John Henry Romeril (ROHM-ur-ihl) is one of Australia’s most prolific playwrights. He began writing plays while attending Monash University in Clayton, Victoria, Australia, from 1966 until his graduation with a bachelor of art with honors in English in 1970. After moving to Melbourne, Romeril quickly became an influential member of the Australian Performing Group, which staged its plays at the Pram Factory from 1970 to 1980.
In Australia, the cultural climate of the early 1970’s was receptive to Romeril’s dramatic and political interests. State funding for the theater, which allowed young local dramatists to produce creative, controversial plays, began in 1968 with the foundation of the Council for the Arts, succeeded by the Australia Council since 1975. The young Romeril flourished.
At the Pram Factory, Romeril wrote his plays quickly, sometimes in collaboration with fellow playwrights, and focused on their effective production. He often directed, occasionally acted in his plays, and even helped build set designs. His quiet, professional, helpful, and unassuming manner made him one of the leaders of this artists’ collective.
From his beginnings, Romeril has been dedicated to working-class interests, left-wing politics, and collaborative production. The latter meant that the majority of his plays of the 1970’s and 1980’s have not been published. He wrote his plays for production, not for a reading audience. For all his...
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