La Boite Theatre 1925 to 2003: before, during and after its transformational journey from amateur to professional status

Comans, Christine A. (2006) La Boite Theatre 1925 to 2003: before, during and after its transformational journey from amateur to professional status. In Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies Conference - Being There: Before, During and After, July 4-7, 2006, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia. (Unpublished)

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La Boite Theatre, which was founded as the Brisbane Repertory Theatre Society in 1925 and has had an uninterrupted theatrical life ever since, is the oldest theatre company in Brisbane and the second oldest in Australia . Today, in Queensland, this company is second only to the Queensland Theatre Company in terms of size, status and reputation. What is unusual about La Boite is that it has not only survived for over eighty years in an unbroken line of theatrical activity but it has successfully negotiated the difficult transitions in status from an amateur group to a ‘pro-am’ theatre to a prospering professional company despite set-backs and crises, some of which seriously threatened its on-going viability. How it managed such a transformation - a distinctive achievement in Australian theatre history - is the subject of this paper, based on my recent doctoral study of La Boite’s history. The paper focuses on a set of findings that emerged in response to the thesis question. Backgrounding the findings is the story of how I ‘controlled’ and gave shape and meaning to what appeared initially to be an unwieldy, long and messy history. The findings converge around key ‘manifestations’ of effective artistic and organizational leadership identified in my research as crucial to the company’s successful journey to professional status. Emphasis will also be given to the role played by four women artistic directors, significant to this history not only for the sustained nature of their involvement but for their particularly dynamic contribution to the company’s evolution.

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ID Code: 7091
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please contact the author:
Additional URLs:
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY (210000) > HISTORICAL STUDIES (210300) > Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History) (210303)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Dr Christine Comans
Deposited On: 20 Apr 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:39

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