Welcome to our new member, postgraduate student Ailsa Brackley du Bois, who has commenced her PhD this year.
Ailsa’s PhD thesis, titled ‘Stardust on the Goldfields: Theatrical Entertainment, Popular Culture and Public Place in Victoria 1851-1911’, will examine the historic role of, and connections between, theatrical entertainment and popular culture in relation to the political sociology of public place on the Victorian Goldfields from 1851 until 1911. It will consider the cultural milieu that grew around theatrical entertainment, and the corresponding spatial facilities developed to enable public expression of theatrical value. It may be argued that both the socio-cultural landscape and the visual dimensions of theatrical entertainment grew to reflect the unique aspects of the local environment and found expression in built spaces, props and sets, costumes, programs, scripts, song-sheets, advertisements and the varied paraphernalia that showcased drama, opera, comedy, circus, magic, musical theatre, pantomime, puppetry, vaudeville, burlesque and variety. The performing arts will be appraised within the constructs of place-based frames of identity and belonging, as well as within the context of the materiality of the stage, as developed across Victoria’s Goldfields during this formative period in Australian history.