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David Williamson

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David Keith Williamson, AO, born 24 February, 1942 is one of Australia's best-known dramatists and playwrights He has also written screenplays and teleplays


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Personal life
  • 4 Honours and awards
    • 41 Australian Film Institute Awards
  • 5 Writings
    • 51 Plays
    • 52 Box office revenue of plays
    • 53 Screenplays
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Early lifeedit

David Williamson was born in Melbourne in 1942 and was brought up in Bairnsdale He was born on 24th of February He initially studied mechanical engineering at the University of Melbourne from 1960, but left and graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in 1965 His early forays into the theatre were as an actor and writer of skits for the Engineers' Revue at Melbourne University's Union Theatre at lunchtime during the early 1960s, and as a satirical sketch writer for Monash University student reviews and the Emerald Hill Theatre Company

After a brief stint as design engineer for GM Holden, Williamson became a lecturer in mechanical engineering and thermodynamics at Swinburne University of Technology then Swinburne Technical College in 1966 while studying social psychology as a postgraduate part-time at the University of Melbourne He completed a Master of Arts in Psychology in 1970, and then completed postgraduate research in social psychology Williamson later lectured in social psychology at Swinburne, where he remained until 1972


Williamson first turned to writing and performing in plays in 1967 with La Mama Theatre Company and The Pram Factory, and rose to prominence in the early 1970s, with works such as Don's Party later turned into a 1976 film, a comic drama set during the 1969 federal election; and The Removalists 1971 He also collaborated on the screenplays for Gallipoli 1981 and The Year of Living Dangerously 1982 Williamson's work as a playwright focuses on themes of politics, loyalty and family in contemporary urban Australia, particularly in two of its major cities, Melbourne and Sydney

Major stage works include The Club, The Department, Travelling North, The Perfectionist, Emerald City, Money and Friends and Brilliant Lies

Recent work has included Dead White Males, a satirical approach to postmodernism and university ethics; Up for Grabs, which starred Madonna in its London premiere; and the Jack Manning Trilogy Face To Face, Conversation, Charitable Intent which take as their format community conferencing, a new form of restorative justice, in which Williamson became interested in the late 1990s and early 2000s

In recent years he has alternated work between larger stages including Soul Mates, Amigos and Influence – all premiered with the Sydney Theatre Company and smaller ones including the Manning trilogy, Flatfoot and Operator, which premiered at the Ensemble Theatre

In 2005, he announced his retirement from main-stage productions, although he has continued to write new plays for the mainstage, many produced with the Ensemble Theatre He had a serious health problem, cardiac arrhythmia, which had required frequent hospitalisation An operation resolved this issue, but then in 2009 he had a mild stroke, from which he recovered fully1

Williamson was instrumental in the founding of the Noosa Longweekend Festival, a cultural festival in Noosa, Queensland

In August 2006 Cate Molloy, former Australian Labor Party member of the Queensland Parliament for Noosa, announced that Williamson would be her campaign manager as she sought to recontest her seat as an Independent

In 2007 appeared Lotte's Gift, a one-woman show starring Karin Schaupp, which traced a journey through Schaupp's own life as well as those of her mother and grandmother the Lotte of the title

Personal lifeedit

He is married to Kristin Williamson sister of independent filmmaker Chris Löfvén and have homes in Sydney and on Queensland's Sunshine Coast They have five adult children and 11 grandchildren1 His stepson Felix Williamson and his son Rory Williamson are both Australian actors Rory starred as Stork in the 2001 revival of The Coming of Stork at the Stables Theatre in Sydney, produced by Felix's company, the Bare Naked Theatre Company

Honours and awardsedit

  • 1971– British George Devine Award
  • 1972 – Australian Writers Guild Awgie Award for best stage play and best script with The Removalists
  • 1983 – appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia2
  • 1988 – Honorary Doctor of Letters, University of Sydney
  • 1990 – Honorary Doctor of Letters, Monash University
  • 1995 – Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Drama Award for Sanctuary 3
  • 1996 – chosen to deliver the inaugural Andrew Olle Media Lecture
  • 1996 – Honorary Doctor of Letters, Swinburne University of Technology
  • 2004 – Honorary Doctor of Letters, University of Queensland
  • 2005 – JC Williamson Award
  • 2012 – Nominated Senior Australian of the Year

Australian Film Institute Awardsedit

  • 1977 – AFI Award, Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted, 'Don's Party'
  • 1981 – AFI Award, Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted, 'Gallipoli'
  • 1987 – AFI Award, Best Screenplay, Adapted, 'Travelling North'4
  • 2009 – AFI Award, Best Screenplay, Adapted, 'Balibo' Shared with director Robert Connolly



  • The Indecent Exposure of Anthony East 1968
  • You've Got to Get on Jack 1970
  • The Coming of Stork 1970
  • The Removalists 1971
  • Don's Party 1971
  • Jugglers Three 1972
  • What If You Died Tomorrow 1973
  • The Department 1975
  • A Handful of Friends 1976
  • The Club 1977
  • Travelling North 1979
  • Celluloid Heroes 1980
  • The Perfectionist 1982
  • Sons of Cain 1985
  • Emerald City 1987
  • Top Silk 1989
  • Siren 1990
  • Money and Friends 1991
  • Brilliant Lies 1993
  • Sanctuary 1994
  • Dead White Males 1995
  • Heretic 1996
  • Third World Blues 1997, An Adaptation of Jugglers Three
  • After The Ball 1997
  • Corporate Vibes 1999
  • Face to Face 2000
  • The Great Man 2000
  • Up for Grabs 2001
  • A Conversation 2001
  • Charitable Intent 2001
  • Soulmates 2002
  • Flatfoot 2003
  • Birthrights 2003
  • Amigos 2004
  • Operator 2005
  • Influence 2005
  • Lotte's Gift 2007 – also known as Strings Under My Fingers
  • Scarlett O'Hara at the Crimson Parrot 2008
  • Let The Sunshine5 2009
  • Don Parties On 2011
  • At Any Cost 2011
  • Nothing Personal 2011
  • When Dad Married Fury 2011
  • Managing Carmen 2012
  • Happiness 2013
  • Rupert – about Rupert Murdoch
  • Cruise Control 2014
  • Dream Home 2015

Box office revenue of playsedit

Sydney Theatre Company box office revenue from David Williamson plays:

  • 1982 — The Perfectionist $357,088
  • 1985 — Sons of Cain $382,771
  • 1987 — Emerald City $707,918
  • 1990 — Siren $624,626
  • 1992 — Money and Friends $1221 million
  • 1993 — Brilliant Lies $851,000
  • 1995 — Dead White Males $1184 million
  • 1996 — Heretic $129 million
  • 1997 — Third World Blues $771,822
  • 1998 — After the Ball $1132 million
  • 1999 — Corporate Vibes $1409 million
  • 2000 — The Great Man $1289 million
  • 2001 — Up for Grabs $125 million
  • 2002 — Soulmates $1333 million
  • 2003 — The Club $1387 million remake
  • 2004 — Amigos $1405 million
  • 2005 — Influence $1719 million



  1. ^ a b Michael Shmith, "Lunch with David Williamson", The Age, 7 September 2013, Life&Style, p 3
  2. ^ It's an Honour
  3. ^ "1995 Human Rights Medal and Awards" Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Archived from the original on 27 September 2007 Retrieved 11 August 2007 
  4. ^ http://wwwimdbcom/title/tt0094176/awards
  5. ^ "Let The Sunshine" Archived from the original on 12 January 2012 Retrieved 11 July 2009 

External linksedit

  • OFFICIAL WEBSITE of David Williamson
  • VIDEO David's Wife Kristin talks about writing his biography at ABC FORA
  • David Williamson:Speaker, Talks on Big Ideas – ABC TV
  • David Williamson at the Internet Movie Database
  • Sydney Morning Herald
  • David Williamson at Live Performance Australia Hall of Fame
  • David Williamson playscripts on AustralianPlaysorg
  • David Williamson Australian theatre credits at AusStage

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