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Playbill and Its People

written by Gillian Russell

National Library of Australia | ISBN 9780642277381

Paperback – 152 pages


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In 2007 a librarian at the Library and Archives Canada Library came across a fragile sheet of paper inserted inside a book. It was the playbill advertising an evening of entertainment that had taken place halfway across the world, over two centuries before. The playbill is the earliest printed document in the history of Australia to be so far discovered and in 2011 it was included on the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register. As a piece of ephemera the playbill offers tantalizing glimpses of the social and cultural life of the early colony. What is the significance of the plays performed? Who were the players and their audiences? What kind of theatre did they play in? Gillian Russell answers all of these questions and more, in this fascinating account of the history and significance of the playbill.

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