There have been thousands of students and teachers, actors and playwrights, technicians and artists who have contributed so much to the rich tapestry of theatre that has been produced here at The University of Melbourne over the past 150 years. Many of these people were involved in theatre for up to 30 years, though their names might be unfamiliar to us now. Other students have gone on to become household names, whether as actors, comedians, academics, writers and even business people! Each of these people from the anonymous to the feted has played a vital role in fostering a community of artistic expression at the University. By the simple act of getting involved and bringing a performance to fruition, each person has contributed to a dynamic history of art that continues to evolve and develop with each new influx of students.
Many illustrious careers were launched on the boards at the University. Actors including Zoe Caldwell, Barry Humphries, Reg Livermore, Max Gillies, Graeme Blundell, Alan Hopgood, Jean-Paul Hussey, and Angus Cerini were all heavily involved in productions on campus. Comedian performers such as Steve Vizard, Rod Quantock, Magda Szubanski, Michael Veitch, Santo Cilauro, Mick Molloy , Tom Gleisner and Rob Sitch were very active, many even nationally touring the revues devised as student productions.
Writers whose early works were produced include David Williamson, Jack Hibberd, Louis Nowra, John Romeril, Sivan Gabrielovich and Lally Katz.
Many young directors, choreographers and technicians found their feet working with student groups. People including Lindy Davies, Barrie Kosky, Lucien Savron, Rose Myers, David Corbet, Richard Vabre, Paul Jackson, Anastasi Siotas and Melinda Hetzel are just a selection of alumni.
Even businessman Richard Pratt and academic Germaine Greer were regular performers over the years!
One of the most successful actresses in Australian history, Zoe Caldwell began her career at The University of Melbourne, as one of the founding cast members of the Union Theatre Repertory Company. Zoe went on to peform in America, winning 4 Tony awards for her performances on Broadway. Zoe is also the author of a book: I will be Cleopatra: An Actress’s Journey.