Australian Suffrage Theatre on the World Stage
Chapter 4 Katharine Susannah Prichard: Socialist Desire and Suffrage Theatre
Katharine Susannah Prichard: Socialist Desire and Suffrage Theatre
Born at the height of a tropical hurricane in Fiji in 1883, Katharine Susannah Prichard had wanted to attend Melbourne University, but was unable to do so because her mother’s ill health caused her to miss a university bursary.1 Instead, after a stint as a governess she pursued a career in journalism, whilst simultaneously forging a life that has earned her a great respect and fame as an Australian writer. She is most admired as a novelist, but is also known as a dramatist for her 1927 award winning play Brumby Innes.2 Prichard was in fact a prolific writer of plays, and not only in the 1930s and later when most of them were staged.3 Ric Throssell, Prichard’s son, maintains that even though ‘she saw drama as a minor part of her lifelong literary output’, she admitted that the theatre was her first love, and claimed that she would rather have written for the theatre if only it had offered a livelihood.4 She participated in some early Australian drama evenings in Melbourne and had some of her work performed by the Actresses’ Franchise League whilst working in London from 1912 to 1915. Prichard was an ardent socialist and feminist, and this is reflected in her writing for the stage and everywhere else. The exploration of her ←109 | 110→early life and work as a dramatist offered here provides an opportunity to fathom how individual Australian women...
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