The MS 2272 collection comprises correspondence, diaries, notebooks, literary drafts and notes, research material, newspaper cuttings, photographs and sound recordings. The correspondence documents O'Shaughnessy's association with numerous theatrical and literary figures, often in his role as a writer, theatre director and actor. Among the major correspondents are Phillip Adams, Samuel Beckett, Margaret Beveridge, Dorothy Bradley (Collopy), Sylvia Buzzard (Lock), Louis Cullen, Germaine Greer, Barry Humphries, Claude Marks, Barry Oakley, Brian O'Shaughnessy, Desmond O'Shaughnessy, Nora O'Shaughnessy, Wynn Roberts and Ian Rose. The Humphries letters form a significant part of the collection, and reveal the influence that O'Shaughnessy had on Humphries' early career.
The literary drafts in MS 2272 represent a small proportion of O'Shaughnessy's theatrical works and other writings, which range from classical works to Australian and Irish history and folklore. There is draft material for various plays, musicals, novels, memoirs, lectures and other writings, including works that have not yet been published or produced. The bulk of the draft material relates to Joseph Holt, a United Irish military leader involved in the 1798 rebellion in County Wicklow, Ireland (17 boxes, 3 fol. boxes).
The Acc03.282 instalment comprises many manuscript, typed and printed scripts of plays, television productions and films, together with other manuscripts, reviews, programs, correspondence, research material on Australian and Irish history, notebooks, newspaper cuttings, posters, sketchbooks, photographs, tape recordings, cassettes and films (20 cartons, 1 A3 carton).
The Acc09.038 instalment includes typescripts of O'Shaughnessy's autobiography, and manuscripts of other works including Irish fables, Totem AA, Sheela-na-gig, Diary of a madman, Troilus and Cressida (abridged from Nevill Coghill's translation of Chaucer's work), and Con and the Lannan Shee (1 box).
The Acc11.099 instalment comprises a revised undated version of the play The dance of death, originally written by August Strindberg, translated and adapted by O'Shaughnessy in 1978 (1 folder).
The Acc11.150 instalment comprises primarily script drafts, film treatments, research notes, poetry, correspondence, news article clippings and programs pertaining to the life and work of Peter O'Shaughnessy (12 boxes).
As an actor, director and producer for the stage, Peter O'Shaughnessy presented the work of playwrights ranging from Shakespeare, Shaw, Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov to modern dramatists, such as Ionesco, Pinter and Samuel Beckett. He was a pioneer in the production of the plays of Beckett, and directed the Irish premieres of Not I and Footfalls (1978), Rockaby and Theatre I (1984); the Australian premieres of Waiting for Godot (1957) and Krapp's last tape (1959); and the English and world premieres of Theatre I and Theatre II, at Cambridge (1977). As a writer, editor and lecturer, he promoted early Australian history and folklore. In January 2013 he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the performing arts. Resident in Britain since the 1970s, O'Shaughnessy died at Winchester in July 2013.
Manuscript reference no.: MS 2272, MS Acc03.282, MS Acc09.038, MS Acc11.099, MS Acc11.150.
Portraits of actor Peter O'Shaughnessy in character Located at National Library of Australia Pictures collection PIC/8726/1-3 LOC S18-S20.
Interview with Peter O'Shaughnessy, actor, theatrical producer and writer Located at National Library of Australia Oral History collection ORAL TRC 1979.
Part available for research; part requires permission for research. Not for loan.
Copying of Peter O'Shaughnessy's copyright material: part permitted to be copied for research purposes; part requires permission to copy for research purposes.
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