Australian Theatre History. The Australian Performing Group at the Pram Factory




Newsletter Item. Nov 1970

We are in the process of forming the Community Arts Foundation (CAF) a company which will provide initial capital needed to renovate a property of 11,000 sq. feet recently acquired at 325-327 Drummond St. Carlton, opposite the police station and near the Carlton Courthouse. This property known in Carlton as the PRAM FACTORY is to be set up as a community arts centre....

To contact us telephone Graeme Blundell 346984, John Timlin 344373, Jack Hibberd 4892991

Fund Raising Party. Sat. Nov 7. 8 pm at the Pram Factory. $1.00 BYOG. Supper and Music



A Newsletter 12/7/ 71

The APG at present has 5 actors, a director and a writer on salary. Income from box office and a $5,000.00 subsidy from the ACA (Australian Council for the Arts) has made this possible. Ultimately we hope to expand our artistic personnel. Increase the number of people working here but especially the number of people working in an administrative or technical capacity. At the moment this work is done by outside volunteers or the actors themselves.

It's our intention to run the Pram Factory as a playhouse operating at least 3 nights a week for the year, sometimes 5 major seasons, so called because they have a large cast/ large budget will play Wed-Sunday for a month. Frid -Sun for smaller productions in the gaps . The core company which goes by the name of the Portable Theatre also does daytime outside work in order to earn its keep. Schools tours, lunch hour performances at factories and unis etc.

Ours is a risky and far from wholly satisfactory situation. It's a start, we all realise that but we are sailing pretty close to the wind. It's unlikely our income will ever cover expenditure without the relying on grants and donations the amount of capital we've had to expend on refurbishing the building has further complicated our financial situation.

Key to survival is keeping the Pram Factory open as often as possible. The program for the rest of the year:

Christie in Love, Don's Party, Mannix, the Women's Lib play.


14/8/1971 an article in Australian by Kath Brisbane


Nov-Dec. 1971

Women's Play: Betty Can Jump

We now have a cast of six women (and one man) 3 writers / documenters and 2 designers. 2 months of Consciousness Raising developing workshop training techniques that we began with in ‘68-‘69 but abandoned due to work pressures. It has always been important ideally for the APG to develop actors and an acting style as it was to develop writers. We feel we have been neglecting the actors lately. K.Dwyer.




MINUTES & MEETINGS :selections 1972-


28/1/72 Internal Bulletin 325 Drummond St ph 349493

MaxGillies, Kerry Dwyer, Rod Moore, Jack Hibberd, the ghost of Graeme Blundell, John Smythe, Claire Dobbin, Helen Garner, Garrie Hutchinson. An executive was elected:- Max: chair; Rod: treasurer; Kerry and Graeme and Garrie. Those then asked to join:

Des Fitzgerald, Bill Hannan, Lorna Hannan, Mickey Allen, Marg Williams, Tony Taylor, Wilfred Last, Jude Kuring, Barry Oakley, Geoff Milne, Lorraine Milne, Chris Berkman, Gary Luke, Vic Marsh, Laurel Frank, Evelyn Krape, Ian Mckenzie, David Williamson, Lloyd O'Neill, John Romeril, Peter Cummins, Kay Hamilton, Yvonne Marini,  Bruce Spence,(in Adelaide Jenny Walsh his proxy) Tony Rooke, Lindy Davies.


‘The general idea of the meeting is that it is the first of an eternal series of monthly general meetings’


[ how little did they know how perspicacious this statement was.SI]


The Agenda For The First Meeting:

included programming for 1972

·    A permanent company and its relationship to the wider group, who to employ.

·    Arts council applications, and state govt, functions and responsibilities of finance committee.

·    Report of Health Department requirements.

·    Discussion of relationship between APG and unions.

·    Report on schools projects, anything else.


After this meeting there will be another to discuss the political cabaret.


7/2/1972 APG General Mtg

Kerry Dwyer note taker.

Much discussion on the last mtg. and the Constitution is accepted with  a few adjustments.

‘because of the divergent range of possible projects, it seems imperative that members of the APG accept such status and talk of the APG as "we" instead of “they” or “you” otherwise the divergence could cause the collapse of the group.'

Max addresses: the APG has been organised ad hoc for the past year. The present difficulties have produced two good things: Lloyd O’Neill, a Melbourne publisher formed the finance committee to fund raise and the ACA granted us $2,000.00 emergency to set up admin.

Rod Moore =Treasurer; Garrie Hutchinson= Pr; Kerry Dwyer =Director of next show and general admin.

Needed money to pay for renovations required by Health Dept. and to draw up Constitution to go thru Elizabethan Theatre Trust to get tax deductability status. Lloyd O'Neill drafted a constitution with the help of solicitor David Bruce, this was discussed and revised.

Geoff Milne noted that the meeting direct the executive to follow up the possibility of our using the whole Pram Factory for rehearsal and storage as well as a performance space and negotiate with lessee, John Timlin and Dot Thompson.

Architect, Denis Carter will present preliminary designs for the modular seating to be paid for with the interim finance some $3,000.00.

Tony Rooke introduced as technical director - a graduate of NIDA, trained carpenter and dancer and is experienced in leading drama workshops.


14/2/72 Timlin new member. Max Gillies outlined how the APG was to work.


How will it work? the discussion centred around the permanent group idea. questions: Are we setting up a professional group which may be hard to manage? We should think of people rather than functions, future employees should first be members of the group and not people who are employed to fill functions in what maybe artificially created needs- Wilfred


[Perhaps this is what they should have remembered when they created the ensemble in 1980. SI]


Who makes artistic policies? Why do we need the permanent group at all? The answer to that question may help us see what we are about.

Margaret Williams:- the danger with a small group is that a style may be chosen to the exclusion of others.

'Betty Can Jump' is extended. What can follow the education plays?




Carrillo Gantner suggests that the ACA would fund $5,000 to set up a production for TV. Motion that the APG delegate responsibility to the executive to make decision re: hiring people to fulfil functions which cannot be done on a part time basis.



Discussions include helping Moss Cass in the coming election. Offers of street theatre etc, Lake Pedder discussion. Jude Kuring, NA, Vick Marsh elect to go down there.

Graeme Blundell mentions Lindsay Smith who is in California and wants to come back and work with us. He needs help with fares from ACA or APG. discussion



Exec Mtg 3.3.72

Who does what? Rod Moore = Treasurer/ gen manager /available for acting once this is under control.

Garrie Hutchinson= PR/ publicity /office manager/ newsletter, not an actor.

Kerry Dwyer = actress and director (not available at the moment-baby Nellie!) can carry work load away from Pram after her baby is born.

Graeme Blundell = actor/ director/ thinker up of projects- should spend some time away from the office on a think spree.


Internal Bulletin

Workshops- a need for trained teachers. 

Stage manager /production manager needed? yes

Seating being checked out.

Rehearsal space needed.

Creche: most important a service for APG and possibly audience. Jack Hibberd to investigate. An idea that needs some more discussion, a policy of birth control for the APG, Max Gillies suggested compulsory contraception. This is not expected to go over too well at the next meeting of the Collective.


Exec Mtg 19/3/ 72

Everyone was there except for Kerry Dwyer 'who was incarcerated following the birth of a daughter, both mother and doing well'. (sic)


Fulltime employees are Rod Moore, Garrie Hutchinson, Kerry Dwyer, Graeme Blundell, Tony Rooke, Vic Marsh, Yvonne Marini, Evelyn Krape, Peter Cummins, Laurel Frank.


Item 7: Garrie Hutchinson has been summoned re National service non- compliance. Court on Tuesday 28th. Demonstration planned.

Bob Thorneycroft becomes a member.


21/3/1972 Internal Bulletin

Jude Kuring and Vic Marsh represented the APG at the beginning of a continuous vigil at Lake Pedder. They performed street theatre in Salamanca Square on a Saturday morning -(probably Tasmania's first taste of street theatre).



ACA cheque arrived today $12,000.


Collective Meeting(CM) 8/5/72 part one.

Jack Hibberd's resignation accepted with regret.

Letter from M. Williams resigning accepted.

(SEE PHOTOCOPY-APPENDIX Hibberd letter and Williams letter)


Discussion on the APG REVUE

The revue was poor theatre.

The revue was projected a long time ago and was given to Graeme Blundell to direct soon after his return. No preparation for it. Work began and was hampered by lack of script and irregular attendances at workshops. There came a point when the group had to decide what to do and it decided to go ahead and stage the show. The decision may have been a poor one and may have been influenced by the need to keep earning money to support the present company. Graeme, Vic Marsh  and Yvonne Marini referred to the difficulties of working in a limited time if you do not start with a script but with an idea which not only has to be staged but also conceived of and written.

Collaborative shows take more time than scripted plays.

If writers are to work with the group then it seems they must be part of the group from the start and not fed in at some advanced stage of work.

Be clear about what part the writer plays in collaboration.

The political revue was weakened by not having a central idea that writers could work on.

We need to have better forms in mind- the revue form is very limiting.



Evelyn said the revue highlighted the lack of writing for women. Bruce Spence said standard of performance was paramount. Garrie Hutchinson said the audience is only from part of our society.

Wilfred Last - we are popular with a group of middleclass philistines who are brought here by our programmes and PR.


[from '72 onwards there was always talk of creating a full time group. It never happened until the demise '79-198.SI]0


APG General Mtg 8.5.72 cont

Proposals put to establish:

-workshops & actor training

-readings, seminars, journal, newsletter, internal bulletin

-the projected TV show

-Community services(children theatre etc)

-public performances

People were to be elected to report on these activities and find balance and flexibility between them.

Also there was discussion on the relation of the following sections of a theatre collective to the others (sic)

-The women

-the writers

-the directors.


CM 15.5.72

People present, for the record were :

Rod Moore, Peter Cummins, Des Fitzgerald, Mickey Allen, Bruce Spence, John Timlin, Graeme Blundell, Kerry Dwyer, Bill Hannan, Vic Marsh, Claire Dobbin, Tony Taylor, Bob Thorneycroft, Yvonne Marini, Laurel Frank, Wilfred Last, John Smythe, Lindy Davies, David Williamson, Lorna Hannan, Max Gillies, Evelyn Krape. apol. Lorraine and Geoff Milne, Barry Oakley, Dick Dufty, Peter Green.


Yvonne was being paid $20/week as a retainer. Jude Kuring not registered as being present) requested the Exec to be paid for wages lost during the rehearsal time for Education play to bring her wages up to people in full time employment at APG.

People were elected to fill the roles suggested at last meeting.

Jude's wage equalled staff- $60/week.

Standing committee addresses are interesting- the demographic is Fitzroy, Carlton, Nth. Carlton, Parkville, Nth Melb, Nth Fitzroy, and Jude, although at Cardigan St. also listed at Jigsaw Factory, Richmond.



Mov'd that Sue Brady (Ingleton) and Peter Green as assoc. members be given full voting rights. carried


CM 10/7/72

David Williamson returning officer for election of executive August.

workshops are up and running:

Movt- Bob Thorneycroft, naturalistic acting -George Whaley, Tai Chi-Laurel Frank.

Play reading: 'Dimboola' a suggested production later this year.

It moved that actors be paid equity rates.

Directors contracted for a play to negotiate fees with exec.

Royalties to playwrights for full scripted play 8% of gross except for limited performance possible then the fee was to be neg. In Group developed plays writer got 4%

The director of any play may, if he (sic) wishes may employ a director's asst....

All people involved in light, sound and musicians to be paid $5/performance and rehearsal call.. Original- music neg fee.

Ticket price raised to $2.00


12/7/72 or 3

Garrie Hutchinson leaving on Aug 2

CM 7/8/72

Same members plus Sue Brady (Ingleton), Carol Whitford, David Williamson, Garrie Hutchinson, Barry Oakley. observers listed as Carmen Lawrence, Dianna Last, Nellie Blundell, Jenny Walsh.

At this meeting Timlin is appointed Administrator for 9 months. Phillip Wallis is appointed theatre manager (he later declined to take up the offer-5/9/72).

The new executive was Chair :Max Gillies Sec: Carol Whitford(non voting) Treasurer : Des Fitzgerald. Admin: Timlin . Members: Mickey Allen, Lorna Hannan, Graeme Blundell, John Smythe, Tony Rooke.


CM 25/8/72

Des Fitzgerald (Treasurer) resigns from executive Max proposes the office be abolished and constitution amended. Passed.

(the constitution sits in this box and file in LaTrobe Library.SI)



first notice



2 mtgs convened to discuss



-whether they should form a permanent ensemble group.

-Can the brand of theatre be defined, programming, principles?



open ended.

Nov. 1972 newsletter

Appeal. Appealing for donations made to Elizabethan Theatre Trust on APG behalf. Also Timlin writes eloquently on Gerald Mayhead, a lousy reviewer from the Herald. Also figures there quote 72 received first subsidy from ACA $12,000. plus other bits that came in for 'Brumby Innes', 'The Tempest' and schools projects $20,500. Funding@ about 80cents /head of audience for the year.


An ideological consideration contracting our own actors show by show gives them little opportunity to develop and control their own style of theatre and thus works against one of the major aims of the APG .. (There is) no time and energy (to give) to the laboratory work necessary in any theatre company, and crucial to a group dedicated to developing a new and local form of theatre. Outside work will continually reduce the effectiveness of the time available to the whole group… we have resolved to establish for 1973 a full time group of at least six people at any given time. These people will provide one third of the years program as well as contribute to other activities (at least 2/3 of the year as production/performer)



Est expenditure 1973

(Very interesting to note that actors, directors, stage managers, lighting etc were not paid.SI)

The theatre/production manager got $60/week and was always there.

Set construction always there- got $36/week

Fees for lighting design $15. Original music$50 + royalties

cleaning, weekly wage $7. Box office, weekly wage $12.50

It was proposed that in 1973 salaries and fees would be thus;

Theatre manager and production managers -$70/weekly

actors /directors $60/week. Lighting op $30/. Sound Op $30/week. Props and Costume/production $40/week. Design of set posters etc fee $70/Production. Lighting design fee $50, Music the same.


By the end of '72 9 productions staged and day tours in schools. Productions were mounted every 5 weeks.

Actors Equity was knocking on the door demanding proper wages. Also the Theatrical Employees association.

The Administrator went from $67 to $100/week .Asst Admin from $24 to $70 and Secretary from $68 to $65!



January 1973 APG NEWS

‘Beware of Imitations’- next show

1973 Grant of $18,000.00 was less than half of what they applied for.



 next mtg



Jack Hibberd has accepted our invitation to rejoin.

Exec decisions:

Producer's responsibilities.

Co-ordinates all aspects of a show through the administration. Budget, casting according to APG principles, contracts for actors and others, organises technical areas according to APG principles. Opening dates and rehearsal schedules. Organises spaces: cleaning roster, bump in etc.

Commissioning of works from APG writers is high on the list. The fixed fee mooted was $570.00 against royalties based on what an actor would receive for 5 weeks performance and 5 weeks rehearsal.



present Jan & Martin Freidel, Spence, Jenny Walsh, Charles Kemp, Fay Mokotow, Micky Allen, Ian McKenzie, Tim Robertson, Peter Cummins, Soosie Adshead, Yvonne Marini,  Wilfred & Dianna  Last, Evelyn Krape, Barry Oakley, John Smythe, Lorraine Milne, Sue Brady(Ingleton), Ros De Winter, Eileen Chapman, Claire Dobbin, Lindy Davies, Max Gillies, John Timlin, Jack Hibberd, David Williamson.


Rental of Tower. The Tower became available for lease.

Ian: moved that we take the Tower Area for $55/week

Spence: opposed the lease.

We would have to wait another 3 years before it arose again.

Micky: storage space rehearsal office.

Sue B: we could sublet it until needed.


The need to have a committee to deal with film & TV.


MTC approaches us to see if we would like to nominate a member who would be interested in attending speech education classes with Rowena Balos who is arriving from America shortly. Being brought out by ACA. After much discussion it was decided that we contact them to find out exactly what this course would entail and what was being taught, and that members interested draft a submission on why they are interested and what they would hope to accomplish for themselves and the group. People interested were Ev, Max, Jan. 


Uproar over programming

Hibberd moves a programming committee be formed to present possibilities for the next 3 months to the exec.



R Murphet requests space for his drama students at Rusden to perform ‘Orestes’ in November ‘73


30/11 /73 main a/c OD $2,586.76

Agency Trust a/c  $598.96 credit

subscription a/c OD $87.50

Takings from 'Panto' and 'Orestes' bring it to $813.00 OD but creditors are owed $4,200.00 and we are owed $2,500.00 therefore a total deficit of $2,513.00. The promise of Fed. Arts grant of $50,000.00- letter to be signed by Prime Minister awaiting.



John Timlin suggests purchasing the electric typewriter and adding machine that we now hire- cost $225.00



1974 budget for an Ionesco play did it happen?? expenditure

 av audience 40/nite

15 adult @$3.00 -20 tert. @$2.00-5 G @2.50

27 performances @$97.50=$2,632.50

the budget came in at $3,040. Sue Ingleton's salary was $40/week (5) Susy Potter and Rob Meldrum were $90/week x 5


1/1/74 extraordinary general meeting

Notice to members began with a quote from Mao “Once a mistake is made, we should correct it, and the more quickly and thoroughly the better.”

[March 18th? General Mtg allowed members to be voted in without the 80% members present. They were asked to re-present themselves.]


Jan 1974 Newsletter- Romeril's bits

He's been away and comes back to find that the MTC are now going gung ho for Australian plays, also St Martins- ho hum.

‘significant steps must be taken to woo and keep writers. Alex (Buzo)  has shown himself prepared to let us have the gems that MTC doesn't want. You never know. The Chinese made quite a good living at that sort of thing.. It’s not far fetched to see the Pram Factory as a machine we service. It opens five or six nights for the bulk of the year and changes its fare every four or five weeks. It's a moderate, middle range playhouse seating 150. Fare offered usually new, always Australian and as professional as we can make it. It's a poor theatre, a rough theatre, and in constant danger of collapsing. Yet it survives by feeding on us- and we feed, almost never quite enough, on it. … One of our most criminal failures has been the failure to collect, collate and perfect the stylistic discoveries we have made from time to time'.

Romeril denounces the fact that there are texts! and offers himself up, body and soul to write for the Collective-plays, revues, street theatre- anything and everything. He suggests a retainer fee of $30/week for the year then he suggests it will not solve the problem. The problem lies in the programming. Lack of programming initiatives and momentum- a sorry thing.

 ‘And those faults are the Collective's. No one else’s. We have not been driven into inertia by Arts Council connivance, political oppression, public indifference and ignorance, or any of the grand inhibitors.  Only our feeble minded, cunningless, unguerilla selves.'


CM 21/1/74

Greig Pickhaver, Joe Bolza and Lindzee Smith Full members 

FM Broadcasting submission drawn up by Wilfred and Greig Pickhaver to submit to govt. Inquiry into FM Broadcasting. FM radio committee be given the full support of the collective.

Arthur Hynes replaces Greig Pickhaver as theatre manager.  'Panto' loses $7,300.00 spectacles of this sort should be minimised!


CM agenda 18/3/74

Lapsed members include Graeme Blundell, Lindy Davies, David Williamson

usual pleas: lock on phone/ lock on doors/ FOH hygeine /flea market behind in rent.


CM 20/5/74

New Full members include Jane Clifton, Rob Meldrum, Carol Porter, Arthur Hynes, Jon Hawkes, Phil Molan, Kris Wilkinson

Assoc memb. Ursula Long(Harrison), Vosje Leith and Peter Corrigan

Back Theatre described as a bomb. Limited audience capacity as the loss of life should be least when it does go.

Exec report on security: Hynes stated that locking doors simply promoted violence against them.

Greig and Arthur have taken evasive action with caches of tools etc. Robbery, theft, vandalism and irresponsibility is augmenting to an alarming and bewildering degree. Security is appalling




Suzy Potter elected Full member

Trouble with APG agency


CM 19/8/74

Corrigan full member. Lapses Lorraine Milne, Geoff Milne and Rod Moore.


CM 14/9/74

An interesting meeting in which the membership of Peter Corrigan was highly debated. He was eventually brought into the meeting to defend his beliefs and submit to questions by the members. Tension all around. 'Floating World' called in as proving him a difficult person to work with- It's suggested he doesn't know how the group works [did anyone? SI] and his loyalty to APG principles. This produced soul searching among members about criteria and admittance procedures. He was questioned about his attitude to self-management and flexibility in roles. He spoke of his admiration for the group.

Carol Porter recorded a positive vote for him and left the mtg.

Romeril says Corrigan is a combative person and should probably behave more morally towards everyone else. He was voted in. count:20/3

Then discussion of the grant received and application to Arts Council. A lot of soul searching about grants from Liberals or Labours.

Lindzee: we’re really into a capitalist growth thing that we could abandon…

Cummins: we can’t practice politics out there and not compromise what we do in theatre.

Michael Price: if the Libs got into power you'd still take money from them.


5/10/ 74

The Health Dept. had yet to approve the Back Theatre for performances. Front Theatre was approved despite the fact that some things were not done.


14/11/74 alternative Saturday morning budget meeting

Much discussion about other ways of raising money including the establishment of a cafe in the Flea Market

(but who'd drink coffee there when they had Tamani's up the road?)

Also the same old questions keep coming back in to any group discussion!!!


Individual and group frustration towards our attitudes to structure. Are we obsessed with it at the expense of other issues and ideas? structure is the servant not the enemy.

Are we pluralistic? How do we cope with contradictory tendencies within the group other then by avoiding them?

How do we (want to) understand each other? If we knew each other better would we keep meeting like this?

How can we learn to trust each other?



Lindy Davies acknowledges her lapsed membership. Peter Cummins tenders his resignation. Robin Laurie full member.

Timlin puts first proposal on changing to a Co-operative Society.

He points out that as it stands he is in a strange position of trustee, should the group financially founder he would cop the lot and conversely should he enter into any contract by himself he could bind the group. He also requests a grant or loan to revivify his appearance in the form of a new suit. (having been accused of looking like an academic from Brisbane)



Loss declared of $8,000.00 -better than last year, which was $13,000.00.

 Bank overdrafts on the basis of State Govt funding of $10,000.00 which is coming

New Full members Neil Giles, Bert Deling.


Exec meeting  21/12/1974

received a cheque for emergency grant from the Vic Ministry of Arts $10,000.00


Exec meeting 28.12/74

state that ACA requested auditors letter.



CM 4/1/75

People putting up posters have been busted! 'Bedfellows'.


CM 20/1/75

Ursula Harrison, Sigrid von Borke, Helen Clemson voted in as Full members


Constitution of the Australian (Pram Factory) Performing Group 20.1.75

2.Objectives performance, encouragement and promotion of drama, music, art, literature, the promotion and representation as agents for artistes and others, film production and exhibition and other such cultural activities in the community

3.The group shall have no affiliation with any political or religious group or organisation

4. The group shall be organised and operated according to the principles of participatory democracy and shall not be operated for profit.

5. There shall be a general meeting convened by the chairperson at 6pm on the third Monday or each calendar month at which the ordinary business of the group shall be conducted.

6.Two classes of membership. Associate and Full.

Any person participating in activities shall immediately become an assoc member.

 4 months continuous involvement can be nominated for Full.

 Every six months a new executive consisting Chair and five  Full members.

Every 12 months the Chair retires and new executive elected.

Full membership will automatically elapse if:

4 consecutive meetings are missed.

Member not involved for a period of 9 months determined by the executive.

Right of appeal

Lapsed members were considered liable for debts up to 6 months.


CM 29/1/75

WTG (Womens Theatre Group) request an office space in the Tower $10 week rent.

Arthur Hynes wants $400 to get permanent wiring for Front Theatre.


CM 8/2/75

Vic. Govt. grant was $50,000 now this year it’s $35,000. Timlin to talk to Margot Hilton as it’s not acceptable.


Motion that Timlin, Max, Bill G and Claire register the business name of APG.


CM 22/2/75

Vic Gov grant of $35,000 arrived this week.

A new ticket box will be built by Kris Wilkinson and Ursula Harrison bottom of small stairs on Drummond St.


CM 5/3/75

$1000.00 worth of lighting purchased.


CM 17/3/75

Rowena Balos again. MTC say only 4 people submitted their names for proposed classes to be held in July’75.

Timlin and Molan working on the eco- Society to change our registration “to equalise guilt and debt if and when failure occurs.”


Exec Mtg  22/3/75

Bruce Spence resigns. Exc. does not want to accept it. Bob Thorneycroft proposed that they accept but a letter be written explaining their reluctance. Fay 2nd then Bruce came into meeting and insisted that his resignation be accepted. Max wanted their support for Bruce noted.


CM 5/4/75

Interest in the Battery Building(Nth Carlton) becoming another space. Graeme Brady (Sue Ingleton's husband) offers to design a new theatre.


CM 12/4/75

Jono Hawkes, Robin Laurie and Linzee Smith's membership lapses.

Rent of tower is $300/month in '75

WTG offer to pay $150.00 .month



Again the permanent company is being looked at with Fay Mokotow giving a financial breakdown.

Talk about getting another building. Sue Ingleton pointed out that there was a 50% chance that we'd have to leave the Pram. David Beauchamp. assoc members having a meeting to look at proposals. Again the Battery House(Nth Carlton) mentioned. Corrigan doubtful- $200,000.00 to fix it up.



Lit board grant of $5,000. for 3 writers and $3,000 comm for a play.


CM 9/5/75

Notice given to Flea Market to vacate in October

Permanent company report.

Why aren't we getting bigger audiences?


APG women's meetings. Lorna Hannan reports.

children and their place in the PF:

-what should be the relationship of children to the collective.

-many women have difficulty expressing themselves in mtgs.

-there are about 20 children related to the Pram.

-show to show basis of child minding?

-child care is the basic right of the employed.

-Day and night care needed.

-Looking after children should be regarded as part of our work.

Further discussion of Collective meetings and their manners brought forward the following:

-big meetings don't help the problem.

-politicking and  styles of communication creates problems but the other side is personal politics and the tyranny of structurelessness.

-space and seating arrangement affect quality.

-do the forms offer democratic protection or the means of intimidation by those who most skilfully use them?

-meetings degenerate into games playing.

-people with soft voices are not heard.

-meeting momentum develops and steers the madness.

-drunkenness...aggressiveness... and organic silence.



Tom Leed (Reed/) sells the Lynch Family bells. He runs the Flea Market

The marimba Resonator $400.



Offer to Percy Grainger Museum to take the purchase of Lynch Family Bells off us and we recoup $1,000 . Jon Hawkes and Robin Laurie are back from OS



ACA Drama Board give WTG $4,000. (International Womens Year)



Bert Deling's membership lapses

Wall bricked up-on orders of Trustees. (Between Tower residence and Theatre.)



Again Graeme Brady offers his service to redesign the whole building.



Claire agrees to repay Phil Noyce $20 from the May Day concert.


CM 16/6/75

Hills Family asked to do a charity night with the Age supporting them, for the Minus Children Appeal. Motion put 'That the Age be approached with regard to making explicit our opinion that charity is inadequate to solve social ills. That the charity night be conditional on the acceptance of this”

Greig was suspicious: Is there some deal?

Evelyn: No deal

Bill: that's what charity is all about

Tony: be consistent -reject all charity nights, and concentrate on using our craft to attack “charity’ and the system of which it is a part..

the motion was defeated.


Programming is down and suggestions were called for -one of these came from Ev and Tony- a night of nostalgia in the Back Theatre (this was to become 'Back to Bourke St.'SI)

Should we take shows out to Alexander Theatre etc.? Vic. country tours the Vic. Min. offered the allure of an extra $15,000. if we do this.

Decentralise activities? Promote cellular structure and get away from the linear succession of Front Theatre performances?

Corrigan: This discussion is random- seat of the pants stuff. No principles. Beware of the John Sumner syndrome.

Jack: our grant is generous. Our arts reps credibility is at stake if we have a large deficit.


Buying the building? unanimous support for this idea. It's mooted that the State govt has the funds from Min of Tourism & Recreation (has one and quarter million to spend before the next budget otherwise it goes back to revenue) plus Theatre Board support. Two architects offer plans; Graeme Brady and Peter Corrigan. Our lease runs out October '76. Present landlord fairly sympathetic.

The motives and commitment to Pram of those who offered their services should be questioned (!)

Larry Meltzer and the 'Beware' Film project budgets of $100K 16 mm or $270K 35mm

finance: in order to keep the theatre running and 40 people on $100/week each for the next 30 weeks 1/6/75-31/12/75 we have to raise $69K over and above our grant income


CM 30/6/75 extraordinary coll mtg

Programming meetings generally felt to be the centre of the group's life where problems of collective involvement and nature of work are focussed.



Child care discussion. (It was here that Greig walked out). Exec report on child care in 'The Mother' married women with kids cannot fit into our timetable. It was suggested that women with responsibilities to children should not work with people who were more 'available’ but this would perpetrate a social division based on false and sexist understanding of what freedom to work means. It's not ‘too bad’ to be a mother.


17/9- 20/10/75

New Tilleys Space (Rathdowne St.) ready to go at rental of $37/week.

Mark Furnaux Mime workshops cont. til end of next week, 22 October.


Ensemble report here.

12 interested but all thought the limit should be 8 or even fewer. Starting in Nov. maybe and taking Mark Furnaux workshops as forum for preliminary work. This idea broke down as some people were not prepared to go with the workshops

Would the ensemble have isolation from collective? as well as own admin? methods of working experimental, material? classics are mooted eg Peer Gynt  5 women 4 men- there is a need for roles for women..



WTG moving out soon. Space to go to Tower as a communal sitting room.


CM 20/10/75

Kelvin Gedye due for membership. Lindzee says the growth of the group is a problem to its policy and style of work. Smoking issues.

Jono asks audience not to smoke before the show. Smoking be restricted to foyer during the Hills show.


Exec Mtg 22/10-12/11 75

Finance: Timlin was found to have been paid twice for agency fees and had to pay back $1,350. Due to irregularity of agency payments, He said he had no idea that he was overpaid.  He will repay the money and will negotiate terms when he knows more clearly how his own finances stand.

From this the exec mtg :

-set  up an Interim Finance comm. (Lucy Lunati, Fay Mokotow, Lorna, Jono)

-directed daily banking and regular weekly payment of agency money.

-will scrutinize Main account and Agency ledgers regularly.

At present Lucy Lunati, our bookkeeper, attends to daily banking, posting of cash books, payment of wages and creditors, petty cash and normal bookkeeping and accounting duties. The preparation of 6 month profit and loss statements are done by E.J.Hall &Co who are also our auditors. The exec wants both these functions to occur on the premises. Books being out of the office for so long causes major problems. The exec. need another person to consider the wider aspects of finances eg. film & tv and entrepreneurial activities. It was suggested that they advertise for this person. Lucy said she could not do this job and her position is guaranteed until Xmas.


Programming comm.. report:

 says the notion of long term programming is unworkable due to structural changes within the group.

At this time we have 'Hills' bookings down but country tour planned for '76

'Holden Show' starts in Back Theatre 25 Nov for 3 weeks. 6 shows/week 6 late shows.

'Third Rater' starts Dec 5 Front Theatre.

Kids Show mtgs. Wed arvos. $200 budget for props and costumes Tony and Bill on it

'Night with the Right' urgent mtg needed to establish state of the project. Its direction is very much affected by current political events.


Puppets grant of $5000.00 approved.

Sunshine $50 fee. sat arvo session.


Supper shows. There have been regular supper shows. The organisation of 3 Coll members a night/ soundproofing and finishing times has been working well. The capacity of FT is 170. This must be adhered to. The floor is not adequately welded below to take more. Theatre Management Comm. is examining the welding with a view to strengthening it.


Community Theatre: Evelyn takes over from Lindzee. request for 4 performances at Richmond Comm. Festival 29 Nov-6 Dec. We seem to have great difficulty in getting these things together. The WTG covered for the APG at the Migrant Workers Conf.

2 meetings so far to discuss APG action / strategy and tactics in bloodless coup- (The Dismissal,Whitlam etc.)


Theatre Management report

etc Tilley Space now operative and painted. Puppets have been moved down there. Phone installation will cost  $150 include 6 months rent- do we need one?

Toilets repaired by trustees.


[At this meeting there is policy statement which is the first outline of what was to become Circus Oz . It is put by Jon Hawkes SI].

'The formation of a production unit concerned with country touring.

AIM in 12 months time the APG will have a show ready to go on an indefinite country tour. It includes:

workshops in juggling/ acrobatics/ clowning/ tightrope walking/ bush band /use of brass and skills useful in the development of a travelling political circus

Material: A large tent/ portable seating and staging/ lights etc./ transport

Finance: approach Vic Min and dept of Sport Rec & Tourism. Interstate finance?

As workshops continue the core personnel will evolve. 'my personal preferences in terms of what sort of shape the show should take are obvious from the workshops outlined above- what is missing is political analysis. I believe the show should contain a satirical, humourous and radical view of contemporary events; I see this as emerging as people come together'.


CM 15/11/75

Concern over govt. support as the Whitlam era looks like disintegrating.

60%govt subsidy. Claire: there's 80% unemployment in the industry.

Motions passed committing the APG to full on support of the re-election of the Labour govt.

'..we fight against the return of the Liberal National Country Party coalition govts in the theatre, the street and the home'.


Prog Mtg 8/12/75

Rob Meldrum proposes a program of voice work leading to ensemble (5/6 women) production for April'76 {Stasis begins} 3 weeks workshop and five weeks rehearsal, seven weeks performance.

Feb2-23 Feb 23-March 29, March31-May23

Original project  cast list : Rob Meldrum, Sue Ingleton, Ros DeWinter, Yvonne Marini, Susy Potter, Kerry Dwyer ,Jane Clifton, Jenny Walsh- writer.


CM 22/12/75

present Tony Taylor, Bill Garner, Naomi Underwood, Ros de Winter, JohnTimlin, Jon Hawkes, Bill Hannan, Lorna Hannan, Peter Green, Carol Porter, Joe Bolza, Alan Robertson, Laurel Frank, Hellen Sky,  Claire Dobbin, Robin Laurie, Susy Potter, Ursula Harrison, Jane Clifton, Rob Meldrum, Sue Ingleton, Eileen Chapman, Greig Pickhaver, Evelyn Krape, Larry Melzer, Michael Price, Lindzee Smith, Neil Giles, Peter Corrigan, Jack Hibberd, Phil Molan, Helen Clemson, Kelvin Gedye, Ponch Hawkes, Bob Thorneycroft, Graeme Isaacs, John Ley, Michele Johnson.

Apol: Max Gillies. Observer: Peter Keenan (applicant for accountancy job).


Finance: next years grants applied for Vic Min:$60K got= $50K ACA: $135K got =$117K

Based on 6x6 week season FT  + 4x2 half week season BT

election of production units

Comm Theatre: Bill Hannan.

Radio: Bill Garner.

Film /tv :Max Gillies.

Theatre Prog:Tony Taylor, Paul Hampton, Jack Hibberd,  John Romeril (were they there, Paul & Romeril?)


CoOperative Society to be formed.


Agency report: A broadsheet for next year- see Felix at Globe Press.

Exec report: Bank acc transferred to Commonwealth from Bank of NSW

'Golden Holden' to end Jan 25 .'How High was My Noon' 26 Jan-21 Feb

'My Foot My Tutor' 23 Feb-14 March 'A Toast To Melba'.. 'Voice Ensemble'(to become Stasis) 31 Mar-May 23.

Co-op society rules:

The society is a group of shareholders whose liability is restricted to their share holding (which cannot be more than $4.00)




CM 19/1/76

The puppets appeared with Skyhooks and were paid $150.00

Kelvin reports that video equip will be stored here instead of at the Carlton Film CoOp

Discussion on the Programming Comm. lead to a motion being put that the programming comm is given responsibility for theatre programming. Moved Max. 2nd. Timlin. It was Lost.

next/ all matters relevant to programming be discussed at Coll prog. meetings not at Coll. Mtgs. and all matters dealing with programming will be the responsibility of the theatre program production unit /passed


CM 29/1/76

The Back Theatre will be dark after the 'Voice Project' (Stasis) in May.

Lindzee wants to set up a BT task force: enacted readings of plays in the script cupboard of well known but never done English and American scripts, actor/performance work, actor sparring, theatre games, exercises, a resource centre for new ideas and to make the BT work more regularly.


Robin Laurie reports that 'Golden Holden' originally 3-4 night supper show became a 6 nite season then moved to Front Theatre after Nov 11th & Whitlam's dismissal.

She talks about the actors being told to develop their characters then she discusses the Role of director. (Lindzee, she says, was reluctant to take full control and demand a style).


At the beginning I don’t think we even contemplated the role of the director as someone who communicates a sense of the style of a play to the actors. At one level, especially during the first phases or training the director acts as the neophyte performers parent. Through the director's guidance, and by submitting to the exercises the director offers, the performer begins to find him/herself. The performer also finds an enemy: the director. And ultimately a crisis is faced for both director and performer. A small family is created by workshop, and the struggles and rebellions characteristic of family life are not foreign to life in a group theatre... if the parental crisis is faced and surpassed, the group enters a new phase which succeeds the child-us-parent model, that of ALL Brothers/ Sisters together. This is a heady, delicious, brief moment in the group’s life cycle. It is utopian in ambitions, revolutionary in spirit, celebratory in mood and comradely in work ... It is the famous “leaderless group”.

In my experience this group of Comrades is short lived because the wish to do something does not equal the ability to do something. and in the contradiction between what a person wants to do and what a person does arises new bitterness and ultimately a new hierarchy. what kind of hierarchy? is the decisive question. The group can become reactionary and restore the parent-child phase. Or it can move towards a version of Communism: from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs (R.Schechner)

She adds this: It's important to remember there are quantitive differences in experience (she and Paul were experiencing their first 6 night 6 week season).

The Theatre Progress Prod Unit has asked people to come and discuss the role of director in the APG, hopefully to evolve a common language to talk about our theatre, our politics and our lives.


extraordinary CM 9/2/76

The Collective was voted into becoming the Australian Performing Group (Pram Factory) Co-operative Society. Fay Mokotow elected chair. Other  directors: Max Gillies, Paul  Hampton, Robin Laurie, Lindzee Smith, Jack Hibberd, JohnTimlin.


CM 16/2/76

Rose Costello full member.

Lease runs out this year- increased rent next year would be a problem.

Supper Shows a problem -it was decided that a group approach doesn't work and each submission would be considered separately.


AN ODE TO CLEANING was presented by the Theatre Maintenance Group.

“the flush toilet is the basis of western civilisation" -Alan Coult

"our ideas are based on the Toilet Assumption- unwanted matter, difficulties, complexities and obstacles will disappear if they are removed from our immediate field of vision. Our approach to social problems is to decrease their visibility: out of sight out of mind.... prior to the widespread use of the flush toilet all humanity was daily confronted with the immediate reality of human waste and its disposal. Nothing miraculously vanished.” Philip Slater.

“Keep up with your shit" anonymous kitchen graffiti.

We have trouble keeping ourselves clean. If this tendency is allowed to continue unchecked it may well lead to disease, audience alienation, bureaucratic recrimination, general dilapidation and the plague. We presume we don't want to return to the days of hiring a menial to scrape up our droppings after us..

there follows a huge list of what is to be done and it included rules on stairs, foyers and toilets. rubbish went out Wed and Sunday. Clean Up After You was the dictum.


Radio report:

3CR studios still being outfitted but they should be broadcasting on a regular basis within 7 weeks.



Community theatre report  (this is the beginning of Circus Oz. SI)


CM 29/3/76

Hellen Sky full member. Robin Laurie elected Chair.

'A  Toast To Melba' going on in National Theatre.

attendances averages

 'Golden Holden' -62, 'Double Bill'-67. 'My Foot My Tutor'-31,in '75. 'The Mother' -73, 'Mary Shelley& the Monsters' -93, 'Bedfellows' -116, 'Hills Family Show' -165.

Comm theatre: Mick Conway assisting AMWU tour and Monash Uni engagement Timor Show/

They have done a basic course in Greek and are now onto Italian. standard of singing has risen, tumbling work successful, comedy workshops.


Auditor firm of Turner Martens and Allen appointed.


'Melba' goes on at National Theatre rent $2000/week =10%box office

'Pecking Orders' by Phil Motherwell to go on. Lindzee taken to hospital (haemolytic anaemia) Alan Robertson takes over. Phil Motherwell, Shuvus, Rod Burchill, Bill Garner and Neil Giles. Corrigan design.


CM 25/4/76

Cleaning roster not working. Cleaning to be seen as full time paid work for one person per week. Ticket sellers are also organised for each project.


Agency :The MTC Alternatives have been asking for APG actors. Discussion of the wisdom of APG actors appearing under the MTC banner?

The Agency broadsheet designed by Carol Porter and photos by Ponch Hawkes in Ian McKenzie's studio.

(They were done in the front theatre)


Casting for 'AC/DC' difficult. Lindzee asks if Gary Waddell is ever to be employed by the Collective? Gary spoke to the mtg. and it was considered that he should be allowed as a normal outsider and in no way debarred from working there.


Exec Mtg

'Mishka and Nomagava' is booked into BT 2-16 may.(Lindy Davies and Marg Cameron)

'Stasis' to close 25 April -av audience 13.5

'Pecking Orders'- audience 'sparse’-finishing May 9

'Melba' -av 275 to close May 8

budgets for 'Sisters' and' Ac/dc' approved.


CM 17/5/76

Discussion of limiting membership. Worries over salaries, bills. Two weeks ago we had 50 on salary altho we can only afford 37/week. If the group feels it is an appropriate size it could close membership.


Comm. Theatre report states that they want to establish “the Big Show” (to become Soapbox Circus then Circus Oz). 5 musos and 6 actors and a budget of $30K and $20K income.  Progress reports to be given to assess viability.


The ute was sold to Bayne Laurie for $10. The VW combi van has a new motor $395.

After the failure of 'Melba' to make a profit there is desperate pleas for programming to produce another 'Hills' type success. 'Light, witty entertainment and sensationalist popular advertising are elements of success'


CM 28/6/76

Jackie Kerin, Jack Weiner, John Koning members.


Grants to be in by July 1 to ACA.

Group overdrawn. Gave an overdraft of $13K after seeing evidence of cheques coming in but later in the year it will be much more difficult. Predicted deficit this year of $20-30K. A member of the group will have to guarantee the loan by mortgaging their property to the group.

Exec Report

Tilley space no longer rented to us -the puppets go to Laurel's home.

Have to pay for the extra 7000 programmes printed for 'Melba'


Christine Johnson is working on a film of the APG.

(what happened to this?)

APG expressed support for Melbourne Access Video  & media Co-operative Ltd.

Strike for Medibank?

John Timlin and Peter Keenan met with Vic and Fed Arts bodies they require statements from us on the effect of maintaining or reducing subsidy.

Cleaning is a half time job.

Recommended that the APG Agency be dissolved as a bad financial experiment.


CM 26/7/76

Appealing for money for an ad to support Medibank.

3CR(community radio) APG programs are broadcast on Sunday 12 and Tuesdays 8.15pm

Richard Murphet  full member  Bob Weis membership postponed.

Tim Robertson & Paul Hampton met with members of Liberal Party Arts Committee to discuss funding.

Tony Taylor leaving Melbourne for Sydney.

Agency report:

Screen tests for “The Sullivans” a pre-war family series were held for specific persons Max, Ev Krape, Tim, Neil Giles and Roz de Winter. Roz and Neil have gone.

work experience kids: include Sally Clifton from Princes Hill High School.

State Drama Camp at Portsea  Aug 23-27-has vacancies (Rob, Sue and Roz take it) [Amanda Muggleton was teaching dance at this camp.SI]


Coll. Programming mtg 29/7/76

Rob Meldrum Sue Ingleton & Roz de Winter propose 'Peer Gynt'. They were asked to present a new detailed budget and an intellectually muscular analysis of the thrust of the show.(!)

(oh the paranoia ,mainly from Jack Hibberd SI)

Garrie Hutchinson comes to propose 'Chidley' with Bruce Spence and Blundell,  be performed in Front Theatre,; discussion over past members etc.

-is this the beginning of a new theatre company?–Hibberd (it was in fact Hoopla. SI) We've helped Theatre Projects and WTG why not others? –Lindzee. Goodwill between us?-Jono Hawkes



Observer Bruce Knappet

Agency Broadsheet ready this week(!)


Exec report: Mobile Theatre Unit (Soapbox Circus) presented an extensive report of their activities for the first 6 months. Adelaide Festival Centre rejects their tour as too costly.

'Hills Family Show' at Bondi booked for 8 weeks, March -April


Prog mtg 26/8/ 76

How to raise money? Suggestions: Benefits called 'variety nights'. 'Hills' acts and Soapbox. Concerts- using ‘Stilleto’ at San Remo Ballroom or Cathedral Hall.

Raise tix price by 50 c.

Do our own supper shows.


CM 27/9/76

Bob Weis a Full member

APG Agency broadsheet being printed

Censure motion against Stasis for scheduling a rehearsal during a highly publicised Collective mtg!!! Moved Fay. 2nd Paul. PASSED

(perhaps they just couldn't stand one more lost night of self abuse! They were working SI)


Collective PROGRAMMING MTG 4/11/76

This whole report consists of a list of things we are not doing etc and things we should do.

-lack of post production analysis

-ad hoc isolationist work methods,

-not building on experiential

-lack of direction

-short rehearsal periods.

-try to develop more preparation before rehearsal,

-deeper engagement with material,

-open rehearsal


(this is what Stasis was developing all the time! SI)


CM 17/11/76

Some concern was expressed over the lack of communication between the Stasis 'Peer Gynt' group and the APG. The group is asked to present a budget next Wednesday. Stasis supper show 3/4 Dec. after Stretch? also rent for St Marks hall $10/week


CM 19/12/76

Alison Richards a Full member 

$126,000. received for 1977.

'Peer Gynt' deficit looks like $3,000-2,100 over budget.


Coll Pro 23/12/76

Post production on Stasis’ 'Peer Gynt':

av audience 25.8 number of shows 17 instead of 33. income $2,800 under budget overall deficit of $3,900.00


Grieg Pickhaver: He raised questions of group support and use of an outside venue. questioned ‘private nature of the work and also the context of the piece. Wondered how the general APG  audience can tap into work such as this. Queried content in terms of remaining within traditional sexual roles and whether the APG is interested in putting experimental energy into this form of work. Found the overall design and conception of the piece remarkably strong and consistent.

Rob Meldrum: New work cannot be expected to have immediate appeal it has to build its audience. The new venue made it more difficult to attract audiences and also the time of year was probably a bad one as their main audiences are schools and universities. The 'technique' is applicable to any production. The group developed useful methods of criticism and self-criticism during rehearsal

Jenny Kemp then talked about the process of the work and method. They see it as a long-term process.

There was general discussion around the above points.


[the next one to be discussed was Dudders:note the comparison of comments-SI]


Max talked of the unevenness of performance quality on different nights.

Alison Richards found the casting process a somewhat mystified one. Felt that they lack a general focus of work process(?)*(sic) that the show worked at all was a function of energy and determination. Lack of a sense of an ensemble and lack of discussions and exploration of style and different ways of approaching text, Variation in performance related to the lack of a sense of the ensemble.


[Everything 'lacking' here was achieved in Peer Gynt!SI]






CM 17.1.77

A large discussion on the Film Production Co. proposed by Timlin and Max. scripts (not developed ) were 'Bedfellows', 'Hills' and 'Dimboola'. Should we :Purchase a camera and do our own pilot - 8mm?

 Come up with a visual draft rather than a script? to present to AFC expenditure, training people? good for use in other actor based project.


Soapbox Sydney tour made a profit of $500.

Recording company want deals provided that Mick Conway sign a 3yr contract personal/or 3 yr deal lease deal with one album being a solo Mick album. 'the idea of soapbox doing a lease deal with a multi national company!’


Len Radic article AGE 1/177 Bill Garner replied


CM 10/2/77

Tix raised to : Full price. From $4 to $5.

8 week seasons for Front Theatre shows.

Stasis has received huge critical acclaim and considerable interest from teachers in '76 and have schools program for ‘77.


Prog 16/2/77

Rob Meldrum reports Stasis working every day on new show-at St. Marks [Antony & Cleopatra]


CM 28/2/77

A motion is passed regarding the new members that they clearly define the skills needed, that they advertise widely for that person and that assessment procedures are developed so that the Collective obtains the best possible results. Much discussion about this motion who determines the vacancy, who determines the talent, is the APG ACCESSIBLE TO other THEATRE WORKERS subsidy and public responsibility.

The Collective deplores commercial management for employing such actors as Douglas Fairbanks Jnr. and John Le Mesurier when Australians are available.

exec report for same mtg

Video tapes of 'Timor Show', 'Golden Holden' were sent to Cuba.

 'Sisters' was sent to Silverwater women's prison.

ticket prices for 1977:

Full$5, Group 20+ $4,Tertiary & blue collar $3, u/16 $2.50, pensioners $1.


CM 28/3/77

Programming Committee 21/3/77

Timlin: discussion about shows & performers needs to be brought out into the open-too much underground discussion.

That the group get funding to bring in an outside director/or writer to work with the group for one project in'78

Also funding for the training of a tech person at Strand Lighting.

Full Membership at this Coll Mtg. Caz Howard is refused until her performance ability is tested in workshops and maybe productions.

Stasis is discussed

Note: none of the Stasis members attended the Coll Mtg.

administrative breakdown- despite hard work the chances of making attendances budgeted are slim- very few schools are studying the play, 'Antony and Cleopatra'.

Timlin: The show should be postponed until attendances are proven.

Marg Clancy: How did the group come to work on this play?

Has Stasis too much autonomy- no detailed discussion of actual work before rehearsals started.

Jane Clifton: Stasis has not done the show it said it would- it has removed its accessibility and put it in jeopardy.

Peter Keenan: Prog.Comm. should have the task of deciding when a show should be stopped- as they have the power to OK one.

Robin Laurie: Prog Comm. should keep watch on the progress of shows, but decisions about ending shows should be a full collective decision.

Greig: Punitive measures perhaps for Stasis, but priorities necessary to decide which show should go off first.

Motion That the Stasis schools shows be cancelled moved: Peter Keenan. Seconded: Timlin. LOST

Motion 2

That Stasis projects for this year be suspended until such time as the group establishes to the Executive that it is a viable project in terms of the budget as originally submitted.

Moved Phil Molan. Sec. Paul Hampton. Carried.


IN the same mtg PHARLAP

'Pharlap' av 53/ week instead of budgeted 100. Will lead to $7,500 deficit.

Hills (return season) first week av 80, 2nd week 105 / budgeted 160. 'Pharlap' cost $1, income is $1,

Marg raised that the av attendance for equivalent shows last year was 51

'Pharlap' is an ‘ordinary money losing show’. [Then they hacked into Stasis SI]



Jack resigns ‘needs a psychological break, not based on conflicts, been involved in Carlton theatre for 10 years- group still gets first look at his plays.


CM 25/4/77

Exec report reinstates Stasis program on the basis that they adhere to the years budget. Stasis are all present at this meeting.

Timlin suggest that APG write to govt and suggest they buy the building. Westbrook thinks the govt. would look favourably at buying the building.

Shows in progress:

Pharlap av 47. 'Yesterdays News' starts Thursday

Soapbox seem to be having trouble getting enough work.

Stasis 32 bookings for touring show (thanks to Helen Clemson and Richard Murphet-on half salary getting bookings up).

Stasis Back Theatre show to be based on death scenes from Antony & Cleo, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet - syllabus & other material worked by the group.[This did not happen.It remained Antony and Cleopatra. SI]


Agency report: Jane Clifton suggests it close, the bulk of her work has been knocking back offers tactfully- APG people don't want to work outside the group and also the market is thin..



Robbery of $2,500.

Soapbox record will be launched 23/5/

'Domestic Contradictions' goes to air in June.

A letter to Margot Hilton (Vic Min) 20/5/77. Timlin lays it on the line concerning the signing of the leasehold to the trustees and the vicarious nature of the groups financial resources. The mention of Arts ‘funding to MTC $920,000 for additional premises (when they already had sufficient funds in reserve to single handedly go about the renovations of the Athenaeum). We have never had reserves nor  any opportunity to accumulate them”.


CM 20/6/77

New dimmer board ordered by Theatre Management $3,900.

Uranium budget increased to a $12,500 deficit. This means $2,000 is now unavailable to other projects.

Hills average attendance 170/nite.

Timlin signs the lease. No indemnity yet from Vic Min.

John Koning's tape deck stolen at a Friday supper show. responsibility shouldered by two groups , Uranium and Nightshift to pay each $2 to repair Michael's tape and give it to John.


Pinder doing a deal with Moomba to combine Soapbox and New Circus touring to start in December set up a company, everyone having a share.. CIRCUS OZ!!


CM 6/7/77

Should Stasis' 'Antony and Cleopatra' be cancelled? av tix price @2.50 budget @4. weekly wage bill $750. income $600. decide to cancel the next week- it ends July 24.


CM 17/8/77

'Stretch' is going well and the early show on Sunday also seems to be a successful move


CM 16/9/77

ANZ bank ad shoot. Shuvus, Paddy Waters, Peter Green, Paul Hampton, Harry Glen, Jesse Maddison, Mary Duggan, Marty Duggan (Halprin)

'Back to Bourke St' at Last Laugh wages-$2,000 /week for first 7 weeks then $1,500 for next 7 weeks. $121./week for rehearsal and $198./week less tax during performance.

Bob Adams of ACA said the APG would be getting $141,000. in 1978 an increase of 12% on last year but $19,000. less than requested.


Exec 21/9/77

1000 pounds sterling is placed in trust account of Ellison Hewison & Whitehead of London %00 for the rights to Threepenny Opera



request for performers at a Black Rights demonstration on the 22 Nov. Motion that the APG supports the ousting of the Fraser government and the right of youth to employment. passed.

Stasis applied to Arts Council for $10,000 for a 12 week rehearsal period for a show. to be admin by APG.(they didn't get it)

The meeting again discusses the need for changing from a CoOp to Company Limited by Guarantee.

The Co-op structure limits us in owning shares in companies. We cannot own shares in Pram Factory Productions and therefore cannot make profits out of film ventures. Max Gillies and John Timlin who presently own PFPL do not want the profits from 'Dimboola' but wish them to go to APG.

Peter Keenan to begin urgent research on changing.


EXEC: Soapbox Benefit to be held Collingwood Town hall 16/10/77

Should we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the APG in 1978 or the Pram in 1980?????



Office staff. Richard East employed for Soapbox PR

Charlie Aarons returning soon but not enough work for her. Someone to replace Fay next year. John Bryson part time for no pay, offered.


Shows 26/10/77

'Stretch' on tour as success

'Back to Bourke St' opens Thursday. at Last Laugh, Collingwood.


2/11/77 Exe


Fees for workshopping 'Dimboola' film script- fees for actors, director & script consultant for workshopping draft 293 hours @$5/hr =$1,465.

and for same on second draft 114hours =$570



9/11/77 exec

Adele Sharon quits the office job not enough money. An ad is placed on the noticeboard in the hope that someone qualified will apply.

Mary Duggan wants to do pr and work with project directors but refuses to type. Charlie Aarons from 28/11 to be employed



New lighting board requires another $1500 to rewire the building for 3 phase.


23/11/77 exec

Parking fines mounting up.

'Back to Bourke St' booked out.

'Smackinthedax' bookings fair . Not good reviews.

John Willett coming to Flinders Uni in’78 .We want him to come and assist with Threepenny Opera. $500 to help .


30/11/77 exe

$2,114.00 quote for three phase power rewiring.

Vic Arts has given $80,000.00 as requested for ‘78.

'Dimboola' film casting to begin and APG actors are being considered.

'Soapbox' are in Moomba and Adelaide seasons in partnership with New Circus. They plan to purchase new tent costing $13,000.


7/12/77 exec

combined exe and programming mtg.

Circus won’t buy a tent. Unsure about New Circus in the divide up of surplus and deficit from Adelaide and Moomba.

The '77 deficit including 'Smackinth dax' is estimate between $60,000-$70,000.


16/12/77 exec+programm

Talk of '78 program.  T.Taylor resigns from Prog Comm feels its wishy washy and disorganised.


Here's the talk of what should be done:

People’s availability after 'Back to Bourke St', 'Mad World My Masters', 'Dimboola' shooting.

'Ship's Whistle' is an oz play and people want that after 'Mad World'.

Fay wants Trevor Griffitth's 'Occupations' near May.

Kerry feels that Fassbinder is not appropiate to Pram Factory. 'The style is elitist European

 [She then directed 'The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant' Pram Factory in '78.SI]

'Threepenny Opera' (again!). Quotes on the HSV7 Teletheatre @$2,400/ week and Fay suggest bumping up the ticket price to $7.50  

Jono asks would this break even? 22 actors and 5 musicians! It would lose $1,500/week

Wilfred Last feels Stasis will put in an application for Front Theatre in July (They didn. SIt)


CM 19/12/77

Stasis refused funding by Arts C. Sue Ingleton outlined possible work in schools and artists in residence- Stasis get artists in residence at RMIT Sue & Rob work togehtere Roz and Jenny work together.This was the last event for stasis

Exec Mtg :

-'Mad World' to run 12-1-78,26-2-78

'Back to Bourke St' - a season at Nimrod downstairs is being negotiated by John Pinder. APG members are being screen tested for Dimboola.

 Joe Bolza resigns due to fulltime work at VCA

Soapbox reports that 'Smackinth' dax' will come in $1,900 under box office (due to cancelled performances).

Circus Oz: the Exc approved contracts with Moomba and Adelaide Soapbox/ New ensemble/ Matchbox/ Pinder partnership is ready to go for these two seasons.



exe: Bill Garner raised various criticisms of how decisions were reached with programming and funding. He suggested that no one group or person within the APG knew “what was on” at any one time. He also suggested that we are “heading in the direction of an hierarchical bureaucracy”. A lengthy discussion followed.





Jenny Kemp and Ros de Winter request for one or two weeks salary to continue work started in hospitals on Grimms fairytales.


11/1/78 exe

Paul Hampton resigned from Collective.


Rose Chong and Margot Lindsay have offered to look after all costumes in return for a fee of $300 and be able to hire them out if they're not needed. [This is the beginning of Rose Chong’s theatrical hire business.SI]


CM 16/1/78

Announcements. Soapbox would use the back theatre for the next two weeks to make the tent.

Fay asks do we need a full time accounting bookkeeping/typist?

Finalising casting Dimboola next week, shooting April.

Agency still unrun. People advised to get out and seek their own agency.. Places like the Last Laugh, Foibles and the Fly Trap are suggested venues for outside work.


Lit Board grant of $6,000.00 for 3 playwrights  3 scripts of which 2 must be produced.



Circus Oz. The Tent is being hand made in the basement. Coming in under budget /Most of the work is being done by the New Circus people. (Tim Coldwell, Sue Broadway etc)

Ursula Harrison is noted as getting archives up to date.


31/1/78 Prog mtg

Sue Ingleton says Stasis would like the theatre late in 78 ‘we are moving into humour’...!



John Bryson takes secretary role.

Last mtg. Paul Hampton resigned and the purge is mooted for those not attending mtgs.

The exc. sent letters to those members who have not attended 4 consecutive mtgs. some came to exec and explained their position.

 Marketing discussion included proposal of subscription audiences.


Prog Com 2/78 a special meeting of Jono, Timlin and Max Gillies. programming for Front Theatre  and the wider interest of the group's expansion. ‘we are in danger of having no more justification for our existence that that we already exist..’ they suggest we create a Front Theatre Programming Comm. They suggest a breakdown thus:

Circus Oz/Front Theatre prog/ film/other units (incl. Back Theatre / community/ outside venues/ schools)

Who are we trying to reach? everyone/ then why aren't we on television/ populist or popular/ many, many more.


CM 20/2/78

Peter Keenan letter of resignation rings alarm bells. He puts his finger uncomfortably on the sore spots, he queries the attitudes and tribalism to new members, audiences and the general public. Lack of being able to deal with criticism without personal attack or contempt. The loss of energy in the morass of meetings and decision makings that can be reversed at the next meeting simply because a relevant person may be absent. He suggested a new structure and opening to a public  fee-paying membership etc.



Stephen Cooney is replacing Tony Burkys in the Matchbox band.


John Graf new accountant.


8/3/78 exe

Sue Ingleton to get $145/week Back To Bourke St salary plus $30 week for child care.

Circus Oz going well in the day but bad at night.

Transfer of £700. sterling  to Ellison Hewison and Whitehead APG trust account for possible royalty payments include 'Threepenny Opera'.


March 20’78 Bill Garner writes a letter 'what is it the APG?'


3/4/78 Application to register a special resolution

'Programming' was replaced with 'Planning'

Planning committee to be elected of 5 members

this application to register was refused.


Annual General Meeting 3/4/78

A big turnout 38 members and assoc present

Panel beaters is coming vacant in a month and APG will take it over


John Graf becomes the accountant. John Pinder is publicity agent for Moomba and Adelaide season $1,000. Fee also on board for director of Circus Australia.

APG records a deficit of $5,000. on 'The Great Stumble Forward' record. It was written off as a project loss.

Entourage will handle the accounts of Matchbox when performing by itself. 35% of its gross goes to APG for equipment being used. The people's lounge is now the office of Pram Factory Films


CM 17/ 4 /'78

Includes the dilemma of accepting money from?? Ethically fraught questions of finance. 'At the moment the APG accepts without question $150,000. from the Fed Govt. A govt composed of the political lackeys of the multi-nationals and which represents the interests of the national capitalists and squattocracy. We accept $80,000. from the hands of Rupert Hamer and his govt of speculators and crooks.'

Circus Oz report to collective administration meeting. 'Utah offers funding but also is a multinational controlling Westinghouse, makers of nuclear energy ...'



'Pre-Paradise Sorry Now'. budget in confusion due to Richard Murphet in hospital.


The Panelbeaters is now in our possession.


4/5/78 Dimboola letter

 $350,000 was raised for the film:

VFC $120,000. NSWFC $75,000 Greater union $80,000 private investor $75,000


12/5/78 Letter to Bob Adams ACA.

Timlin says restructuring of APG plus enlarged premises -Austral auto repairs having gone- the Pram now uses the whole building increase of #360/month

Circus Australia set up as independent co.

cc to Ros Bower Community Arts at Victorian Ministry

17/5/78 exe

'Pre-Paradise' opens tomorrow night.



Edinburgh Fringe Festival- all committees to consider and decide what we put on the application to the Theatre Board

Hills/Stretch/Back to Bourke St?


1/6/78 Playwrights awards given to Barry Dickens (Foolshoe Hotel) and to Stephen Sewell. 'Dead Wood' [which was not produced but perhaps became Traitors?SI]

From June 7th Actors equity minimum is $149.50/week.



An interesting phone call from a Mr. John Garland (registry of Co- Operative society's) who was persistently trying to get typed copies of the resolutions for the registration, in a memo to John Bryson:

‘It doesn't matter how many By Laws we have but they are not to be in the Society's Rules because they don't want to get involved in our internal arguments.’


CM 17/7/78

From the wage rise of 10% the budget became tight.

Proposed trading deficit for '78 of $13, 500 if last year's trading surplus $12,250 is taken into account. If audiences do not match up to budget we may have to drop a show at the end of the year.

Circus on tour to schools and get a Community Arts Board fund of $12,000 to enable them to fund raise $50,000 from community sources.

Late shows approved.- Robin Archer- 4/5 August, Whittle Family 28, 19 July?

Front Theatre- Chris Langham- despite series of disasters profited APG $1,500

Final payment from Last Laugh to 'Back To Bourke St'.

minimum wage now $150/week

Terry Maher full time publicity. Mary Duggan left.

In Theatre Programming hits many snags.

The comm. should not allow an allocation without a fulltime project group being formed. Problems with 'Foolshoe Hotel'. Is the committee to be there for all productions giving support? Lindzee says the director from the group should do it.

Grant application lodged (late as usual) 2 months later . Letters regarding the need for delay see above.

Asking for $820,000.

$400,000 for the renovation of the Panel Beaters.

$420,000 for programming. The chance of us getting the money are dismal.


the '79 proposal for funding included


3 productions /6 weeks each/5 performers


 fulltime project director/6 programs developed


Kate Kelly country tour 6/3-29/4


asked for separate funding


asked for $20,000

reading of proposed or suggested plays to be advertised


program suggested:

Front Theatre  8 productions 5 new Australian works

41/-25/2 Coles Funny Picture Book- Robertson, Dreyfus and Turnley.

6/3-15/4 Carmen Miranda -Robin Archer

24/4/-6/5 Mayday celebs.

16/5-7/6 Kate Kelly- Frank Hatherley

27/6-29/7 new Romeril play

21/11-23/12 India Song -Duras.

BACK Theatre 10 productions 3 new oz plays

Garden of Delights -Arrabal

Occupations- T Griffiths

Hades in Spring- Michael Byrne

Mayday celeb

new Motherwell play

Farmyard and Ghost train- Kroetz.

Dead Wood -Sewall(sic)

Vampyre -Snoo Wilson

Ruffian On The Stair -Joe Orton

Panel Beaters -3 prod

The Comedians- T Griffiths

The Screens- Genet

Mystery Bouffe- Mayakovsky



Finalise casting of 'Dreamers'. 'Petra' great reviews. 'Foolshoe' open 15

Panel beaters shows:-

Stiletto and Flying Tackle 26.8

Norman Gunston, Sports Sept2 (this show was cancelled)


prog 21/8/78

Corrigan is providing plans for the Pram.

Geoff Fiddes gets the electrician's job.

'Garden of Delights': Confusion over status as an APG project. Alison Richards will get $2000 from APG and has $3000 from other sources

A motion passed that the in-theatre committee consider the possibility of a show in '79 about Australia that uses the resources of the whole group.


CM 23/8/78

'Foolshoe' houses are not alright. 'Petra ' av. tix price lower than expected. 'Dreamers of the Absolute' in rehearsal, lengthy discussions of the Hilton bombings.

Geoff Fiddes appears a new electrix whizz. Pleas from Kelvin Gedye in Theatre Maintenance for one week off in every 6 in order to re-energise.

Part of the office ceiling fell on Sue Broadway yesterday. Timlin complain bitterly to Perpetual Trustees(the Landlords).



A quote from Shu'vus in a mtg:

'’Shakespeare doesn't have an economic base nor does he recognise internal contradictions'

Also mooted at this mtg -a weekly satirical event, filling the gap. Robin Laurie proposes 4 salaries per week. Living newspaper/TV.


CM 18/9/78

People there include Betsy Sussler (from NYC), Dick May, Tim Burns.


Criteria from In-Theatre Prog Comm.:

That we identify clearly that the job of the APG is to represent a culturally and politically SUBVERSIVE point of view.

That we ACTIVELY represent a DESTABILISING FORCE in the community.

That we do not seek  LEGITIMISATION and that we will constantly find ourselves in a CONFRONTATIONAL situation with audiences, critics and the theatre world in general.

That we shift focus totally from the project to the IDEAS and their MANIFESTATION. ie what IDEAS do we want to explore? how do we want to communicate our DISCOVERIES.


Arguments:  Lindzee: we need certification of a credo. We lack this at present. Otherwise we are at present too near and a duplicate of Nimrod, Hoopla and others. The word 'subversive' was chosen as more active than ‘alternative’.

Bill Garner opposes. The Pram is an actors theatre/workers theatre. That is what it is for.

Kerry, Betsy Sussler and Alison Richards queried that the ‘process’ of the APG was sufficient to conceptually set it aside from the others, when the product is so similar.


Letter from Romeril read to this meeting regarding women in theatre suggested that ‘Foolshoe Hotel' could have been recast with all women, rewritten with all women. It has done women and maintained the patriarchal message that women are a minority ...

‘this is the meta image that the patriarchal theatre has been has been at pains to create, night after night, century after century. It is a vibe, a subliminal effect beyond content and no amount of tinkering with this or that role will eradicate it. Only the mass presence of women in theatre will do that. And if the APG cannot resolve to offer women equal time and equal importance on stage the APG will remain what it has so far been: simply another marginally diluted instrument of patriarchal domination.'

Dick May spoke against the pre-occupation with feminist consciousness. He was not vigorously supported.


CM 18/9/78

Changing the name to Australian Performing Group (Pram Factory) Co-Operative Limited. -the Co-operation act 1958 this happened at Collective mtg 18th Sept 1978 and became effective from 1st October..The registered office was 325 Drummond St Carlton. Jon Hawkes was chairperson and John Bryson was Hon.Secretary.


19/3/79 directors were listed as Claire Dobbin, Paul Hampton, Jon Hawkes, Ponch Hawkes, John Koning, Fay Mokotow, Greig Pickhaver.

Directors at the time (who came into office 7/11/79) were listed as: Ursula Harrison, Ponch Hawkes, Susan Broadway, John Moore, Paul Trahair, Eve Glenn and Sally Lynch

Object stated were;

The performance encouragement and promotion of drama, music, art, literature, film production and other such cultural activities in the community

To carry on the businesses of theatre, music hall, concert hall, ballroom, cinema and circus proprietors or agents, box office keepers, showmen, exhibitors, song, music, play program, and general publishers printers, scene and general painters and decorators, theatrical and musical agents, caterers for public and private amusements and entertainments of every description.


Shares were not for sale or purchase in any public manner. Share certificates were 10cents. Transfer of shares 10cents. Any income and property was to be applied solely to the promotion of the objects of the society and upon winding up or dissolution any profits were to be not distributed among the members but were to be forwarded to any organization with similar objects to the society's.


11/10/78 exe

'Dreamers' in trouble, closing a week early

'Voices' is Ok. 'Light Shining in Buckinghamshire' is illness prone.

'Ship's Whistle' in rehearsal.


CM 16/10/78

Peter Hosking, John Blay, Sally Clifton observes.

General discussion of women being considered in playwrights residency etc . a messy aspect to the programming. Kerry on her own in it. Tim Robertson writing ‘Coles Funny Picture Book’, many ideas but nothing set.


Exec. 25/10/78

John Timlin's resignation.

He said he did not want to be obliged to continue attending meetings wants to be freer to concentrate on other activities. It is an emotional release.

“after some fairly careful and perhaps turbulent consideration I wish to now tender my resignation from the Society. I wish to focus my activity more on agency and entrepreneurial work and propose to do this through Pram Factory Productions Pty Ltd. I am advised that my position of Chairman of that company, its amalgamate offshoots and my role as trustee for the Australian Performing Group of the beneficial interest flowing from such activities is not dependant on my continuing membership of the society.”


14/11/78  exec special mtg

No money at all in the bank. $14,000.00 owed to creditors


close down?- bad idea,  we still owe money.

defer wages.

'Light Shining' suggests splitting the gate.

Petrol strike is affecting shows badly.


CM 20/11/78

Dire straits concerning funding. People go on half salary.

'Light Shining in Buckinghamshire' go on half and door split for the last week of wage for this and 'Ships Whistle'. If cast want to go on they do a door deal, timing of programming queried? schools in exams etc.

Bill Garner notes that large ads by Hoopla Theatre have not brought in audiences. The economic situation where the middle ground between rich and poor have disappeared.’


Mick Duncan's supper shows in Panel Beaters had an income of $5000. but no profit to APG because there was extra money spent on the venue and show. Mick was requested to get a detailed report together!

Revox tape deck ($2800)stolen

Rick Ludbrook resigns from collective.


Exec, 30/11/78

Troubles with Mick Duncan and the way he organises Panel Beater shows. His figures are queried and his attitudes to the APG principles. Shows are cancelled and it is requested that he move out.


The Panel Beaters Committee have a meeting and send the minutes of their mtg to the exec. It includes 'present: grey kitten and white kitten from rubbish pile. Black and white kitten from sideroom. Sappho (Mick's QBHDog) and Mick and Gwen and Roxy (another dog?)

Gwen took minutes and declared they would stay put until genuine reasons are put. The suggestion that the 'APG can't handle us or find us personally distasteful -'

Resolution: We shall not be moved. Motion carried unanimously. Black and white kitten declined to vote as its not sure yet as to its position or feelings on the matter...

On 6/12/ 78 Mick Duncan explained his loss of enthusiasm of working with the APG and agreed to move out.


CM 18/12/78

Eve Glenn elected to membership.

Talk is all about finding audiences and responsibility for that. There is a full time PR person but still the project groups are to be made aware of their aims and audiences

Kerry states that 1979 rationale will be;

women's consciousness, generally politically subversive and that lack of money will mean more commitment.

Motion: that all residents of the panel beaters be asked to move out by Boxing Day and the space is only available in the future to people approved by tower residents and the exec.

Funding of shows for 1979


The NEP assumes we have $40,000. to lose. About 4 shows can be funded to the extent of $6,600 each in the Front Theatre. $3,000.00 has been removed from each individual budget and put into annual PR budget. Another 5/6 shows can be partly funded for the Back Theatre with $1,500 paying for production and one weeks rehearsal. Actors will split the gate. The so called ‘fully-funded’ shows will only be funded to a cut off point ($6,000.00 deficit) then actors will no longer draw a salary and can choose to take show off or split the gate.

Exec report shows that Mick Duncan is having difficulties working with the collective- moves out of the space.





Panel Beaters gets the going over from Melb City Council.

Beverley Blankenship 'bb' manager /husband has replied to our suggested contract for her presentation of Brecht songs, saying terms unacceptable. The committee found his terms unacceptable. Richard suggests we give it a miss.



'Mickeys Moomba' -small houses, 'Garden of Delights' in rehearsal.

'Concerning Poor BB' -Elizabeth Drake is the pianist for Beverly Blankenship.



New economic policy returning responsibility to each project. Box office sharing by the project group with pre-opening night assistance from the APG press ads and materials.

'The tendency of the APG to centralise as it grew, alienated many from financial operations of the group with the onus of personal survival now back with each project. Our members' dim understanding of the economic realities of their work must sharpen up'. Jon Hawkes


CM 19/3/79

Directors were listed as Claire Dobbin, Paul Hampton, Jon Hawkes, Ponch Hawkes, John Koning, Fay Mokotow, Greig Pickhaver.

Directors at the time (who came into office 7/11/79) were listed as: Ursula Harrison, Ponch Hawkes, Susan Broadway, John Moore, Paul Trahair, Eve Glenn and Sally Lynch

Object stated were;

“the performance encouragement and promotion of drama, music, art, literature, film production and other such cultural activities in the community; to carry on the businesses of theatre, music hall, concert hall, ballroom, cinema and circus proprietors or agents, box office keepers, showmen, exhibitors, song, music, play program, and general publishers printers, scene and general painters and decorators, theatrical and musical agents, caterers for public and private amusements and entertainments of every description”.


Exec 21/3/79

A letter from Pram Factory Pictures completion of 'Dimboola' and the assigning of 140 units to APG. signed John Timlin


CM 30/5/79 exe

'Traitors' are on the door deal they got $130.00 ea this week.


CM 19 /9/ 79

'Scarlet,' Janie Conway's band has broken up

'Give the Shadow a Run' projected deficit  $5,600

Remaining '79 funds that of the $4,500.00 remaining in project deficits $1,500 be allocated to facilitate an APG presence at the Adelaide Festival


Exec Mtg  7/11/79

The 1980 programming committee: Robin Laurie, Jon Hawkes, Peter C, Carol Porter, Bill Garner and Paul Hampton took 4 x31/2 hour workshops over the weekend then they selected 15 people to work all day Monday for the 1980 Ensemble selection.

Ten people were selected and they will meet on Monday 19th prior to the Collective meeting and then attend the meeting. It was suggested the ensemble people perform their 3 min. prepared pieces at the Collective mtg. It was decided to start the mtg. and Ponch and Sue Broadway will arrange ‘vittals’ and Ensemble people will perform their pieces.

People at the Exec. mtg asked if the selection committee thought the Ensemble people would be able to find enough common ground to work together. Paul Hampton thought a couple of people might drop out and that it would be up to the remaining members to co-opt other members. The question of how to initiate relationships with the Collective (dress for the Collective meeting- naked)


The Ensemble announced in a press release 14/11/79

Robin Boord, Richard Healy, Peter King, Denis Moore, Jude McHenry, Laurel McGowan, Margot Knight, Danny Nash, Curtis Weiss, Jo White. age range early to late twenties. Their brief: To create a radical theatre for the eighties



Ponch resigns from exec with a letter of advice that they hold better meetings and clean up their act .



CM 16/1/80

item 10 the panel beaters is to become a carpark when not being used for other


CM 2/4/80

Received $53,000.00 from ACA


CM 14/4/80

Minutes including Romeril's letter to discuss impending auction

Romeril wrote from Canberra:

'...The right to seize your workplace in these times is likely to go down with a lot of the public. Planning for that as a last ditch contingency should begin now... the right to a workplace is the issue. On the positive front, buying the building put me down for $2000. if a consortium close, tactical battles almost inevitably require DISCIPLINE- CARE as to who knows what. It would behove the collective to carefully consider who are and aren't its friends.

ps. Don't panic-hysteria is nothing-hard knowledge and careful planning are all!' John Romeril.'


1/5/1980 submission to

Norm Lacy minister for arts Vic Ministry. to save the Pram Factory.


Exec Mtg 7/5/80

Timlin applies for role of Facilitator.

Housing at Pram : two weeks notice will be given to people living in areas of the building that have been condemned-



Timlin accepted as Facilitator.

'Resistor Routines' is not doing well, cancelled a show.



Marilyn O’Donnell and Leslie Caust come into Ensemble.



John Moore to buy film to video the auction.


9/6/80 programming

The Ensemble has no program. Suggestion that Timlin, Richard Murphet and one Ensemble person meet to formulate a program.


a letter dated 18 June 1980

To the Registrar of Co operative Societies from John Timlin:


'I have been appointed General Manager of the Cooperative … has made radical changes to its membership by the inclusion of a ten member full time performing ensemble from the beginning of 1980 ... The group has been reduced in numbers and diminished in management skills due to the departure of senior members interstate and overseas ..... problems were further exacerbated by the auction of the Pram Factory on 29th May.1980 ... The financial situation in terms of cash reserves ($57,000.00) and grants still to be received ($49,000.00) is healthy but trading cash flow in this first half of the year has been lower than budgeted due to the disruption caused by the changeover in personnel and uncertainty generated by the sale of the building...'


CM 23/6/80

Theatre management seems to have broken down. People don't seem to be able to find things. Front Theatre heater put on for the comfort of a solo drummer, exhaust fans left on, Ensemble room a pigsty, people's lounge ditto -have we got too casual an attitude to money and property that belongs to us all?

Timlin's appointment with Lacy needs to be discussed

Where are we going? why should we be funded? who are we? what happens to the Ensemble at the end of the year?


Jan 1-30 June 1980 a deficit $27,048.00



A letter from Ursula Harrison to the Chair- The executive meeting occurs on Monday morning and assumes responsibility for planning and programming. Attendance at this meeting shall be mandatory for those in full time employment with the APG.

 Collective meetings still to be held on the 3rd Monday of each month.



Cathy Potter's resignation.  Dissatisfaction with opportunities for acting. Disagreement with broad APG style-



Ensemble take wage cuts 25%


CM 22/9/1980

Develpt. proposals were presented to reps. of Samuel Rosen Group who now own the building.

Curtis Weiss asked to resign. Jo White resigns. New members to be sought for 1981.

Denis Moore said it’s important that each member gain experience in different areas eg. Jo White doing costumes for 'Ken Wright'.


A form letter from John Bryson (hon secretary)


Dear Collective member

At an Executive/Company meeting on 22 September(’80) it was determined that members who were no longer actively participating in the group and who had not attended two out of the last three Collective meetings should be asked if they wished to resign.

We are aware that many members are overseas, interstate, doing other things and perhaps temporarily absent for a variety of entirely justifiable reasons. However, it is essential that the principal of participatory democracy be maintained and that the government  of the Group is centred on those most affected by policy and managerial decisions.

If you have some compelling reason to remain a voting member of the Group, please let us know by November 11th.1980.  If you don't reply by this time, your resignation will be effective from that date.

From those who remain, many thanks for your past involvement.

sincerely, John Bryson.

Hon. secretary for the APG Collective.



Replies from Circus Oz who were performing in Europe!

dear fellow Collective  members

Greetings from Holland. We each got your form letter. We are on leave of absence from the collective (as noted in the collective meeting of 17.3.80) We are away from the Pram Factory doing work that propagates the aims and intentions of the APG internationally.

We recognise that power in a participatory democracy belongs to the participants. We make our decisions here and you make yours there. We know that we are overseas at the moment and therefore cant’ participate in decision making at the Pram. But we look forward wholeheartedly to renewing our participation in 1981.

We plan to return on January 17 and are sure the already fruitful cooperation between the APG and  Circus Oz will continue,

love and best wishes from autumn to spring.

Sue Broadway, Tim Coldwell, Kelvin Gedye, Jon Hawkes, Ponch Hawkes, Robin Laurie, Alan Robertson, Hellen Sky.


Letter from Catherine Potter Oct 21st 1980

To the new APG executive,

I found at the last collective meeting (do let me know if there is ever another!) that you still regard yourself collectively as' the chosen people’. You have no need to communicate with the common man- this is probably too painful given the cotton wool environment of fine art.

 I write because I too often lose my articulation in a group of mad men such as I saw last night.

Firstly, that I voted for ratification of the 1981’s ensemble program is ludicrous. How long can one individual altruistically surrender to the good of the group? Neither the Romeril nor the Thomas Keneally projects would be there if it hadn't been for the dedication of people who had to fight the present ensemble power base.

Secondly the fact that the ensemble has a pride in fighting directors, in destroying them- could deter the funding bodies from seeing any validity in the D.D.P I believe it to be the strongest component of the submission.

Thirdly I would like one of your DDP application forms. It will be for a group of women who have already begun work on an Australian adaptation. It seems the very fabric of your institution would deny such a use of the space. There are other ideas too. You know absence makes the heart grow fonder or something because the rhetoric last night made me think I had a chance, all else being equal but I am already too exposed. I do hope the same ideology that went into the ensemble ie. equal male and female components, went into your DDP application.

Lastly I wish you all the best, you have the ingredients for a ‘theatre of mediocrity’ and what better environment to capitalise on but a continuing government.

The APG joins the people of Australia in saying’ Don't rock the boat, I get seasick’

Catherine Potter


(Eve Glenn's letter)

Dear executive/company,

You’re (sic) letter 9/10/80 is gutless, not very clever, doubletalk-why don't you say what you mean? Then maybe dialogue could happen.

Having started a process of apprenticeship in various aspects of theatre/circus/rock and roll (whether it is acknowledged or not by present members of ‘company' or 'administrator’- doesn't interest me) and believing in the notion of the collective work process of the APG. YES I wish to remain in the collective and work at such times as mutual respect and /or common ideology/artistic goals exist between workers in the theatre.

In attempting to remain a participating working member of the collective I believe I earned the title of ‘hanger on dunny cleaner’.

There are plenty more topics I wish to discuss, if that were possible

a) the process of criticism & self criticism

b) the administrator

c) sexism                                    to name a few

 Hoping for change

Eve Glenn


Collective members resign 10/11/1980




the Age 17/1/1981

Robin Usher article :

comment on the decline of the area (Carlton) from radical anarchic exciting to solid professional people who don't have a taste for the experimental.


1980 a bad year. The 10 member ensemble ended up as 6. 

Timlin asks how can an innovatory theatre group function among a bunch of boutiques? A question that was asked many years before.

1981 two headed Calf.

review comments of Two Headed Calf 16/3/81

Neil Jillett/ Age: I could discern neither literary or theatrical value... it sets my mind wandering to more important matters, such as whether there’ll be enough lamb left over from the Sunday roast to make shepherds pie for Monday. Roger Pulvers has shown great dedication and determination in translating, adapting and directing this play. The acting-much circling and shouting on an almost bare stage- struck me as sloppy.


Hibberd’s letter of reply 19/3/81 Age

‘Theatre lovers should disregard Jillett’s lack of appetite... Witkacy’s play is a mouth watering metaphysical farce... in this far from absurd work self-slaughter though mocked is a real theme…(as) is its satirical reduction of human relationships, especially those within the family, to a level of infantility. Given this Jillett’s domestic ruminations on the future of his Sunday roast seem bizarrely apt… not to be missed for those who prefer their theatre to walk the razor’s edge.’

Melb Times Alice Livingstone

If you like your theatre silly and meaningless then (this) is for you... acting slack and unimpressive… a pity considering the wide experience of the cast


Melb Times (Alice again) 11/3/81 a promo for APG Pram sees new year ahead

The word from general manager John Timlin is that the Pram Factory is alive and well at  least until the end of the year. Last year the APG invited 30 directors to submit projects for consideration as part of the’ 81 season. Five were commissioned. David Kendall’s excellent and moving production of Real life of Sebastian Melmoth (Evan Jones) is currently running in the Back Theatre... as for the Ensemble, what remains-after drop outs, dismissals and numerous changes has been scraped together to form the APG’s core group. This year they will be mainly concentrating on workshopping script and music for Tim Robertson’s musical drama, ‘Tristram Shandy’ with a view to production in Aug/Sept. 1981 seems almost certain to be the APG’s last year in their Drummond St. home, one hopes Timlin’s confidence is not premature. Let us pray that a potential bang  does not degenerate into a self-pitying whimper.


15/4/1981  in Melbourne Times 

Council rejects plan to demolish Holdsworth building.  510 objections received.

Ruth Maddison took photos of the auction

 [can’t find the collective minutes for this meeting oct 1981. SI]



Discussions with the ACA

 8 April '81 from Michael Fitzgerald ACA

Michael Fitzgerald takes over from Bob Adams as Director of Theatre Board. Bob is moved to new Policy and Planning Unit. He looks forward to continued cooperation. Chairman of the ACA is Geoffrey Blainey. Chairman of Theatre Board is Brian Sweeney


 6 May '81 from Valerie Calvert, Sec to Theatre Board.

Grant approved of $50,000.00 for programming July1-Dec31’81. This brought the total general grant to $120,000.00. A revised balance sheet is requested.


22/5/81 from APG's John Timlin to Michael Fitzgerald.ACA

Certain matters regarding grant application ‘82 not finalised- request an extension of time for lodgement.


22/5/81 letter to Ms Calvert from Timlin

Acknowledging 6 May letter and agreeing to conditions for the $120,000. attaching revised budget for '81 and programming details.

A breakdown included for ACA-  note a capital expenditure of $6,000 for new seating in Front Theatre also sale of archives for $5.000.00


2/6/81 from Michael Fitzgerald

Granting an extension for the 1982 application until 30th June as requested on 22 May. handwritten on the bottom an annotation that a telegram was sent to John Aquina confirming that ‘82 application would be completed and forwarded Fri 3/7/81 signed JT


29/6/81 from Brian Sweeney to John Timlin

Letter saying 'my term with the board ends tomorrow. May I offer you and your company all good wishes for the future. I do hope you will nurture the theatre board as indeed I hope the theatre board will nurture you. As the bard says “there's a divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them though we may. ”

Thankyou for your many kindnesses to me during my time on the Australia Council etc.'

The letter is typed and the’dear John’ is handwritten.


The same letter is sent to Peter King and addressee adjusted.


29/6/81 from  Michael Fitzgerald to Timlin

refers to a meeting at the ministry 15/6 where the mid year report was submitted to council.


Questions asked: about 1982

Who are the playwrights and directors?

If there is no definite program the board cannot make a decision.

“You agreed to write to the board defining the relationship between your role as General Manager and as Agent for those writers/artists within the organisation/APG (Perhaps you could tell us who these people are). This would then remove any ambiguity about your position".

 Also they wanted to know how the company and the board of directors were to be selected. Which is the controlling body and who decides artistic policy?

Questions obviously aimed at Timlin and his involvement with Almost Managing Agency from whom writers and actors were regularly chosen to work at the APG.

Why wouldn't 'Tristram Shandy' be ready until '82 when it was already programmed as the big event of 81?

The relationship between ‘Some Australians’ (Squirts) and the APG including the equity the APG may have in it which will explain why it is in the mid-year report.


Timlin replied to this letter 31 July ‘81 Appendix photocopy



Vic Ministry sends cheque $52,500 being the balance of the '81 grant.



A letter:  Amended application for funds applying for funds to produce only two plays in '82. 'Tristram Shandy' and 'l’Emigrante'. Using Ensemble actors and some from without.. No secure venue is yet in place, they propose the Universal Theatre. The Pram will be sold again?  $78,808.00 is requested to cover deficit.

Nov. 1981

this was discussed:

The building is going to go.  People are confused- should they look for a new space while they are still in the Pram? Timlin says the ACA won't fund them unless they have tenure.

Richard Murphet says how weird it would be in a multi-million dollar complex and still trying to maintain our brand of anti- establishment, politicised theatre. Appealing to the trendies??

Some want to fight to save it, others want to get out and find a new space.

Le Guidice is the developer/owner

Timlin to approach Lacy at Arts Vic to have freedom to secure a new tenure and for them to support us.


The proposed new structure

Timlin says a Company Limited by Guarantee is best. Co-operative Society doesn't benefit members anymore. The advantage of Ltd. is speed if you want to change the rules. The structure isn't relevant to the way we work.

Denis Moore: in limited guarantee the Executive would have all the power, the Collective would only have power to elect the Executive.

Val Levkowitz: as far as she can see the APG is finished

Richard Healy: The ensemble is now the cloned APG.

Timlin: we should find out who are members, who want to be members

[wasn't this what was proposed at the last collective meeting the one that everyone wrote ‘home’ about? The end is coming..SI]


2/11/81 Letter from Theatre Board. Michael Fitzgerald

I am writing with respect to your application for a general grant for 1982 activities.

I regret to advise that the Theatre Board has not awarded a grant for this purpose.

Enclosed a press release which sets out the board's priorities





Stasis expenses

Hire: College Hall, Parkville 5 days

St Marks. George St. Fitzroy 9 weeks


‘Peer Gynt’ went $2,100 over budget


Schools Tour: Sylvia Plath Show

11/8/76          Footscray Tech

12/8          Essendon Grammar

13/8          VIC COLLEGE OF ARTS

17/8          Preston Institute

18/8          RMIT

19/8          FAST

23-27/8          PORTSEA DRAMA CAMP

2/9             WINLATON


15/9          MELB UNI

17/9          FIRBANK

21/9          LA TROBE Uni

22/9          WHITEHORSE TECH


7/10          KILVINGTON

11/10          STATE COLLEGE

11/10          EWING GALLERY,Melb Uni

12/10          TOORAK SC

15/10          PRESTON SC

18/10          EWING GALLERY

20/10          CHRIST COLLEGE

25/26-         ST MARKS LATE SHOW

3                PRAM LATE SHOWS.


16/6/77      Antony&Cleopatra started




‘HILLS FAMILY SHOW’ Victorian Arts Council Country Tour Itinerary Central Vic.

Maryborough Tech College -Mon May 31 [Book @ Ritchies newsagency]

Bendigo City Hall –Tues, Wed June 1/2 [Book@ Downeys newsagency]

Echuca,- Thurs June 3 [Book @Halls shoe store.]

Kyneton Shire Hall- Fri Jun 4 [Book@ Daleys jewellers]

North East Victoria

Benalla Tech School Hall Mon June 7 [book@ Ikin and Sullivan]

Wangaratta Town Hall Tues June 8 [book @Wangaratta tourist bureau]

Wodonga Town Hall Wed, Thurs June 9/10[book @Laughing Bhudda and Richards pharmacy0

Yarrawonga Shire Hall  Fri June 11 [book@Ragtrade shop]

Shepparton Tech School Hall Sat.June 12 [book@ Werners pharmacy]

North West Victoria

Mildura Tech. School Hall Tues/ Wed Jun15/16 [book@ Maples]

Warracknabeal High School Hall Thur Jun 17 [book@ Arnolds newsagency]

Witchyproofe Shire Hall Frid Jun 18 [book@ village green]

 St Arnaud T H Sat June19 [book @Mahons shoe store]


Moe Civic Hall Mon June 21 [book@ Purvis stores]

Orbost HS Hall Tue June 22 [Book@ Croajingalong antiques]

Bairnsdale Lucknow Memorial Hall(ceiling too low!) moved to Bairnsdale Tech School Wed June 23 [book@ Stan Lake newsagency]

Traralgon Town Hall Jun 25 [book @Robinsons jewellers]

Leongatha HS Hall Sat June 26 [book@ 622829 after 6pm good tickets at the door.]






Bruce Spence: Morrie, Natalie Bate:Maureen, Max Gillies: Vivian Jones, Alan Rowe: Morrie’s Dad, Irene Hewitt: Florence Morrie’s mum,

Terry Mc Dermott: Darcy, Maureen’s dad, Esme Melville: April Maureen’s mum. Tim Robertson: Father O’Shea

Jack Perry: Horrie. Hellen Sky: Astrid Horrie’s daughter

Larry Stevens: Shovel, Chad Morgan: Bayonet, Bill Garner: Dangles best man, Kerry Dwyer: Shirl, bridesmaid

Paul Hampton: Ambrose. Ev Krape: Monica. Max Fairchild: T Bone

Sue Ingleton: Marilyn, Laurel Frank: Jackleen, Claire Dobbin: Worms= The Milkshakes

Fay Mokotow: nurse. Sandra Evens: cook. Phil Motherwell: Sniper, Frankie Raymond: Daphne. Claire Binney: Angelique. Val Jellay: Aggie

Captain Matchbox Band: Lionel Driftwood and the pile drivers.


Directed by John Duigan. Producer: John Weiley

Assoc. Producers: John Timlin, Max Gillies

Production manager: Vicki Malloy. Secretary :Laurel Crampton. Accountant: Peter Keenan. DOP: Tom Cowan

Music: George Dreyfus. Art director: Larry Eastwood. Sound: Lloyd Carrick 1st Asst Director: Walter Dolbrowolski

Stills: Ponch Hawkes. Costumes: Rose Chong and Margot Lindsay


R E E L    W O M E N    I N    1 6 m.m.

A Season of new films by women. [October30-November 12th 1978]



PRAM FACTORY BASEMENT- 8.30pm-325 Drummond St.,Carlton,347-7133




MONDAY OCTOBER 30th               INDIA SONG  -                    Marguerite Duras


TUESDAY OCTOBER 31st                                PAUSES  -                           Monique Schwartz


WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 1st.         FIFTEEN  -                         Jenny McIntyre

                                                      SHOWTIME -                                 Jan Chapman



And                                               on working women in Latin America

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 3             MEXICO’75 -                                 Pat Edgar


SATURDAY NOVEMBER 2         MAIDENS –                       Jenny Thornley


SUNDAY NOVEMBER 5           FRESH RUINS -                 Claire Jaeger

                                                      WE AIM TO PLEASE       Robin Laurie & Margot Nash

                                                      OVER ICE -                         Libby O’Neil


TUESDAY NOVEMBER 7                     ST.THERESE                      Dany Torsch


WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 8         HALFWAY HOUSE-          Vicki Malloy

                                                      CRADLE SONG-                Gilly Coote

                                                      THE SETTLEMENT          Gillian Leahy


THURSDAY NOVEMBER 9         TRAINS WATCHED -        Bret Sussler


FRIDAY NOVEMBER 10           SECRET STORM -             Martha Ansara

                                                      AT ELTHAM -                   Corinne Cantrell

                                                      WOMEN SEEN                  Madelon Wilkens


SATURDAY NOVEMBER 11     UNION MAIDS-                Documentary footage of 30’s & 40’s

 recollections of 3 women who

fought for better working conditions.

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 12                     SIZE 10 -                             Susan Lambert & Sarah Gibson.




Newspaper article by Betty Sim


A theatre group with a new breed of actress has arrived in Perth.

It is the Australian Performing Group, which has its headquarters at the La Mama Theatre in Melbourne.

They are here to perform at the Hole in the Wall theatre during the Festival of Perth. The actresses, Margot Smith, Kerry Dwyer, and Meg Clancy all of Melbourne, are well educated. They wear little or no makeup and they are not addicted to glamourous clothes either on stage or off. They willingly reveal their ages. These women are vitally interested in the theatre as a medium of expression. They regard their work on the stage as a vocation, they are not temperamental and can talk about why they are acting.

Former model Meg Clancy(19) has also taught speech and drama. She studied these subjects for 18 months at the Melbourne Conservatorium.

“I think our group is doing something very worthwhile,” she said. “Social comment is an important aspect of theatre today. Much of our work is political-but entertainment or political message, it depends on how the individual in the audience takes it. I think teaching drama in schools is tremendously important.”

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