ACT Heritage Library Manuscript Collection

HMSS 0171 Women on a Shoestring Records

Scope and content notes

Call Number

HMSS 0171

Collection Women on a Shoestring Records

Date Range

1979-2007

Quantity

2.62m (16 manuscript boxes and one oversized file)

Access Conditions

open with execption of video records which are not available for public viewing under the MEAA Award, and some restricted financial records

Copying Conditions

with attribution

Related Collections

HMSS 0152 Eureka! Theatre Company; HMSS 0354 Ann Nugent; Jigsaw Theatre in Education [not yet processed]

Women's Theatre Workshop was formed in 1979 by Camilla Blunden and Robyn Alewood both to create theatre using women's stories and also to increase the employment of women in all aspects of theatre, from direction and administration to writing and performing plays. It became professional in 1984 and was renamed Women on a Shoestring. It is one of Canberra's longest running professional theatre companies.

As a company without ongoing funding, project grants and fundraising are all important. Nonetheless, it has toured extensively, taking its stories to communities across Australia and in the process gathering material for new plays. Works have explored the issues of aging, women on the land, female adventurers and menopause. Stories are collected by a variety of people and this material is then workshopped with actors, directors and musicians before a writer is commissioned. Collaboration and oral histories have been especially important in creating characters that reflected the varied realities of Indigenous, multicultural and rural women.

In 2004 an exhibition at the Canberra Museum and Gallery celebrated 20 years of the company, featuring reviews, photographs, sets, costumes and other ephemera. Women on a Shoestring has won several awards including a Canberra Critics Circle Award, a Special Mention from the Centre for Australian Cultural Studies Awards for their contribution to Australian culture (1999) and the 2000 MEAA Green Room Award.

Camilla Blunden was a performer for Jigsaw Theatre in Education for five years, then undertook a Women’s Directors course at Nimrod in 1980, after which she directed many independent productions including Theatre ACT’s lunchtime seasons. She was also a member of Eureka! Theatre Company. This collection also includes various material arising from her involvement with these other organisations.

Robyn Alewood did many productions with The Rocks Players in Sydney before joining Jigsaw Theatre in Education. She was involved as director and actor in some independent productions, was Artistic Director with Blue Folk Community Arts and was an administrative assistant with Theatre ACT before becoming Community Arts Administrator for the Blue Mountains, NSW. 

Box List

Box No.

Description

Quantity

Date Range

1

Photographs and Slides Women’s Theatre Workshop and Women on a Shoestring productions

  • Alison Mary Faigen, November 1979, directed by Camilla Blunden; 5 black and white photographs 15x20 cm and 17.5x16 cm
  • Old Girls Never Die, 1980; 11 black and white photographs 17.5x12.5 cm
  • Glimpses into Her Story; 3 black and white photographs 17.5x12.5 cm
  • From Mad to Nuts; 3 black and white photographs 13x9 cm
  • The Enemy Within, 1982; 1 black and white photograph 13x9 cm
  • 4 unidentified black and white photographs 13x9 cm
  • 3 unidentified colour photographs 11x9 cm and 13x9 cm
  • 12 unidentified black and white photographs A4
  • 22 of a numbered set of 24 35mm colour transparencies, unidentified production

1 folder

1979 - ?

1

Third international Women Playwrights Conference, 3-10 July 1994: Final Report

1 book

1994

1

Correspondence from Gary Humphries MLA re revised administration of community activities grants

11 sleeve

1997

1

Scripts and Dramaturgy May include research papers, oral history, draft scripts, correspondence

  • Miss Adventure 1984
  • Old Girls Never Die 1980
  • We’re Not Ratbags 1985
  • At the Crossroads [working title The Hidden Heart] 1996-1998; includes Julie Williams the Invisible Farmer – a Report on Australian Farm Women, Canberra 1992

4 folders

1980 – 1998

1

Unattributed music manuscripts:

  • ‘Organised Tour’
  • ‘Royal Commission’

1 sleeve

1

MEAA ACT Green Room Award certificate

1 sleeve

2000

1

Newscuttings, publicity material, articles, reviews

1 folder

1978 – 1999

1

At the Crossroads; songs about women on the land

2 CDs

Ca 1998

1

Galley proofs for Over the Hill poster

1 folder

1

Creditor list The Hidden Heart

1 sleeve

1

CMAG 20th birthday exhibition: objects list and loan agreement

1 folder

2004

1

Promotional Material

  • Over the Hill press material 1992
  • Empty Suitcases and Over the Hill 1995

Mostly by production in display folders; may include photographs, media releases, posters, correspondence, newscuttings, questionnaire responses

2 display folders

1992, 1995

2

Promotional Material

  • At the Crossroads touring 2000
  • At the Crossroads press material
  • Girls of the Reel touring 2002
  • Girls of the Reel 2001
  • Girls of the Reel press material
  • Empty Suitcases 1993-1994

Mostly by production in display folders; may include photographs, media releases, posters, correspondence, newscuttings, questionnaire responses

6 display folders

1993 – 2002

3

Promotional Material

  • Mother Madre 1992
  • At the Crossroads 1999
  • At the Crossroads photographs 1999
  • 9 35mm colour slides, undated [most are underexposed]

Mostly by production in display folders; may include photographs, media releases, posters, correspondence, newscuttings, questionnaire responses

3 display folders, 1 envelope

3

Awards

Certificate for Special Mention in the Centre for Australian Cultural Studies (CACS) Canberra awards, and related correspondence and photograph, 1999 and newscuttings relating to awards 2000

1 sleeve

1999 – 2000

3

Computer Disk and Recording Tapes

  • 3.25” floppy disc
  • Mirramu promotion
  • Anything tape

1 computer disk and 2 video tapes

3

Recording Tapes of Performances

Betacam: Girls of the Reel video segment, ScreenSound Australia; B&W, sound, 36 minutes, 25fps; 11 April 2001

1 video cassette

2001

4

Recording Tapes of Performances

VHS tapes:

  • Over the Hill at La Mama, 1990
  • Over the Hill no date
  • Child of the Hurricane evening performance 24 April 1991
  • Empty Suitcases 12 March 1994
  • Empty Suitcases with Hilary, not Julie, 1994
  • At the Crossroads no date
  • At the Crossroads at The Street Studio, 22 August 1998
  • Virgins, Vamps & Heroines and The Sentimental Bloke 1919, ScreenSound Australia, ca 2000
  • Girls of the Reel 2001
  • Girls of the Reel, directed for tour by Camilla Blunden, 2002
  • The Slippery Slope 16 October 2002

11 VHS cassettes

1990 – 2002

4

Recording Tapes of Performances

  • Girls of the Reel
  • Girls of the Reel images for poster/flyer
  • Girls of the Reel performance CD version 3 3 March 2001 [annotated old version]
  • Girls of the Reel pictures
  • Girls of the Reel first 17 cues only, as of 30 April 2001
  • Girls of the Reel version 1, complete sound plot as of 1 May 2001
  • Girls of the Reel show CD 31 July 2002, made 1 October 2003 [2 copies]
  • Girls of the Reel draft CD 26 July 2002
  • Girls of the Reel version 2, 40 cues, 2 May 2001
  • Girls of the Reel before tour; Alexis Beebe, Maria de Marco, Julie McElhone, 2002
  • At the Crossroads The Street Theatre recording of show 1998
  • At the Crossroads audio CD, performance CD, backup 2, created 25 July 2000
  • At the Crossroads audio CD, performance CD/live, backup 1, created 25 July 2000
  • At the Crossroads vocals CD, not performance [2 copies]
  • At the Crossroads sound [2 copies], no date
  • At the Crossroads Banana Song
  • Butterfly Dandy 2005
  • Butterfly Dandy recording of show June 2005
  • Over the Hill at La Mama, Melbourne, 1990
  • Empty Suitcases CTC Courtyard Studio, 2nd season 1994
  • The Slippery Slope The Street Theatre, 16 October 2002
  • Women on a Shoestring, images for poster, poster flyer 19 September 2002 [2 CDs]
  • Women on a Shoestring version 2, open ’97 file [2 CDs]
  • 6 songs
  • Picture of the McDonagh Sisters, ScreenSound Australia
  • untitled CD

31 CDs

1990 – 2002

5

Asministative Files

  • Minutes of AGM, ca. 1984-2004
  • Employee superannuation [restricted], 2000-2002
  • Correspondence received, 1997-1998
  • Correspondence received on At the Crossroads, 1997-2000
  • Publicity and technical information for At the Crossroads, ca 1998
  • Press cuttings At the Crossroads, 1998
  • Promotional package At the Crossroads, 1996-2000

7 folders

Ca. 1984-2004

5 – 8

APPLICATION FILES

5

Application files

  • South Australian Country Arts Trust – Riverland, Contains correspondence in and out; application forms; promotional material, 1994-1995
  • South Australian Country Arts Trust – Southern and Central, 1994-1995
  • South Australian Country Arts Trust – general information, 1994
  • South Australian Country Arts Trust – Northern, 1994
  • South Australian Country Arts Trust – Southeast Region, 1994
  • Tour negotiations with Vitalstastix, Adelaide, for tour of Empty Suitcases, June 1995, 1994-1995
  • Northern Territory accommodation, transport, fares, August-September 1998
  • NSW Mark Viner tour 1999 At the Crossroads, 1999
  • NSW ATC ’99 Southern Tablelands and Southwest Australia At the Crossroads, 1999
  • Tasmania ATC, 1999
  • Applications for funding, 2000-2002
  • Women in Film admin Girls of the Reel, 2001
  • Women in Film, 2001
  • Slippery Slope publicity, invitations, etc, 2002-2003
  • Playing Australia tour 2002, 2000-2003
  • Playing Australia application Girls of the Reel 2003, 2002-2003
  • Girls of the Reel publicity, 2001
  • Application for funding, 2001

18 folders

1994 – 2003

6

Application Files

  • The Slippery Slope / The Next Hill grant, Health PACT, CAPO, Myer Foundation, 2000-1001
  • Arts ACT grant 2002 The Next Hill and The Slippery Slope, 2001-2003
  • The Next Hill and The Slippery Slope – organisations; people; research, 2002
  • Australia Council application The Slippery Slope 2003, 2002-2003
  • Admin The Slippery Slope, 2002
  • The Future and The Slippery Slope invitation list, ca, 2002
  • The Slippery Slope 2003, 2003
  • NSW Ministry submission for ATC 2000 tour, 1999-2000
  • Mothers and Daughters 1992, 1992
  • South Australian Country Arts 2000, 1997-2000
  • Short NSW tour 17-19 September At the Crossroads, ca. 1998
  • Reports Mothers and Daughters 1992, 1992-1993
  • Funding correspondence 1993 Empty Suitcases, 1992-1993
  • Did You Say Love? (first Women on a Shoestring production), ca. 1983-1984
  • Katherine Susannah Pritchard, 1991
  • Child of the Hurricane,  1991-1994
  • Over the Hill publicity package, 1990-1993
  • Over the Hill admin and old stuff, 1990-1992
  • Organisation letter 1994 March season Empty Suitcases, 1993
  • Sex Show submissions 1995-1996, 1994-1996
  • Application 1995 Sex Show, 1994
  • Empty suitcases and Over the Hill – South Australia here we come July 1994 International Women’s Playwrights Conference, 1993-1994

22 folders

Ca. 1983-2003

7

Application Files

  • Applications Chrissie Shaw and Cathy Mann 1994
  • Box office 1993 season Empty Suitcases, 1993
  • Empty Suitcases season 1, 1985 – 1993
  • Tasmania tour 1994 Empty Suitcases, 1993 – 1994
  • Empty Suitcases season 2, 1994
  • Grant application, 1993 – 1994
  • Applications 1993, 1992 – 1993
  • Finance Co-operative return season Empty Suitcases 1994, 1994
  • 1995 Northern Territory and South Australia tour Empty Suitcases – publicity; programs; posters etc, Ca 1995
  • Empty Suitcases Victoria tour 1994, 1994
  • NSW Playing Australia 1995, 1994 – 1995
  • Empty Suitcases tour to local regions – Cultural Council October/November 1994, 1993 – 1994
  • Over the Hill touring, 1994 – 1995
  • Empty Suitcases fundraiser 30 May 195, 1995
  • Insurance; Workers Compensation, 1992 – 1996
  • Contracts Travellers and Adventures, 1993
  • Queensland 2000, 1998 – 1999
  • Playing Australia – Victoria Tour information, 1999
  • Expression of Interest forms, NSW tour, 1998
  • Wollongong: ATC August, 2000
  • Playing Australia 1994 South Australia and NSW, 1994
  • Freight, travel etc, 1995
  • Alice Springs, 1993 – 1995
  • Victoria, 1994 – 1995
  • Bank statements and taxation information, 1991 – 1994

25 folders

1985-1995

8

Application Files

  • Touring, 1993 – 1994
  • Empty Suitcases touring correspondence, 1993 – 1994
  • Ongoing correspondence for attention, 1993 – 1995
  • Touring ATC 2000 NSW, Victoria, South Australia – Playing Australia and NSW Ministry of the Arts, 2000
  • Bank statements and invoices, 2002
  • Girls of the Reel finances and administration, undated
  • Budget papers, 1995
  • Superannuation [restricted], 1993 – 1995
  • Taxation, 1993 – 1995
  • Financial records, 1994 – 1995
  • Empty Suitcases publicity package and schools information, 1994 – 1995
  • Tilleys Night 16 June 1999, 1999
  • Mailing list / publicity list At the Crossroads, 1998
  • 1998 Playing Australia, 1997 – 1998
  • Reports / applications 1996/1997/1998, 1996 – 1998
  • Bank statements etc, 1990 – 1992
  • Graphics for Over the Hill publicity, 1990
  • Sponsorship, 1998
  • Applications for funding 1989, 1988 – 1989
  • Women in Film – creative development; application; papers; acquittal, 1999 – 2000

21 folders

1993-2002

9

Administrative Files

  • Financial management, 1990 – 1992
  • Wages books and group certificates [restricted], 1992 – 1994
  • Income and expenditure cash book, 1984 – 1994
  • Audit, 1991
  • Bank statements and financial, 1993
  • [estrays for filing]
  • Eureka Theatre Company minutes in book and loose, 1990 – 1996
  • Eureka Theatre Company rubber stamp

1 folder, 2 volumes and a rubberstamp

1990-1996

10

Administrative Files - Production script for At the Crossroads, including tour information

1 lever arch binder

Ca 1998

11

Administrative Files

  • Superannuation – handbooks, correspondence, personal information [restricted], 2005
  • Taxation, 1999-2004
  • Wages book, taxation [restricted], 1996-1999
  • Workers compensation, 2001-2004
  • Applications 2001-2003; Playing Australia funding agreement 2004; minutes; financial records; correspondence, 2001-2004
  • Accounts: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
  • Records of payment, bank statements, 2004

11 files

1996-2005

Administrative files

  • Applications 2004 for The Power of Pants (working title The Weaker Sex); includes unattributed sheet music, research; , 2003 – 2004
  • Agreements for commissioning writers for The Power of Pants and Butterfly Dandy, 2004 – 2005
  • Mailing and invitation lists 2005, Performers’ Certified Agreement 2002-2005, including pay scales and allowance rates, 2005
  • Guest Book Girls of the Reel 2002 tour, 2002
  • Playing Australia application for Girls of the Reel Tasmanian tour 2004 in a book, 2004 – 2005
  • Publication of At the Crossroads and Empty Suitcases by Ginninderra Press; including correspondence; memorandum of agreement; permission by writer; financial records; order forms, 2003 – 2005
  • Butterfly Dandy (Chrissie’s file) including letter of agreement, correspondence, invitation lists, pro forma letters, register of members of the company, newsletter, minutes, 2005
  • Playing Australia tours of NSW, Victoria and Tasmania - contact lists and correspondence, 1999 – 2002
  • Butterfly Dandy funding application, 2005
  • Arts ACT funding application for 2006 for a Slice of Life – Women and Power and staging of Lighthouse; includes playscript of Lighthouse (also called Light of My Life and The Lights) , 2004 – 2005
  • Administration papers including financial records, minutes, correspondence, biographical notes, 2002 – 2005
  • Butterfly Dandy funding application, 2005
  • General mail, 2002 – 2005
  • Funding applications for 2005 – ACT Arts Funding Program The Power of Pants (later called Butterfly Dandy); Australia Council for the Arts The Lights, 2004 – 2005
  • Administration papers including address lists, PAYG and taxation papers, bank statements, production and itinerary notes for The Slippery Slope for 2006, business plan 2006-2009, publicity and touring material for Butterfly Dandy , 2005 – 2006
  • Office day book 7 September 2000 – 4 March 2006, 2000 – 2006

14 folders, 2 books

2000-2009

Administrative Files

  • Financial records, audit report, 2004
  • Butterfly Dandy administrative file; includes rehearsal and performance schedule; correspondence; program and galley proofs; Street Theatre technical specifications and production notes; contact list; budget papers; taxation and superannuation papers; day book; financial papers; contracts and agreements; newsletter, 2005
  • Financial records, 2005
  • Financial records including workers compensation, insurance, superannuation [restricted], 2007
  • The Slippery Slope program and publicity material; publicity material for the company, 2005
  • Financial records including records of grant expenditure 16 January 1997 – 1 December 1998; correspondence; general expenditure 2000, 1997 – 2000

7 folders

1997-2007

14

Scripts mostly written for Women on a Shoestring but includes some performed by Eureka! Theatre Company - Includes ideas, development, drafts, production texts.

  • At the Crossroads by Jan Cornall, developed from Women on the Land Show - ideas
  • At the Crossroads draft 4, 1998
  • Dancing Class, from The Ghastliest Girl in the World
  • The Fourth Tomorrow, script
  • The Art of Public Speaking by Mary Hutchison; first performance 5 March 1983, 1983
  • Empty Suitcases director’s copy
  • Over the Hill stage management script, 1990
  • Butterfly Dandy rehearsal draft 2; publicity package; DVD production (2 copies); CD of pictures, 2005
  • FOCA 2001 Playread: includes music for At the Crossroads; financial records; Festival of Contemporary Arts publicity material; registration for FOCA, 2001
  • Did You Say Love? By Mary Hutchison and Kate McNamara, also performed by Pie-in-the-Sky Theatre, 1983
  • A Night on the PS, Eureka! Theatre Company performance February-March 1993; a series of sketches about the public service; Camilla Blunden was then President of Eureka! and an actor in the production, 1993
  • Love Child by Joanna Murray-Smith, Eureka! Theatre Company performance at The Street Theatre
  • The Enemy Within by Grazyna Monvid in 2 scrapbooks, directed by Camilla Blundenlimpses into Her Story and Women Down Under scrapbook

11 folders, 1 book, 3 scrapbooks

1983-2005

15

Scrapbook of newscuttings about Paulette, Isabel and Phyllis McDonagh, who made four feature films in the 1920s and 1930s in Sydney and several short sporting documentaries. Includes information on a film they prepared but did not produce, The Heart of a Nation, on the new federal capital at Canberra. The cuttings are undated except for the final one

1 scrapbook

1926 – 1971

15

The Slippery Slope, including publicity material; newscuttings; reviews; colour photographs and CD of the production; black and white publicity photographs of actors, with contact sheets; feedback letters and questionnaires

1 display book

2002

15

Butterfly Dandy, including publicity material; newscuttings; reviews; colour publicity photographs of actors; program; CD of the cover artwork; CD of the poster concept

1 display book

2005

15

20th anniversary scrapbooks, including historical articles, colour photographs of selected stage settings, biographical material, exhibition at Canberra Museum and Gallery, book launch, program of performance at La Mama, Sydney

2 display books

2003 – 2004

15

Cheque books, deposit books, receipt books, bank statement

1 packet

2000 – 2007

15

Address books

2 books

Undated

15

Women on a Shoestring Theatre Company rubber stamp

1 stamp

15

Butterfly Dandy poster

1 roll

2005

15

Girls of the Reel stage design Act 1

1 folder

16

Eureka! Theatre Company

  • Paul C McConnell scripts of short plays or sketches: Bargain!!!, Five Go Mad in the House of Assembly (1995); Stressed Out, 1990s
  • Spumante Romantica by Beatrix Christian, 1992; script with annotations, 1992
  • Funding, contracts and correspondence relating to Blue Murder by Beatrix Christian, 1996
  • Publicity material for The Pope and the Witch and Bloomsbury Bash, 1990s

5 folders

1992-1996

16

Jigsaw Theater Company

  • ACT Now script with Vashti Waterhouse for a documentary entertainment about the growth of Canberra and the issue of local government, ca 1973
  • The Empty House by Jigsaw Company 1975, for preschoolers
  • Why Canberra by Canberra Childrens Theatre Inc, 1975
  • 700,000; A Farcical Chase into the Black Hole of Unemployment by John Romeril, 1980s
  • Loves Me, Loves Me Not compiled by Bettina Krauss, ca 1988

1 folder

16

Ensemble Theatre Project

Documents the pilot project aimed at establishing a professional theatre company in Canberra supporting both mainstream and community theatre by providing an artistic and management core for local and interstate artists. Includes Statement of Principles; discussion papers; evaluations of productions; report of pilot project; 1986 annual report; 1987 production season plans

1 folder

1986-1987 

16 

ADMINISTRATIVE FILES (SUPPLEMENTARY)

Papers relating to incorporation, 1984; financial records including cheque book, deposit book, withdrawal book, bank statements, profit and loss;  Minutes of annual general meetings, audited accounts; Returns to Registrar of Associations 

1 folder  1984;1998-2006