University of Melbourne in association with Melbourne Festival presents

It's Alive!


Featuring Elliot Gyger & Pierce Wilcox (Fly Away Peter), Daniel Raggett (1984) and scholars from the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne

In a society where cultural materials are being constantly recycled and reproduced, what are the processes and possibilities of putting adaptations on stage?

The prevalence of adaptations in this year’s Melbourne Festival, from Orwells’ 1984 and Malouf’s Fly Away Peter to children’s books The Rabbits and Masquerade, highlights the great appeal to artists and audiences alike of bringing powerful and well–loved works of art and literature to life. But beyond the recognition factor, adaptations raise complex questions about influence and originality, memory and value. Adaptation is a creative process in its own right, presenting distinctive challenges to artists, and intriguing interpretive opportunities for audience members. And, once begun, adaptations never end, enjoying rich and inventive afterlives in other times, places and media.

During this half–day event, Melbourne Festival artists will join Literature and Theatre Studies scholars from the University of Melbourne in creative and critical dialogue on the theme of adaptation. Talks on its history, theory and reception will combine with a roundtable discussion on the nitty–gritty of turning the words and pictures on a page into flesh and blood on the stage. All in all, the event promises both to examine and to exemplify how the creative energies and intellectual provocations unleashed by stage adaptations live on long after the curtain comes down.


Paul Rae, English and Theatre Studies, University of Melbourne (Chair)
Sarah Balkin, English and Theatre Studies, University of Melbourne
Andrew Fuhrmann, theatre critic
Joe Hughes, English and Theatre Studies, University of Melbourne
Eddie Paterson, Creative Writing, University of Melbourne
Gillian Russell, Gerry Higgins Chair in Irish Studies, University of Melbourne
Daniel Raggett, Associate Director, 1984
John Sheehy, Adaptor & Director, The Rabbits
Elliot Gyger, Musician, Fly Away Peter
Pierce Wilcox, Libretto, Fly Away Peter