Guide to the Papers of Richard Allen and Karen Pearlman [MSS 300]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Richard Allen and Karen Pearlman
Manuscript Number MSS 300
Last Updated October 2021
Extent 2 box
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract Manuscripts, publicity, and audiovisual material relating to Richard Allen and Karen Pearlman

Collection Subject Type


Scope and Content

The collection of Richard Allen and Karen Pearlman comprises scripts, listings, publicity, reviews, photographs and VHS recordings related to their plays

Date Range of Content


Biographical Note

Karen Pearlman

Wikipedia article:

Australian film academic Karen Pearlman was born in Missouri, USA in 1960 and graduated from the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Honours in dance. Karen Pearlman and Richard James Allen founded the production company That Was Fast in 1985, creating dance, poetry, film and video works. Pearlman completed a Masters in Editing from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS), a Masters in Media Production in 2002 from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and a Doctorate of Creative Arts at UTS in 2006. She was head of Screen Studies at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School from 2008-2014, President of the Australian Screen Editors Guild 2009-2010 and a Senior Lecturer in film production at Macquarie University from the late 2010s.

Richard Allen

Wikipedia article:

Australian dancer, poet and short filmmaker Richard Allen was born in Kempsey in 1960 and graduated from University of Sydney in the early 1980s. Allen was an artistic director of the Poets Union in the later 1990s, and founding director of the Australian Poetry Festival. Together with partner Karen Pearlman, Allen co-created performance companies That Was Fast (New York), Tasdance (Launceston), and The Physical TV Company (Sydney) creating dance, poetry and video works. In 1999 he was shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry at the NSW Premier's Literary Awards.


Administrative Information


Access and Copying Conditions

Access: Check with Curator

This collection contains a variety of copyright material. Copyright is held by the creator of each item. Specific conditions for this collection are listed below. If no conditions are stipulated then the standard terms of the Copyright Act apply for published and unpublished items. Digitised material from manuscript collections is provided to clients by UNSW Canberra in good faith for private study and research only, and may not be published or re-purposed without the express and written permission of the individual legal holder of that copyright. Refer also to the UNSW copyright, disclaimer and takedown policy. 

Copying: Check with curator

Preferred Citation

Papers of Richard Allen and Karen Pearlman, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 112, Box [Number], Folder [Number]


Check with Curator

Related Material

Further material related to Karen Pearlman and Richard Allen can be found at the National Library of Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia and the State Library of NSW


Subject Keywords



Karen Pearlman, 1960- — Archives

Richard Allen, 1960- — Archives

Australian poetry— 20th century

Dance production — Australia

Performance art Australia

Personal Names

Karen Pearlman, 1960-

Richard Allen, 1960-


Film editors





Container List


Box 1

Folder 1

Script and publicity material, Blue Cities, a play. 4 September 1993

Publicity material, Karen Pearlman and Richard Allen

Folder 2

Archival listing of literary work by Richard Allen 1972-1990

Archival listing of videos by Richard Allen and Karen Pearlman 1981-1990


Folder 3

Reviews, That was Fast - Blue Cities, dance/play, and Hope for a Man Named Jimmie and Grand Illusion Joe, book

Script, Blue Cities, blue doc. 19, 3  November, 1993

Press releases and programme information for dance/play, If War were a Dance, That was Fast - details/credits on videotapes


Audiovisual material


Box 2


Video cassette of dance/play, If War were a Dance


Video cassette, Selected dance works, ‘The Charlie Stories’; ‘White’; ‘Plan Ahead’; ‘Information’; ‘Work’; ‘Luck’; ‘The  Laughing Movie’; ‘Mistakes of Heaven’  1991


Video cassette, Grand Illusion Joe, 10 November, 1991

(Third performance of the premiere run of the play)


Video cassette, The Way Out at Last and Other Work, documentary by Richard Allen, Karen Pearlman, Vincent Reilly and Irit Batrsy in New York in 1985. Includes The Way Out at Last, video poem, ‘Information’ and ‘America’ dances, ‘Vermilyean Rushes’ film and discussions by the artists


Photograph album

Nine photographs, That was Fast, Richard Allen and Karen Pearlman


Unprocessed Boxes

This collection contains an additional three boxes that have not yet been catalogued or processed