The 1980s - People and Projects

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By the 1980s more Australian works were being produced, although there was increasing competition for their performing rights, especially from the Nimrod. Until Miriam Hampson retired as Secretary in 1982, steady correspondence with Soviet organisations continued and in 1980 money was raised to send athletes to the Moscow Olympics. To mark the New’s 50th birthday a play script competition attracted 92 entries; of the co-winners only John Upton’s Waiting for Rupert Murdoch was produced.

John Meredith, founder of the Bushwhackers, submitted his version of Oedipus as a ballad opera set among Greek immigrants in present-day Sydney, the hero Eddie a foul-mouthed cocaine-sniffing guitarist in a rock band The Stars of Mykonos. After his involvement in a gang rape of a Greek woman who turns out to be his mother, Eddie blinds himself with a broken ouzo bottle and throws himself off a balcony.

Also marking the anniversary was a display “50 New Years” in the Exhibition Hall of the Opera House. Speakers included ex NT President Maurie Keane (MLA for Woronora 1973-88) who also attended a testimonial for retiring NT Secretary Miriam Hampson in Sydney Town Hall with fellow ALP politicians Bob Tickner, Tom Uren, Senator Arthur Gietzelt and Lord Mayor Doug Sutherland.

Who ever would have thought it

That we’d see our Mim retire

If anyone had said it

We’d have called them a liar

But if you think of it clearly it’s not so odd

What else can happen to someone as old as God?

With a generous bequest from the estate of Jean Blue amenities were added to the office and the backstage area remodelled. The rehearsal room was named in her memory.

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