the Wimmins Circus, Circus OZ, Vitalstatistix and Kurruru.  As a performer and director in circus, youth theatre, community theatre and physical theatre, she has trained in a variety of movement based ways some of which were circus skill based and some were influenced by her interests in the Alexander Technique and Feldenkraus movement techniques.

Much of her work has been with women who have suffered abuse and her work in Australian Indigenous communities. Another element of her practice has been work with emerging artists and arts workers. This work should not be seen to anyway overshadow or undermine the important continual work Black has done with young people, and individual communities from urban to suburban to remote and local. This on-going commitment to Community theatre is perhaps her greatest achievement. This community work usually involved circus and theatre techniques and she extended this work for many years into youth development, training programmes, work in the prison and juvenile justice systems, and arts led health and well being programs. Her contributions to theatre and the arts as a force for social change are truly innovative. Black, at the time of writing this, is also the Co-coordinator of the St Bedes' Community Garden which helps to develop connection to food, growth and community as a vital step towards further community building.

Robyn Archer

The great Australian actor, singer, director, artistic director, writer and public arts activist Robyn Archer, changed the nature of Australian theatre forever. Archer was born Robyn Smith in Prospect, South Australia. She went to Adelaide University and started singing professionally while she completed an Undergraduate degree and then a Diploma of Education. In the early 1970’s she declared herself as openly gay.
In the 1970’s, Archer became famous for singing in Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht plays including The Seven Deadly Sins and Threepenny Opera. She performed the work of the German cabaret songs Weill, Eisler and Dessau.
In 1979, Archer’s one-woman cabaret A Star is Torn (in which she sang the songs of covering various female singers including Billie Holiday and Judy Garland). Her next show, The Pack of Women was an all-female cabaret ensemble piece which explores the sexual politics of modern life. In the 1980’s Archer wrote and developed the show The Conquest of Carmen Miranda to Songs From Sideshow Alley and Cafe Fledermaus. In 1989, she wrote the opera, Mambo.

Archer has been a very influential Festival Director. She was Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival from 1993-1995. From 2002 until 2004 she was Artistic Director of the Melbourne International Arts Festival. In 2007, Archer created The Light of Winter for Federation Square in Melbourne. In 2008, she wrote the play Architektin and in 2009 she devised the Tough Nut Cabaret for a production in the United States. She spent two years as Artistic Director of the European Capital of Culture. Archer’s other plays and performance work includes Live-Could-Possibly-Be-True-One-Day Adventures of Superwoman (1974), Kold Komfort Kaffe (1978), Songs from Sideshow Alley (1980), Captain Lazar and his Earthbound Circus (1980), The Conquest of Carmen Miranda (1982), Cut and Thrust (1983), Il Magnifico (1984), The 1985 Scandals (1985), Akwanso, Fly South (1988), Cafe Fledermaus (1990), Mrs Bottle's Absolutely Blurtingly Beautiful World Beating Burp (1990), Le Chat Noir (1991), The Bridge (1992), See Ya Next Century (1993), Ningali (1994), Sappho Sings the Blues (1997), Boy Hamlet (2000) and Architektin (2008). Archer is presently the Creative Director of the Centenary of Canberra.

Renée Gertrude Taylor

Renée Gertrude Taylor is a Maori and New Zealand writer, feminist and playwright who also has Irish, English and Scottish heritage who was born in Napier, New Zealand in 1929. Renée calls herself as a lesbian feminist with socialist working-class ideals. Her first drama which was the 1981 drama Setting the Table. From an early age she chose to adopt being called only by her first name, the name her mother had given her.
Renée is a ground-breaking figure for women in the New Zealand theatre landscape. She began acting in the Napier Repertory Theatre and then directed plays. After attending the United Women’s Convention in Wellington in 1975, she started to develop more her commitment to a more uniquely New Zealand feminist theatre.
In 1979, Renée relocated to Auckland to complete her B.A. at the University and worked part-time as a cleaner at Auckland's Theatre Corporate. Six years later, she returned to Theatre Corporate as Playwright in Residence. Her first commercial success as a playwright was Setting the Table (1981). She was invited to attend the First International Women Playwrights Conference in New York in October 1988 and she also attended the Pacific Writers Conference in London. Her plays explore Māori women’s lives and their unique experiences.
Some of Renée's best known plays form a trilogy, beginning with Wednesday to Come (1985) which shows the effect on a New Zealand family of the 1930s Great Depression. Then Pass It On (1986) follows the two children in Wednesday to Come now that they have grown up and married. Jeannie Once (1991), is a prequel to Wednesday to Come. Her most recent plays include Heroines, Hussies and High, High Flyers (1993) and Shall We Gather at the River (2010).

Sarah Delahunty 

Sarah Delahunty is a New Zealand playwright, director and writer who was born in Wellington, New Zealand. She has written over 30 plays, many of which have been for youth and children’s theatre. Her children’s theatre pieces include adaptation of Sleeping Beauty, The Emperor's New Clothes, Beauty and the Beast, Puss in Boots, The Adventures of Toad, The Frog Prince, The Tinderbox, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rumpelstiltskin, The Gingerbread Man, Snow White and Rose Red, The BFG and The Twits. Delahunty wrote plays (mostly one act plays) for adults including Stretchmarks (1985), Loose Connections (1986), Gifts (1992), Greener Grass (1992), Second Sight (1996), Damage (1998), The Last Gasp Café (2000), Damage (2000), Blind Date (2000), Dear Felicity (2000), Driving You Crazy (2002), Lifelines (2002), The Oddity (2002), Time On Our Side (2002), Eating the Wolf (2005), Superbeast (2006), Another Planet (2007), Homework (2007), 2b or nt 2b (2008), The Antigone Project (2008), Medea Songs (2010), Inside Out (2010), Trusting Strangers, Counting Stars (2010), Song of Four (2010), Crazy Joint Love (2011), Falling Sparrows Here or There (2011), Affinity (2013), 4 billion likes (2014) and Where She Stood (2015).

Hannie Rayson 

The Australian playwright Hannie Rayson has become perhaps the most prolific, most awarded and most well-known Australian playwright of recent years. She was born in 1957, in Melbourne. She is a graduate of the University of Melbourne and Victorian College of the Arts. Rayson initially worked as a journalist before helping to co-found the Melbourne community theatre collective Theatreworks. Her first plays written while she was at Theatreworks include Please Return to Sender (1980), Mary (1981), Leave It Till Monday (1984) and Room To Move (1985).

Rayson’s first popular and successful play was Hotel Sorrento which premiered in 1990. The play is a comedy which centres around the reunion of three sisters who have lived for the last ten years in different places and different worlds. Identity, sense of place and familial bonds and constraints are explored in the play. The play is one of the popular and most performed plays in Australia and is studied by school students. Soon after, Rayson wrote Falling From Grace (1994) which centres around the lives of three female friends who juggle work, children and lovers.

In 1995, Rayson co-wrote with Andrew Bovell, Scenes from a Separation. This was soon followed by Competitive Tenderness in 1996. Her next critically successful play was Life After George (2000). Life After George begins at Peter George’s funeral. His wife, two ex-wives and daughter have congregated together to bury him. The play explores why those studying at universities are no longer students but customers and considers how such a corporate agenda has changed education. George, like the play itself, is complex in exploration of personal, political and social changes.
Rayson’s 2003 play Inheritance was also critically acclaimed. The play is set in the Mallee District in country Victoria in Australia. Revolving around the family politics when the Delaneys and the Hamiltons gather to celebrate the eightieth birthdays of the families’ matriarchs who are twin sisters. The play explores divisions – city/the bush, white/Indigenous and duty/freedom. The complex question of whether inheritance is ownership and whether a connection to a place and the land can give someone a greater sense of belonging and ownership.
Two Brothers (2005) explores the nature of the relationship between power and evil through representing the relationship between two brothers on either side of the political divide. The play opens on a dark and stormy night when James Benedict, the Minister for Home Security (one of the brothers), kills a man in self-defence.
In 2008, Rayson looked at the extraordinary life of Nelson Ferguson in The Glass Soldier. Ferguson was a stretcher-bearer in World War 1 and was blinded in both eyes during a gas attack. After the war, Ferguson showed just how extraordinary he actually was. Rayson wrote The Swimming Club in 2010, a play which centres on a group of six middle-aged friends who met on a Greek Island in their twenties and now have met up again to relive their youth (and quote Sappho and Homer). In 2016, Rayson wrote the play Extinction which is a thought-provoking piece about modern attitudes to the environment and the precarious relationship humans have to the planet and other species.

Joanna Murray-Smith

Joanna Murray-Smith was born in Mount Eliza in Victoria, Australia in 1962. She graduated from the University of Melbourne and after that attended the writing program at Columbia University, New York. Her play Honour was created in 1985 while she was at Columbia University. The play was presented in a public reading with Meryl Streep, Sam Waterson and Kyra Sedgwick. Later in 1985, Honour had its Australian premiere (it had to wait until 1998 for its Broadway premiere at the Belasco Theatre and it was not performed on the West End until 2003). Honour tells the story of George and Honor who have been married 32 years. George tells Honor that he wants to leave her for a younger woman. However, the play deals with these issues with a complexity and a sensitivity which allows the notions of sacrifice and identity to be dealt with wit and nuance.

In 1987, Murray-Smith wrote Angry Young Penguins which was about Australia’s most famous literary hoax where the editors of the Modernist magazine ‘Angry Penguins’ created a fictitious poet called ‘Ern’ O’Malley. This was followed by Atlanta in 1990 and then Love Child in 1993. Love Child revolves around the character of Anna, a politically conscious and independent woman who thinks that she has come to terms with her past until a young woman knocks on her door and she must attempt to reconcile herself with the daughter she gave away at birth. Murray-Smith also wrote Ridge’s Lovers in 1993.

As the 1990’s progressed, Murray-Smith took up a few posts as writer in residence and this proved fruitful for her dramatic output yielding Flame (1994), Redemption (1997) and Nightfall (1999).

The 21st Century saw the rise of Murray-Smith as one of the most prolific playwrights in Australia with Rapture (2002) (Playbox Theatre Company), Bombshells (2004) (Melbourne Theatre Company), The Female of the Species (2006) (Melbourne Theatre Company), Ninety (2008), Scenes from a Marriage (2008), Songs for Nobodies (2010), The Gift (2011), Day One, a Hotel, Evening (2011), true Minds (2013), Switzerland (2014), Pennsylvania Avenue (2014) and Three Little Words (2017).
Here is website with information and extracts from interviews with Joanna Murray-Smith:

Jane Harrison 

Jane Harrison is an Indigenous Australian from Muruwari descent who is a playwright, novelist and researcher born in 1960. Her first play, Stolen was written over six years but it premiered in 1998. The play explores the devastating effects of Australian Government policy of forced removal of Indigenous Australians from their families which officially was conducted from1905 until 1969 (but in fact continued beyond 1969). The play centres around the stories of five Aboriginal children and their experiences as children and adults. Stolen is a stylistically rich piece which uses Indigenous languages, strong monologues and alienation effects to create a potent piece of modern theatre. The style of the play combines post-modern and modern Indigenous Australian storytelling elements using some local Indigenous Australian dialect, language and storytelling alienation effects, irony and cross-cutting between monologues, dialogues and direct storytelling.

Harrison’s 2005 play Rainbow’s End was commissioned by Ilbijerri Theatre Company (the longest existing Australian Indigenous theatre company) and is set in 1950’s and explores three generations of an Aboriginal family and the story of their survival and how their sense of place and belonging helps them endure great injustices and hardships. Harrison herself said that the play explores how “… knowledge comes understanding, with understanding comes empathy, and these are the stepping stones in the healing process.”

On a Park Bench (2005) was soon followed by Blakvelvet (2006). Harrison’s 2014 play The Visitors, performed at the Melbourne Indigenous Festival in February 2014 and the play reimagines the arrival of the First Fleet from the standpoint of seven senior Australian Indigenous elders or lawmen.

I suggest starting reading Jane Harrison’s Stolen (1998).
Here is a video-clip of Jane Harrison talking about how she came to write Stolen:
Here is a link to download the play:

Alison Marie Quigan

Quigan, like many New Zealand female theatre and drama practitioners, has worked in many fields and domains. She is a New Zealand actor, director and playwright but above this, she has been a mentor and inspiration to two to three generations of New Zealand actors, directors, writers and creatives. Quigan trained at the Auckland’s Theatre Corporate Actors School in 1978 and 1979 and throughout her career, she has acted in and directed over 150 plays and written and co-written approximately 12 plays.

As Artistic Director of the Centrepoint Theatre in Palmerston North for over 18years from 1986 until 2004, Quigan directed about 63 plays and wrote a string of plays during this period as well.
Known as a great believer in the collaborative techniques of theatre, many of her earliest plays were collaborations written with Ross Gumbley and Lucy Schmidt. Some of the plays written in collaboration during the 1990’s and earlier 21st century were Five Go Barmy in Palmy (written in 1994 with Ross Gumbley), Biggles on Top (written in 1995 with Ross Gumbley), Boys at the Beach (written in 1997 with Ross Gumbley), Shop Till You Drop (written in 1998 with Ross Gumbley), The Newbury Hall Dances or Flagons and Foxtrots (written in 1999 with Ross Gumbley), The Big OE (written in 2000 with Ross Gumbley), Sisters (written in 2001 with Lucy Schmidt) and Netballers (written in 2002 with Lucy Schmidt). Some of the plays written by Quigan on her own include The School Ball (2003), Mum's Choir (2004),Girl’s Weekend Escape (2004) and the highly successful Ladies for Hire (2009).

Some people comment on the parochial domestic nature of much of Quigan’s work, however the intricacy of the relationships between characters both in her playwrighting and her directing gave a nuanced complexity to her work.

Since 2013, Quigan has been Performing Arts Manager at Mangere Arts Centre - Nga Tohu O Aotearoa where she continues to mentor and provide direction to new generations of New Zealand theatre and drama practitioners.

Makerita Urale

Makerita Urale is a Samoan playwright, documentary director and a leader in Polynesian theatre. Born on the island of Savai'i in Samoa, Her family moved to New Zealand when she was a child. Her first play, Frangipani Perfume (1998) was the first Polynesian play with an all female cast to be publicly performed in modern times. The plot of the play revolves around three Polynesian sisters who move to New Zealand to work as cleaners carrying with them their sense of Polynesian ancestry along with their dreams and aspirations. The play is lyrical theatre with aspects of magic realism and involves rich imagery and stylised movement. Urale's other plays are mostly written for children. These plays include The Magic Seashell and Popo, the Fairy. 

Urale has also become well known for her work as a theatre director and producer and many of her seminal productions have included The Debate (1995), A Frigate Bird Sings (1996), Ricordi (1996), Classical Polynesia (1998), Duty Free (1998) and a season in 2004 of short plays by Maori playwrights. 

Nakkiah Lui

Nakkiah Lui is an Indigenous Australian playwright, director, comic writer, social commentator, radio broadcaster and actor of Gamilaroi (Northern NSW and Southern QLD from Quirindi in the south to Walgett in the west to Nindigully in the north to Glen Innes in the east) and Torres Strait Islander heritage. Lui was born in Sydney in 1991 and she grew up in the working class Western Sydney suburb of St Marys which is next to Mount Druitt where many of her comic sketches are set.

Lui grew battling with racism as well as obesity (she was 120 kg as a teenager). She also spent much of her childhood visiting relatives in jail and some of this material forms the basis of some of her dramatic work both for plays and for television. She is probably best known as a playwright of several plays, the co-writer and star of Black Comedy (a television program on the ABC), a columnist for Australian Women's Weekly, one of the hosts of Radio National’s Awaye program and a regular guest and social commentator appearing on ABC’s The Drum and Q&A.

At the age of 16, Lui was awarded a scholarship to Pearson College UWC on Canada’s Vancouver Island. Despite being homesick during this period, she immersed herself in reading plays including those of Indigenous Australian playwright Leah Purcell. Her first play written during this time centred around a set of monologues written in the style of Purcell.

Lui’s first public performed play, The Prisoner and the Soldier was performed at the 2010 Short+Sweet Festival in Sydney and it explores the imprisonment of her Indigenous Australian grandfather Fred Beale (who Lui and her sister visited every day as children) who was a prisoner of war captured in the fall of Singapore and taken to Japan. She didn’t know any actors when her play was chosen for performance, so she got her parents to perform in the play.

 From this play, Lui was awarded a position as playwright=in-residence from 2012 to 2014 at Sydney's Belvoir Theatre. She was also seconded in 2013 to the Griffin Theatre where she held the position of artist-in-residence. This was a prolific period for Lui since she wrote I Should Have Told You Before We Made Love (That I’m Black) (2012), This Heaven (2013) and Blackie Blackie Brown: The Traditional Owners of Death (2013). In 201, Lui was awarded the Dreaming Award by The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Arts Board of the Australia Council.

Lui’s play Blackie Blackie Brown was a huge but controversial success at the Sydney Theatre Company’s Wharf 2 Theatre. The opening moments of this play with the lines “Your white meat is DONE, mother***er!” and the dragging of a flamboyantly dressed theatregoer through a hole in stage floor were bound to be confronting and controversial in the satirical and dangerously camp style that is evident in some of Lui’s work. The play’s narrative is centred around an Indigenous Australian archeologist who gains superpowers embracing the ancient figure of Blackie, an Indigenous Australian superhero whose mission is to kill all the living descedants of the four white men who massacred the young archeologist’s great-great grandmother’s people. The satire of the play was often underplayed by the original media attention which saw the play as glorifying murdering ‘white’ people based on the colour of their skin or the actions of their ancestors. However, Lui sees her play as unpacking the issue of racism, white supremacy and the black trauma through switching the premise of violence based on race around. Lui sees the play as a satire revenge comedy which comments on the violent history of genocide of Australia which is largely hidden and not talked about openly. The play contains powerful speeches and productions have included digital comic book style projections which allow the violent aspects of the play to comically address the serious issues underlying the play.

Lui has continued to create powerful dramatic and comic works including Kill the Messenger (2015), Power Plays (2016) and Black is the New White (2019). The work done by Lui and other Indigenous Australian writers and comedians on Black Comedy (2014 & 2016) is a watershed in Australian and Indigenous Australian television. Lui has also hosted Radio National’s Awaye and NAIDOC Evenings for ABC Local Radio, and has appeared on Q&A and The Drum on ABC. She shares a podcast called Pretty for an Aboriginal which she co-hosts with fellow Indigenous Australian actress Miranda Tapsell which has more than ten episodes and explores topics from indigenous Australian culture to race relations to power to sex to relationships to dating. 

References for Oceania - Females in Theatre and Drama in the 20th and 21st Century
  • Books
  • Barish, Jonas, The Antitheatrical Prejudice, University of California Press, London, England, 1981. 
  • Casey, Maryrose, Creating Frames Contemporary Indigenous Theatre 1967-1990, University of Queensland Press (UQP), Brisbane, Queensland, 2004. 
  • Fensham, Rachel and Varney, Denise, The Dolls' Revolution: Australian Theatre and Cultural Imagination, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, Victoria, 2005. 
  • Milne, Geoffrey, Theatre (Un)Limited: Australian Theatre Since the 1950s, Rodopi, New York, United States of America, 2004. 
  • Rees, Leslie, A History of Australian Drama: From the 1830s to the late 1960s, 2 edn, vol. 1 of 2, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, New South Wales, 1987. 
  • Rees, Leslie, A History of Australian Drama: Australian Drama 1970 - 1985, vol. 2 of 2, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, New South Wales, 1987. 
  • Wimmer, Carol, 'Early Australian Drama 1788 - 1914', in Crawford, Jerry; Hurst, Catherine; and Lugering, Michael (eds), Acting in Person and in Style in Australia, McGraw Hill, Auckland, New Zealand, 1995. 
  • Fotheringham, Richard (ed.), Community Theatre in Australia, revised edn, Methuen Australia, Sydney, New South Wales, 1992. 
  • Goodman, Lizbeth, with de Gay, Jane (ed.), The Routledge Reader in Gender and Performance, Routledge, New York, United States of America, 1998. 
  • Parsons, Phillip with Chance, Victoria (ed.), A Companion to Theatre in Australia, Currency Press in association with Cambridge University Press, Sydney, New South Wales, 1995.
  • Tait, Peta (ed.), Converging Realities: Feminism in Australian Theatre, Currency Press, Sydney, New South Wales, 1994. 
Journal Articles
  • Glow, Hilary, 'Recent Indigenous Theatre in Australia: The Politics of Autobiography', International Journal of the Humanities, vol. 4, no. 1, 2006, pp. 71-7. 
  • Hibberd, Jack, 'Performing Arts in Australia', Meanjin, vol. 1, 1984.
Online Resources
  • Zimdahl, Cathrine, 'Where Playscripts Go To Live and Other Art - Related Events', in 7 - On Playwrights: Donna Abela, Vanessa Bates, Hilary Bell, Noelle Janaczewska, Verity Laughton, Ned Manning, Cathrine Zimdahl, 28 November 2013,