Play - Reedy River

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Author: Dick Diamond

Produced: 1953, 1954, 1960 (twice), 1963, 1969, 1973, 1979, 1982, 1988, and 2002 (a concert version). A musical "as warm as a handshake", Reedy River was hugely successful for Sydney New Theatre and has assisted its finances more than once. It was first produced by Melbourne New Theatre, and subsequently by New Theatres in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Newcastle. The Sydney show also toured suburban and NSW country centres.

The musical deals with the aftermath of the 1891 shearers' strike and the birth of the Australian Trade Union movement.

Reedy River had a part in the birth of the Bushwhackers folk group and the revival of Australian folk music. It was a popular choice for musical societies and schools, and was staged in Montreal and in London at the Unity Theatre and the Little Theatre Club. It has been broadcast in Polish on Radio Warsaw and in Russian on Radio Moscow.

At a time of unofficial Press censorship of the left-wing New Theatre there was no mention of the early productions of Reedy River in the Sydney Morning Herald or the Age. In Sydney, although it broke the record for the longest running non-professional show, there was only one review, a few lines long and guarded in its praise, in a mainstream paper. "But", philosophised Bushwhacker Chris Kempster," it was pointed out to us we were bloody lucky to get even a mention".