Lowdown - 1980s

Australia has a long history of taking on cultural influences from outside the country and synthesising them into something uniquely Australian. This was the case in the 1980s, when Australian youth performing arts practitioners embarked on a long and at times bitter series of debates about the function, form and content of their work. During this time they synthesised a range of overseas and homegrown influences in Australian theatre for young audiences and youth arts practice, including Theatre in Education, developmental drama, political theatre, alternative theatre and community arts.

In 1987, Australia also became the centre of world youth performing arts for a short time during the 1987 ASSITEJ World Congress in Adelaide. This triennial global gathering of the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ) had a profound impact on Australian youth performing arts over the next decades.

For an overview of the decade, go to the Lowdown 1980s commentary and history for the period 1980-1986 or the period 1986-1989.

1980-1986 Commentary and History

Lowdown and the turbulent 1980s Part I – 1980-1986 A history and commentary by Tony...

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Comrade Lowdown - the 1984 Moscow Congress

Ian Chance, as Margaret Leask had done 9 years before from Berlin in the AYPAA newsletter,...

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Mark Radvanís 1980 'Youth Theatre: An Essay'

Mark Radvan’s Youth Theatre: An Essay had been commissioned and prepared by Theatre...

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1986-1989 Commentary and History

Lowdown and the turbulent 1980s Part II – 1986-1989 A history and commentary by Tony...

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Tasmanian youth arts in 1982

Lowdown 's focus on Tasmania in September 1982 included an interview with Max Bingham,...

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The Death of AYPAA

Young People and the Arts Australia’s forerunner, the Australian Youth Performing Arts...

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Lowdown in NSW in 1982

In July 1982 Lowdown looked at NSW companies and the support the NSW government was giving to...

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A picture from Victoria, 1982

Lowdown interviewed Race Matthews, Victoria's Minister for the Arts, in its December 1982...

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National Service at Carclew 1982-2011

On 7 March 1982, the AYPAA (Australian Youth Performing Arts Association) voted at its AGM to...

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WA 1982 - State of Excitement

Lowdown Editor Andrew Bleby visited Perth in 1982 at festival time. He gives an overview of...

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Aspects of South Australia, 1983

In a series of articles, Lowdown Editor Ian Chance profiled SA theatre for young people in...

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The Who, What and Why of ASSITEJ in 1986

By the beginning of 1986, Director Michael FitzGerald had the preparations for the 1987 ASSITEJ...

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At the Frontier - Queensland in 1988

Lowdown Features Editor John Emery travelled to Brisbane in 1988 to cover the first Queensland...

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The 9th ASSITEJ World Congress & General Assembly in Adelaide

Read key articles by Ian Chance and John Emery .  In Australian youth performing arts,...

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Australian Youth Theatre Practice in 1988

Ian Chance’s national review of youth theatre practice in late 1988 provided a host of...

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Northern Territory Special Issue, 1989

Former Lowdown Editor Ian Chance was a passionate  advocate for the Northern Territory...

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Contact Details

Tony Mack
Editor and Project Manager

(08) 8267 5111