The One Day of the Year by Alan Seymour (1962)
When Brisbane Repertory produced The One Day of the Year in 1962 it had been 15 years since an Australian play had appeared it its repertoire.
The ‘drought’ was finally broken in 1962 with a highly successful season of Alan Seymour’s The One Day of the Year, already produced in every other State in Australia but never before in Brisbane. Directed by Stephens, the cast comprised Donald McTaggart, Franklyn Evans, Gwen Wheeler, Michael Dawkins, and Ann Geddes. It did such “remarkable business”[i] that Stephens would have extended the season except for the unavailability of Albert Hall. She was proud of the fact that Repertory brought this contemporary Australian play to Brisbane having “obtained special permission from the Elizabethan Theatre Trust for its performance” and “presented it as a Professional Production, the Amateur Rights being unavailable”.[ii] This new work (it had premiered in 1960) with working-class characters dealing controversially with Anzac Day, was a refreshingly provocative choice by Stephens. Katharine Brisbane calls the play “a turning point in the post-war movement away from British gentility towards examination of the knotty working-class roots of Australian life”.[iii] Despite its great success, it marked no turning point for Brisbane Repertory and it would be another seven years before any other full-length Australian play was produced.