Seven Big Australians

Adventures with Comic Actors

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Seven Big Australians

Adventures with Comic Actors

By Anne Pender

Anne Pender explores the lives and creative work of seven extraordinary performers who have brought joy and hilarity to generations of Australians through their memorable characters on stage and television, and in their potent satire, musical comedy, revue, drama, stand up acts and one-person shows.

Noeline Brown, Max Gillies, John Clarke, Tony Sheldon, Denise Scott, Barry Humphries and Carol Raye are celebrated performers who pioneered home-grown humour, transformed the image of Australia, intervened in political life, and brought Australian comedy to the world. They created iconic figures, including Mavis Bramston, Dame Edna Everage, Clarke and Dawe, Bernadette in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, mesmerising impersonations of prime ministers and presidents and visionary stand up comedy.

In Seven Big Australians, Pender interprets the lives of these significant comic actors, offering vivid biographical portraits of their childhood and family of origin, their struggles to enter the entertainment industry and the art they created over many decades. Drawing on extensive life interviews conducted with each actor over several years, Pender documents their experience of the hardships of breaking into the industry and the challenges of staying there, the gruelling nature of daily life as a performer, the demands of working in multiple forms, the realities of script writing, under pressure and the exhilaration of performing. These actors are important cultural figures whose lives are awe inspiring, momentous and magical.

About the Author

Anne Pender is Professor of English and Theatre Studies at the University of New England, a recent Fulbright Senior Fellow at Harvard University, and Australian Research Council Research Fellow 2012-2016. A Menzies scholar to Harvard and graduate of the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales, Anne was Visiting Distinguished Professor in Australian Studies at the University of Copenhagen in 2011 and taught Australian Literature at King’s College London in 2002-03. Anne’s other books include From a Distant Shore: Australian Writers in Britain 1820-2012 (2013),  One Man Show: The Stages of Barry Humphries (2010), Nick Enright: An Actor’s Playwright (2008)and Christina Stead: Satirist (2002).

$29.95 (postage free within Australia).

Publisher: Monash University Publishing

Publication date: April 2019

ISBN (paperback):  

ISBN (EPub): 978-1-925835-22-9

Series: Biography

Weight: 0.53 kg

Pages: 256

Dimensions: 153mm wide x 234mm high

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