The Barbara Sisley Memorial Play
One year after Barbara Sisley's death, George Landen Dann dedicated his play Caroline Chisholm to the memory of his great friend and mentor. The following tribute to Barbara, written by Dann, appeared in the program.
"From the time she arrived in Brisbane, many years ago, to open a studio for dramatic art and speech training, until her tragic death in November, 1945, Barbara Sisley worked almost unceasingly for the cultural advancement of this city. With genuine love, enthusiasm and practical assistance, she supported all phases of the arts - music, painting, writing - and her work in her studio, the various schools and Eisteddfodau is too well known to call for any further commendation.
Great as was her interest in all these branches, yet more especially was she interested in the Drama. She founded and pioneered the Brisbane Repertory Theatre and throughout the twenty-one years of its growth, very actively assisted in its management and welfare. Of the 128 major productions presented by the Society, Barbara Sisley was the producer of no less than 57. She became throughout Australia as has been so aptly stated of her, "A legend in her own lifetime."
Her kindness and generosity, her understanding, her firmness and enthusiasm, her graciousness -these are some of the personal qualities we remember her by. Her appreciation of the finer things of life, her determination of purpose to maintain them for the benefit of others, her achievements -these are the legacy she left to inspire us in continuing the work she began.
"And thus she lived among us, friend and leader,
Like one of Shakespeare's ladies-gay and gracious
In dignity she moved,
Held high the torch of art to light war's drabness
And weakling fears reproved."' By Emily Bulcock
It is fitting that this play, Caroline Chisholm, should be produced as a memorial to her. In its published form it is dedicated to her and on its first presentation in 1939 under the title of A Second Moses, it was Barbara Sisley who produced it.
As a tribute from audience, producer, players, stage crew and author, the revival of this play - the first of the Repertory Theatre's productions since her death - is rededicated-to her memory."
George Landen Dann