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The Jane Street Theatre was intended as a place where the Old Tote Theatre Company could 'have another theatre, no matter how modest, in which new Australian plays can be produced, simply but professionally', according to one of its program notes in 1966. An initiative of Robert Quentin with funding from the University of NSW Drama Foundation and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation of Lisbon, it was a joint enterprise of the Old Tote Company, the National Institute of Dramatic Arts and the university's School of Drama. The university leased a former chapel, adjacent to the campus, and converted it into a theatre. The opening night included two new Australian plays - I've Come about the Assassination by Tony Morphett and The Pier by Michael Thomas - and a revival of Edward Geoghegan's 1844 The Currency Lass. Robin Lovejoy directed all three.
In 1969 NIDA assumed the management of Jane Street as a part of its advanced course. Under the direction of John Clark a season of two or three plays, often specially commissioned, became an annual event. The outstanding premiere was of the burlesque The Legend of King O'Malley by Michael Boddy and Robert Ellis in 1970. Its success encouraged its director, John Bell, and others to establish the Nimrod Theatre Company. The most successful production at Jane Street was Don’s Party by David Williamson, directed by Clark, in 1972. Between 1966 and 1981, some 28 Australian plays were produced, including early works by Alex Buzo, George Hutchinson, Thomas Keneally and Rodney Milgate. George Whaley's popular adaptation of Steele Rudd's On Our Selection was produced in 1979 and Louis Esson's The Bride of Gospel Place was revived in 1980.
In 1978 the policy changed and classics relating to the school syllabus were performed at Jane Street. Money raised from tours and transfers was invested and went towards funding the NIDA Company, which began in 1990.
|Title||Jane Street Theatre|
|Source||Philip Parsons, Victoria Chance, Companion To Theatre In Australia, Currency Press with Cambridge University Press, Sydney, NSW, 1995|
|Citation||Ron Blair, Jane Street Theatre, Companion To Theatre In Australia, 1995, 305|