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Louis Esson Biography

(1879–1943), Bulletin, Socialist, Bells and Bees, Red Gums, The Woman Tamer, Three Short Plays

plays theatre australian drama

Australian playwright, born in Scotland and taken to Australia as a child. He worked as a journalist for the Bulletin, the Socialist, and other journals, and also published several volumes of verse, including Bells and Bees (1910) and Red Gums (1912). Following the performance of The Woman Tamer (perf. 1910; pub. 1976), a drama with a Melbourne setting, and the publication of two collections of plays, Three Short Plays (1911) and The Time Is Not Yet Ripe (1912), he went abroad for several years; on visiting the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, he was encouraged by W. B. Yeats to set up a national theatre in Australia. As a result of this encounter he established the short-lived but influential Pioneer Players in Melbourne in 1921. Dead Timber and Other Plays (1920) includes his one-act drama ‘The Drovers’, widely considered a classic of Australian bush literature; The Southern Cross and Other Plays (1946) is a collection of some of his better-known works.

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