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For Australian Writers
With the restrictions on the im- portation of magazines and books published abroad, the present affords a golden opportunity for budding Australian novelists and play writers, in the opinion of Mr Hartney Arthur, Sydney play- wright and film director, who is visiting Hobart.
Mr Arthur, who is a Tasmanian, is manager of a chain of New South Wales theatres, and is engaged in the production of Dyrnphna Cusack's "Red Sky of Morning." He stated yester- day that a year or two ago he estab- lished a publishing house in Sydney, and in the first year 10 Australian plays which had not previously been pub- lished had been placed on the market.
"I have hopes while in Tasmania of unearthing new play writers," said Mr Arthur. "The present offers a golden opportunity to establish the Australian writer in his rightful position, and the success of numerous Australian plays leaves no doubt about the ability of local writers to produce the goods."
Mr Arthur, besides directing, has done some acting, and he figures in "A Yank in Australia," which will have
its Australian premiere in Brisbane on Nov. It. He is interested also in the stage, and he said he hoped to produce In Melbourne and in Sydney next year the stage play "The First Johanna," by Dorothy Bluett. With any encourage- ment Hobart also would be included in the company's itinerary.
An all-Australian play, one of the scenes of "The First Johanna" was laid in Government House, Hobart.
Mr Arthur sees great possibilities for Australian films, and already has plans for the production of others in the near future, including "Daybreak," a Tas- manian play by Catherine Shepherd, recently produced by Hobart Reper-
Mr Arthur commended Repertory for the work it is doing in Hobart, but he did not altogether agree with its pro- grammes. He considered more Austra- lian plays should be included. Such plays as "Fountains Beyond" and "Touch of Silk" should have a place in every Australian Repertory theatre. Catherine Shepherd was one of Aus- tralia's most competent play writers, he said, and Tasmanians should be proud of the part she was playing in the
Mr Arthur added that he was not impressed by the idea of a national theatre as outlined by Mr Leslie Hay len He thought the one hope was a scheme of community theatres, par- ticularly in rural and small districts where the nucleus could be built up for a theatre that would come into the lives of the people and become part of them. It could be used for educational as well as amusement purposes.