John McKellar talks about his family background and childhood; education at St. Charles, Waverley, where he met Gerry Donovan and Lance Mulcahy; his interest in writing; working as a teacher before moving to Sydney to work fulltime as a writer; the Independent Theatre, and Doris Fitton; how he became involved in writing for revues; The Phillip Street Theatre; his engagement as a writer for the Theatre; various productions he was involved in; Tommy Trinder; Lyle O'Hara; Bill Orr; Gloria Dawn; sketches written for the ABC; his first trip to London; being invited to become Artistic director of The Phillip Street Theatre; Dot Mendoza; the productions "The Willow Pattern Plate", "A Ride on a Broomstick" and "Mistress Money"; his first visit to New York; working in advertising; his production "A Cup of Tea, A Bex, and a Good Lie Down"; Doncaster Theatre Restaurant in Kensington; the Manly Loft; the Richbrook Theatre; The Comedy Theatre Restaurant in Sydney; going to America to work in antiques for nearly 20 years; the musical "Keystone"; how he became interested in antique textiles; returning to Australia to work on "Virtual Unreality" at the Tilbury Hotel; other productions he worked on; his antique textile business; working with Max Lambert for the Sydney Cabaret Conventions; a film called "The Graffiti Killers"; writing for television; writing for revues at Frank Strain's Copenhagen Restaurant; his song-writing techniques and work methods; thoughts on the art of songwriting; future projects.
John McKellar, born 1930 in Orange, New South Wales, is an Australian writer, specialising in satirical revue material. He contributed songs and sketches to a succession of Phillip Street Theatre revues in the 1950s and 1960s. He also co-authored, with Eleanor Whitcombe, several musicals presented at the Phillip Street Theatre, including Mistresss Money, The Willow Pattern Plate and Ride on a Broomstick. In 1965 he wrote A Cup of Tea, a Bex and a Good Lie Down. He also writes for radio and television.
Recorded on July 19, 2005 at Canberra, A.C.T.
Digital master available ; National Library of Australia ; nla.obj-208881505.
Collection of photographs of John McKellar during an oral history interview by Bill Stephens at the National Library of Australia, 19 July 2005 located at National Library of Australia Pictures collection PIC NL39482 LOC nla.int-nl39482 Online access.
Timed summary (16 p.)
Access open for research; written permission required for personal copies and public use for 10 years from the date of interview.
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