Person - Margaret Barr

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MARGARET BARR (1904 - 1991)

Bohemian, tanned and Jesus-sandaled, Margaret Barr conducted dance drama classes at 167 Castlereagh Street where she scrubbed the floors ("the floor does not exist") before lessons. At St Peters Lane she choreographed dance drama in Sandhog 1962 and On Stage Vietnam 1967 but pulled out of America Hurrah! 1968. She considered using NT as a permanent venue for her performances but stayed with the Teachers Federation Hall where there was no danger of the space being double booked. Some of her shows were staged at the Conservatorium.

Margaret was born in Bombay on 29 November 1904, schooled in California, and studied dance drama with Martha Graham in New York in the 1920s. In the 1930s she taught at an experimental school in Devon and opened a studio in London. A dance partner was Bruce Hart, left-wing and a conscientious objector. They married and on the outbreak of war went to Auckland NZ where Margaret was a movement tutor with the WEA.

Some time after separating from Bruce in 1948 she travelled on a sailing ship with Walter Brown to Sydney where she founded the Margaret Barr Dance Group in 1952. From 1953 until 1990 seasons of her original dance-drama works were mounted annually. Margaret Barr died of cancer on 29 May 1991.

Margaret Barr has an Australian Dictionary of Biography entry.


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