Guide to the Papers of Alma de Groen


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Manuscript Name Papers of Alma de Groen
Manuscript Number MSS 172
Last Updated April 2008
Extent 1.69 m (14 boxes)
Location Academy Library, UNSW Canberra
Abstract A collection of manuscripts and related papers by the playwright Alma de Groen.

Scope and Content

This is a comprehensive collection, which comprises papers relating to Alma de Groen's career as a playwright. The collection consists of correspondence, notebooks, drafts of plays, reviews, newspaper cuttings, scrapbook, audio cassette tapes and photographs relating to plays written by De Groen for stage, film, radio and television.


Organization

Special Collections staff has imposed the series arrangement of this collection to describe and preserve context and relationships.

Biographical Note

Alma Margaret de Groen, née Mathers was born in Manawatu in the North Island of New Zealand on 5 September 1941. She grew up and attended Primary School and the District High School in Mangakino, Waikato. She moved to Australia in 1964; left Australia in 1968 and spent the next four years overseas in England, France and Canada, before returning to live and work in Australia in December 1972.

During her career De Groen has worked as a library assistant in the New Zealand Library Service in Hamilton and Wellington, 1958-1964. After moving to Australia in 1964 she worked as a library assistant at Fisher Library, Sydney University, 1964-1965 and as a librarian at the New Zealand Trade Commission, Sydney, 1965. She has been Writer-in-Residence at various universities in Australia and the United States, and was Dramaturg at the Griffin Theatre Company in 1987.

De Groen began her first play, The sweatproof boy in 1968 and has worked as a playwright for live theatre, film, radio and television in Canada and Australia. Her plays are regularly performed in Australia and overseas and studied in high schools and universities. In 1970, while living in Canada her first short work The Joss Adams show was shortlisted for the Canadian National Playwriting Competition. In November 1998, she was the first playwright to win the Patrick White Award for her contribution to Australian theatre.

De Groen has been awarded the following grants and prizes:
New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards, Play Award, 2003, shortlisted for Wicked sisters
New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards, Play Award, 1999, shortlisted for The woman in the window
Patrick White Award, 1998
Australia Council Grants, Awards and Fellowships, Literature Board Fellowship, Category A Fellowship, 1994
AWGIE Awards, Stage Award, Original, 1993, winner for The girl who saw everything
Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, Louis Esson Prize for Drama, 1988, winner for The rivers of China
New South Wales State Literary Awards, Play Award, 1988, winner for The rivers of China
AWGIE Awards, Television Award, Adaptation, 1985, winner for Man of letters
Canada Council Playwriting Grant, 1970
Canadian National Playwriting Competition, 1970, shortlisted for The Joss Adams show

First performances of her plays include:
The Joss Adams show (1970)
Chair [1970-1971]
The sweatproof boy (1972, later shortened into Perfectly all right)
The after-life of Arthur Cravan (1973)
Going home (1976)
Chidley (1976)
Vocations (1981)
Singles episode 'Chris' (television series, 1984)
Man of letters (screenplay adaptation, 1985)
The rivers of China (1986)
After Marcuse (telemovie, 1989)
Rafferty's rules episode 'The woman' (television series, 1988)
The girl who saw everything (1991)
Available light (radio play, related to Invisible sun, 1993)
Invisible sun (radio play, 1994)
Wildheart, co-writer and dramaturg with Legs On the Wall (1994)
Stories in the dark, co-written with Ian Mackenzie (radio play, 1995)
The woman in the window (1997)
Wicked sisters (2002)

Her publications include:
Going home and other plays (including: Going home; The Joss Adams show; Perfectly all right (1977)
Chidley (1977; 1993)
Going home (1983)
The rivers of China (1987)
Australian playwrights speak [videorecording and DVD] Alma de Groen; producer, Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt (1991)
Available light (1993)
The girl who saw everything (1993)
The woman in the window (1999)
Wicked sisters (2003)

De Groen returned to live and work in New Zealand in late 2003.

References:
Alma de Groen, 10 October 2016
RGM Associates Web site for Alma de Groen:
http://www.rgm.com.au/portfolios/alma-de-groen
Contemporary dramatists, Thomas Riggs, editor, 6th ed., St. James Press, Detroit, 1999, Alma de Groen, p. 135-136
The Plays of Alma de Groen, by Elizabeth Perkins, Rodopi, Amsterdam, 1994
Concise companion to theatre in Australia, general editor, Philip Parsons with Victoria Chance, Currency Press, Sydney, 1997
AustLit Australian Literature Gateway database (2004).

Administrative Information


Access

The collection is partly available for research and partly closed.


Restrictions on Use

No copying is permitted without the permission of the copyright owners.


Preferred Citation

Papers of Alma de Groen, Academy Library, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, MS 172, Series [Number], Folder [Number].


Provenance

The collection was acquired from Alma de Groen in two consignments, one in 1990 and one in 2003.

Additional Information


Separated Material

Further papers of Alma de Groen are held at the following institutions:
Hanger Collection of Australian Playscripts, Fryer Library, University of Queensland
The Rodney Seaborn Library, The National Institute of Dramatic Art, Sydney
ScreenSound Australia, National Screen and Sound Archive
The Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand

Access Terms


Personal Names

De Groen, Alma, 1941-


Topical Subjects

Dramatists, Australian -- Archives.

Women dramatists, Australian -- 20th century.

Australian drama -- 20th century.


Occupations

Dramatists

Series List and Descriptions

 

Series 1 Correspondence, 1969-2002

This series comprises personal and business letters, emails, postcards and invitations received by De Groen from friends, colleagues, agents, theatre companies and publishers.

Folder 1
Miscellaneous correspondence, 1969-1976

Including David Alexander, Jean Roberts and David Gardner of Canada Council, Max Cullen, John Milson of Hole-in-the-Wall Theatre, Peter Kenna, Hank Kaufman of KIA, Will Thompson and John Sumner of Melbourne Theatre Company, John Clark of NIDA, Thomas B. Hendry and Michael Bawtree of Stratford Festival, Rodney Fisher of South Australian Theatre Company, John Morris of South Australian Film Corporation, Rex Deverell of Studio Theatre, Richard Wherrett, Peter Oyston of The Victorian College of the Arts and Elizabeth Reeve of Vogue and letters regarding The Joss Adams show, Chair, The sweatproof boy, The after-life of Arthur Cravan, Chidley, contract and letters for Going home

Folder 2
Miscellaneous correspondence, 1977-1987

Including Jenny Palmer and Michael Carson of ABC, Dennis Davison, Suzanne Baker of Film Australia, Carrillo Gantner of Hoopla Theatre Foundation and Playbox Theatre Company, Joan Long of Limelight, John Sumner of Melbourne Theatre Company, Mary Lord of National Book Council, Bruce Pollack of Nimrod Theatre Company, Peter Oyston, C. D. Blake of Riverina-Murray Institute of Higher Education, Richard Wherrett of Sydney Theatre Company and letters regarding Vocations, The rivers of China, Perfect partners and Man of letters

Folder 3
Miscellaneous correspondence, 1988-2002

Including Beate Josephi of Adelaide Festival, May-Brit Akerholt of Australian National Playwrights' Centre, Jim Cotter, Kingston Anderson of Hunter Valley Theatre Company, Ian Mackenzie, Jan Murray of JMA Films, Peter Matheson of Melbourne Theatre Company, Donna Abela of Play Works, David Berthold and Katherine Thomson of Sydney Theatre Company, Sydney Writers' Festival, Veronica Kelly of University of Queensland, VACEP and Louise Permezel of Zootango Theatre Company and letters regarding The rivers of China, The girl who saw everything, Available light, The woman in the window and Wicked sisters

Folder 4
Correspondence from Currency Press, 1970-1999

Folder 5
Correspondence from Elizabeth Perkins, 1986-1997 closed

Folder 6
Correspondence from Brian Syron, 1969-1972 closed

Folder 7
Correspondence from Bruce Keller, 1979-1988 closed

 

Series 2 Dramatic Works, 1970-2002

This series comprises dramatic works for the theatre including The Joss Adams show, Chair, The sweatproof boy and Perfectly all right, The after-life of Arthur Cravan, Going home, Chidley, Vocations, The rivers of China, The girl who saw everything, The woman in the window and Wicked sisters. There are also scripts for film and television work such as Man of letters, 'Chris', After Marcuse and 'Singles'.

Correspondence and related audio cassette tapes and photographs are included in Series 1, Series 4 and Series 5.

Folder 1
The Joss Adams show, one-act, 1970-1974

Notebook containing notes
Annotated photocopy typescript draft with cut and paste inserts, 19 p.
Prop list

Folder 2
The Joss Adams show, 1970-1974

Annotated photocopy typescript draft
Typescript draft for Currency Press, 19 p.
Flyers and program
Reviews
List of national awards from the 32nd annual Canadian playwriting competition, 1970-1971

Folder 3
Chair, The sweatproof boy and Perfectly all right, one-act, 1970-1973

Carbon typescript of the 1st version of Chair, 15 p.
Flyers, programs and reviews of The sweatproof boy
Carbon typescript draft and program of Perfectly all right, 20 p.

Folder 4
The after-life of Arthur Cravan, two-acts, 1972

Typescript draft of the 1st version completed in Canada, 98 p.

Folder 5
The after-life of Arthur Cravan, 1973

Jane Street Theatre, Sydney, version, 1973, 55 p.

Folder 6
The after-life of Arthur Cravan, 1974

Raymond Omodei's staging typescript draft for Perth's Hole-in-the-Wall 1974 production, 88 p.

Folder 7
The after-life of Arthur Cravan, 1972-1974

Radio script adapted by Ron Blair, 36 p.
Programs and reviews
Cast list for Jane Street Theatre production
Notes from the Australian National Playwrights' Conference, 1973

Folder 8
Going home, three-acts, 1976-1980

Annotated typescript draft with cut and paste inserts, 104 p.

Folder 9
Going home, 1976-1980

2nd typescript draft with white-out corrections, 100 p.

Folder 10
Going home, 1976-1980

Workbook, loose notes and Brian Syron's responses
Programs, reviews and ticket sales figures

Folder 11
Going home, 1980

Script for ABC television broadcast in 1980 as part of the Australian Theatre Festival II, 182 p.

Folder 12
Chidley, two-acts (scrapbook included in Series 4), 1974-1977

1st annotated photocopy typescript draft, 64 p. (incomplete)
Playscript 4 from Theatre Australia, Jan-Feb, 1977, p. 23-34
Reviews

Folder 13
Vocations, two-acts, 1981-1984

1st photocopy typescript draft, 68 p.

Folder 14
Vocations, 1981

Letter from the dramaturg Jack Hibberd regarding the play, 15 April 1981
Annotated typescript draft resulting from a workshop at the Australian National Playwrights' Festival, 1981, 69 p. (incomplete)

Folder 15
Vocations, 1981

3rd typescript draft, July 1981 (incomplete)

Folder 16
Vocations, 1982

Pre-Melbourne Theatre Company version taken to Melbourne for rehearsals, incorporates changes made during rehearsals, 1982, 74 p.

Folder 17
Vocations, 1983

Annotated typescript of the La Boite Theatre version, January 1983, 50 p.
Sketch for the set

Folder 18
Vocations, 1983

Radio version, script adapted and directed by Jane Howard for ABC Radio Drama and Features Department, April 1983, 100 p.

Folder 19
Vocations, 1983

Currency Press version, with annotations by Andrew Ross and De Groen, May 1983, 61 p.
Flyers, programs and reviews

Folder 21
Screenplay entitled Man of letters; television adaptation by De Groen of Man of letters : a romance by Glen Tomasetti, 1983

1st annotated typescript draft with final pages added to 3rd draft, October 1983, 43 p. (incomplete)
Annotated typescript of various early and middle attempts at an ending
2nd annotated typescript draft, September 1983, 46 p.
1st draft of timings, 2 p.

Folder 22
Man of letters, screenplay, 1984

Final script for ABC, July 1984, 148 p. and 5 p. of amendments

Folder 23
'Chris' episode four of the television series Singles, 1984

Photocopy script for ABC TV Drama Department, 1984, 118 p.

Folder 24
The rivers of China, two-acts, 1974-1988

Research material
Notes
Notebook with general notes and Renée's dramaturg notes from the Australian National Playwrights' Conference, 1986

Folder 25
The rivers of China, October 1985

1st annotated photocopy typescript draft entitled 'Keepers of the gate', 73 p.

Folder 26
The rivers of China, c. 1986

Annotated typescript draft, 74 p. (incomplete)

Folder 27
The rivers of China, May 1986

Reworked version from Australian National Playwrights' Conference, 73 p.

Folder 28
The rivers of China, 1986

Version submitted to Australia Council, 68 p.

Folder 29
The rivers of China, 1987-1988

Version used in Sydney Theatre Company rehearsals, 1987, 78 p. and notes
Notes from Melbourne Theatre Company production

Folder 30
The rivers of China, 1987

Currency Press script, 79 p.
Typescript photocopy of the introduction by Elizabeth Perkins (2), 13/11/1987

Folder 31
The rivers of China, 1987-1988

Stereo play version, 78 p., recorded November 1987, broadcast March 1988

Folder 32
The rivers of China, 1987-1988

Flyers, programs and reviews
Brochures on the New South Wales State Literary Awards, 1988
Australian Writers' Guild AWGIE Awards nomination certificate
Manuscript summaries of notes taken by Katherine Brisbane and Anne-Marie Mykyta of discussion after Australian National Playwrights' Conference reading of The rivers of China

Folder 33
The girl who saw everything, two-acts, 14/11/1990

Notebook
1st draft - annotated computer typescript draft, 78 p.

Folder 34
The girl who saw everything, June 1992

Revised and expanded version pre-Sydney Theatre Company workshop draft - annotated computer typescript, incorporating dramaturgical suggestions, 123 p.

Folder 35
The girl who saw everything, 1991-1992

Flyers, programs and reviews

Folder 36
The woman in the window, two-acts, 1996

Three notebooks

Folder 37
The woman in the window, 8/7/1996

Precedes rough 1st draft sent to Sydney Theatre Company - annotated photocopy typescript, 88 p.

Folder 38
The woman in the window, 1996

Annotated photocopy typescript, 99 p.

Folder 39
The woman in the window, 1997

Pre-Australian National Playwrights' Conference 1st draft - computer typescript, 77 p.

Folder 40
The woman in the window, 1997

Version taken to Australian National Playwrights' Conference - annotated computer typescript draft, 78 p.

Folder 41
The woman in the window, August 1997

Pre-Melbourne Theatre Company draft - computer typescript, 84 p.

Folder 42
The woman in the window, November 1997

Photocopy typescript with annotations by the dramaturg/director Kate Cherry, 93 p.

Folder 43
The woman in the window, 1997-1998

Version used for one day reading in Melbourne, 11/12/1997, with cast of 1998 production, 96 p.

Folder 44
The woman in the window, January 1998

Melbourne Theatre Company rehearsal script - annotated photocopy typescript, 96 p.
Notes to cast and director from the dramaturg May-Brit Akerholt
Rehearsal schedules

Folder 45
The woman in the window, January-March 1998

Melbourne Theatre Company prompt script - annotated photocopy typescript, 96 p.

Folder 46
The woman in the window, 6-22 July 1998

Eureka Theatre workshop script with rehearsal notes - annotated photocopy typescript, 93 p.

Folder 47
The woman in the window, 1998

Flyers, programs and reviews

Folder 48
Wicked sisters, two-acts - previous titles included 'Through the hoops', 'Sweet sisters', 'Tell me the truth about love' 'Soul mates' and 'Blood sisters', January 2000

'Through the hoops' - 1st photocopy typescript draft, 94 p.

Folder 49
Wicked sisters, March 2001

'Through the hoops' - collage typescript read at a meeting at the start of the Australian National Playwrights' Conference (miscellaneous pages)
4th photocopy typescript draft, 99 p. (1st conference draft, with rehearsal notes)

Folder 50
Wicked sisters, April 2001

'Sweet sisters' - photocopy typescript version presented at end of conference, 99 p. (3rd conference draft)

Folder 51
Wicked sisters, May 2001

'Tell me the truth about love' - post conference photocopy typescript revision, 100 p.
Letter from Lally Katz with a list of possible titles
Dramaturgical notes from May-Brit Akerholt, Anna Messariti and Louise Gough, June-July 2001

Folder 52
Wicked sisters, August 2001

'Blood sisters' - photocopy typescript, 100 p.

Folder 53
Wicked sisters, 5/2/2003-1/4/2002

Email rehearsal script changes between De Groen and the Griffin Theatre Company director Kate Gaul

Folder 54
Wicked sisters, 14/2/2002

Annotated photocopy typescript draft for Playworks/Griffin Theatre Company workshop before the Griffin production, 101 p.

Folder 55
Wicked sisters, 21/2/2002

Annotated photocopy typescript draft written after Playworks/Griffin Theatre Company workshop and after receipt of co-dramaturg Ros Horin's notes, 102 p.

Folder 56
Wicked sisters, 1/3/2002

Griffin Theatre Company first week of rehearsal draft - annotated photocopy typescript, 102 p.

Folder 57
Wicked sisters, March 2002

Griffin Theatre Company draft as at end of first week of rehearsal - annotated photocopy typescript, 99 p.

Folder 58
Wicked sisters, 15/3/2002

Griffin Theatre Company rehearsal draft - annotated typescript, 96 p.

Folder 59
Wicked sisters, 2002

Program notes, flyers, programs and reviews

 

Series 3 Miscellaneous Papers, 1973-1988

This small series comprises material collected by De Groen on Australian drama.

Folder 1
Miscellaneous papers, 1973-1988

Photocopy typescript of 'Spiral' by Jacqueline de Szombatfalvy, 1988 (copy of De Szombatfalvy's video cassette tape is included in Series 5)
'Australian drama : evaluations by its playwrights' by Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt, 1982
Magazine and newspaper cuttings relating to De Groen and Australian theatre
Postcards collected by De Groen

 

Series 4 Scrapbook, 1976-1977

Alan Ingram's scrapbook of the Hoopla Productions in arrangement with the Melbourne Theatre Company performance of Chidley at Grant Street Theatre, South Melbourne, 1976-1977.

Folio 1
Alan Ingram's scrapbook of the Hoopla Productions in arrangement with the Melbourne Theatre Company performance of Chidley, 1976-1977

Includes tipped-in flyers, programs, cuttings of reviews and colour photographs of the Hoopla Productions performance

 

Series 5 Audio Visual, c. 1970-1988

This small series comprises audio cassettes relating to De Groen's radio and theatre productions, including The Joss Adams show, The after-life of Arthur Cravan and Rivers of China. Also included is one video cassette of 'Spiral' by Jacqueline de Szombatfalvy .

Folder 1
Audio cassette of The Joss Adams show, Channel 1, London, c. 1970

Folder 2-4
Audio cassettes of The after-life of Arthur Cravan, ABC Radio

Folder 5
Audio cassette of Ray Omodei discussing Hole-in-the-Wall Theatre's production of The after-life of Arthur Cravan, 5/11/1974

Folder 6-9
Audio cassettes of Ray Omodei discussing Hole-in-the-Wall Theatre's production of The after-life of Arthur Cravan, 10/11/1974

Folder 10-12
Audio cassettes of Ray Omodei discussing Hole-in-the-Wall Theatre's production of The after-life of Arthur Cravan, 16/11/1974

Folder 13-14
Audio cassettes of The rivers of China

Folder 15
Video cassette of 'Spiral', by Jacqueline de Szombatfalvy, 1988

 

Series 6 Photographs, c. 1946-c. 1998

This series is comprises photographs of De Groen, her family and friends, and photographs relating to workshops and productions of De Groen's plays. Box-folder 1 is closed.

Box-folder 1
Family photographs, c. 1946-1983

Including:
School, family, buildings and landscape photographs taken at various functions and locations in New Zealand, c. 1946-1964 (77)
Wedding photographs of Alma and Geoffrey de Groen (3)
Geoffrey de Groen, aged 30
Nadine de Groen, December 1967 (2)
Nadine de Groen, March 1968 (2)
Geoffrey de Groen, August 1968 (5)
Tahiti, October 1968 (5)
Acapulco, October 1968 (9)
Yorkshire, November 1968 (5)
Paris, August-September 1969 (5)
Family photographs (4)
St Johns' Wood, 1969 (8)
Richard Dunn's studio, Kensington, England, 1970 (5)
Nadine de Groen, London, Ontario, 1971 (4)
Unidentified group
Geoffrey de Groen
Unidentified male (2)
De Groen family (4)
Proof sheet of the De Groen family, Toronto, Canada
De Groen family Kurraba Point, 1975 (5)
Mona Road, Darling Point, 1975 (4)
Family photographs Stanley Street, 1977-1978 (3)
Brian Syron's, Rose Bay, 1978 (4)
Nadine de Groen at Stanley Street, 1978 (4)
Alma de Groen, c. 1978
Kerri's birthday, Rose Bay, 1979 (4)
Hunter Valley, 1979 (5)
Family photographs, 1979 (3)
Deer Park Camp, 1979
Stanley Street, 1979 (5)
Nadine de Groen at Sydney Girls' High School, 1980
Flat-hunting for Phippsy, 1979
Doyle's, Rose Bay, September 1981 (4)
Stanley Street, 1981 (7)
Stanley Street, December 1983 (2)

Box-folder 2
Photographs of friends and workshops and productions of De Groen's plays, 1970-1986

Including
Rehearsal photographs from Australian National Playwrights' Conference of The after-life of Arthur Cravan, 1973 (4)
Australian National Playwrights' Conference, 1980
Bruce/Beckett, 1980 (6)
Australian National Playwrights' Conference, 1981 (11)
Wagga Wagga residency, 1985 (6)
Bray family, Perth, 1986 (4)
Elizabeth Jolley's orchard, W.A. (WAIT residency) 1986 (4)
Peter Kingston, 1986
Australian National Playwrights' Conference, 1986 (5)
The Joss Adams show at Stratford Shakespearean Festival Theatre, Stratford, Ontario, 1970 (4)
Inter-Action Productions at the Almost Free Theatre, London production of The Joss Adams show (3)
South Australian Theatre Company's production of The Joss Adams show, May 1973 (3)
Nimrod Theatre Company Theatre production of The Joss Adams show (3)
The after-life of Arthur Cravan from Raymond Omodei, Hole-in-the-Wall Theatre, Perth (19)

Box-folder 3
Photographs relating to productions of De Groen's plays, 1973-1997

Including:
Jane Street Theatre production of The after-life of Arthur Cravan, 1973 (6)
Melbourne Theatre Company production of Going home, 1976 (8)
Nimrod Theatre Company production of Going home, 28/7/1977 (4)
Nimrod Theatre Company production of Perfectly all right, 1977 (2)
Hoopla Productions performance of Chidley (2)
Melbourne Theatre Company production of Vocations, 1982 (1)
Griffin Theatre Company production of Vocations (4)
La Boite Theatre production of Vocations, 1983 (3)
Sydney Theatre Company production of The rivers of China, 1986 (12)
Downstage Theatre, Wellington, New Zealand production of The rivers of China, 1986 (16)
HoChiMinh City Theatre Company production in Vietnamese of The girl who saw everything, [1998?] (27)
Griffin Theatre Company production of Wicked sisters, 1997 (3)
Polaroid of stage sets from Richard (2)