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An Alternative Actor's Collective

Video clip synopsis – Actors talk about the Pram Factory collective and its processes. At communal meetings it helped to be tall, articulate and male.
Year of production - 1994
Duration - 1min 43sec
Tags - actors, collectives, creativity, culture, feminism, theatre, see all tags


An Alternative Actor's Collective

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About the Video Clip


An Alternative Actors Collective is an excerpt from the film Pram Factory (55 mins), produced in 1994.

Pram Factory: In the early 1970s Melbourne was home to the Australian Performing Group, a theatre collective which quickly became a focal point for the intellectual, artistic and political life of the turbulent times. They were based in a building called the Pram Factory, now synonymous with the people and events that laid the groundwork for a renaissance in Australian culture.

Pram Factory is a Film Australia National Interest Program. Developed with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission.

Curriculum Focus


This Digital Resource can be used to achieve the following outcomes:
5.6 experiments with different ways of imaginatively and interpretively transforming experience, information and ideas into texts
5.7 thinks critically and interpretively using information, ideas and increasingly complex arguments to respond to and compose texts in a range of contexts
5.8 investigates the relationships between and among texts

This material is an extract. Teachers and students should consult the Board of Studies website for more information.

Background Information


The Australian Performing Group was a democratic theatrical collective operating out of a former pram factory.

Its prodigious output of original work, produced amid the sex, drugs and rock 'n’ roll of Carlton in the 1970s, revived and inspired Australian theatre.

The collective created a theatre in opposition to the script-based, director-dominated conservative norm. It was up-close, non-naturalistic and centred on the presence and skill of the performer. The shows were raw, rough, political, experimental, comical and musical.

Much has been written about the contribution of the playwrights (Jack Hibberd, John Romeril, Barrie Oakley, David Williamson) to this cultural effusion. Less has been remembered about the performers. Max Gillies, Jane Clifton, Greig Pickhaver (H. G. Nelson), Evelyn Krape, Jack Charles, Sue Ingleton, Peter Cummins, Red Symons, John Duigan, Graeme Blundell, Bruce Spence and Jenny Kemp were among the many influential actors, musicians and directors who developed their talents at the Pram Factory.

The Pram Factory closed in 1980, having been a significant part of a rejuvenation of theatre in Australia.

Classroom Activities

  1. Based on the knowledge gained from the video clip , write a definition of the term, ‘collective’ and include an example.
    1. Describe Sue Ingleton’s point of view about male domination.
    2. Describe Bob Daley’s point of view about who has power in a collective.
    3. Discuss both Sue Ingleton’s and Bob Daley’s point of view and list the charactistics you find relevant. Add other characteristics that you think might help people gain power in collectives.
    1. In small groups create a two minute dramatic and exaggerated script about an acting collective of 4–6 people discussing the creation of the set for a well-known fairytale their collective will perform. Make sure each character is different and that your script has a strong message.
    2. Present it to your class.

Literacy Activity: Focus = Listening / Interpreting

  1. What are the jobs of the people talking on the clip? (1 mark)
  2. What made relationships difficult in the collective? (1 mark)
  3. What do you understand this term to mean; ‘big boys club’ (1 mark)
  4. What is the best combination of attributes for people in the collective? (2 marks)

Extension – Group Work

  1. Find out what is meant by ‘the meeting process’
  2. Conduct and report on a meeting (eg. the organisation of the next school formal) (5 marks)