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Australian Makes Grade In London
By A STAFF CORRESPONDENT IN LONDON
- A 32-YEAR-OLD Australian actor-playwright, Hugh
"^ Hastings, has written the first play about the epic of H.M.S. Amethyst. He hopes it may be produced in London after the production, scheduled for late this year, of another of his plays, "Seagulls over Sorrento."
H ASTI NGS - correct name,
Hugh Williamson; a relative of J. C. Williamson; born in Syd- ney in 1917-has had a chequered career since he came to London before the war.
But it is typical of those of
dozens of young Australian actors and actresses who arrive in Britain each year filled with hope and con-
At l8, he wrote his first play, "The .Quadrille," which was shown at the Savoy Theatre. Good naturedly he recalls: " 'The Sydney Morning Herald' gave it a 'stinker' of a criticism."
In 1936 he came to England. He had little luck with the British theatre-not many beginners do.
War broke out and he joined the Navy. Back in "civvy street" in 1946, he managed to get minor parts in several plays but they were all dismal "flops."
Then he gained his present job
HUGH HASTINGS" """"
understudying a "lead" in one of London's most successful comedies.
But Hastings had been writing plays-four of them-since 1944.
This autumn his luck turned. A Sunday Theatre Group agreed to produce his naval comedy, "Sea- gulls Over Sorrento," for one per- formance before an audience of
theatre managers t and producers.
The distinguished audience laughed and lapped it up and Hast- ings found five of London's leading theatres competing for the rights. It will be launched on a West End season before Christmas.
Meanwhile the drama of the Amethyst had captured Hasting's imagination and he decided to write a play about it.