Roger Covell’s Theatre Talk
All My Sons by Arthur Miller
The Barbara Sisley Memorial Play
One night in August, 1925, 12 actors stood on the stage of the Theatre Royal, Brisbane, and acknowledged the applause of a large and indulgent audience.
It was the first night of the first production of the newly-formed Brisbane Repertory Society (175 members all told). As the applause continued, one of the cast introduced the producer, a time-honoured theatrical custom. Miss Barbara Sisley, tall and slender, half stooped and half bowed in acknowledgement in a way that was to become familiar to thousands of Brisbane playgoers.
From that night until her death in 1945, Barbara Sisley was ‘Repertory’ to the public. But her own pioneering of amateur theatre in Brisbane went back even further than 1925. An ex-professional herself, she had organised the Barbara Sisley Players before the end of World War I. The annual memorial to her, formerly a lecture, is this year to be a play, Arthur Miller's powerful All My Sons will be quite a contrast to A. A. Milne's The Dover Road of 1925 memory. It will be given in the Albert Hall on September 29 and 30, and October 1 and 2.
One of the people who will give appreciative footlight talks about Barbara Sisley will be Clare Clarke, who was a member of that first cast in the Theatre Royal. Incidentally, attention to detail was sometimes more strict in 1925 than it is now. A full three-course dinner for The Dover Road was kept constantly hot on a gas stove at the rear of the stage.
The Courier Mail, 19 September 1954