UNE academic explores the impact of actors on Australian television culture

Published 29 May 2013

AnnePenderNFSAUniversity of New England Associate Professor, Anne Pender, is currently participating in the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) Scholars and Artists in Residence Program in Canberra.

Anne’s project of study for the duration of her residency at the NFSA is entitled Actors in the Living Room: Australian Television and its Transformations 1958-1988.

The primary aim is to explore the work of a large number of Australian actors who came to maturity in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and succeeded in developing their careers in Australia, as a direct result of the opportunities offered to them by the growing medium of television.

The work of these actors in a number of television programs, telemovies and series, will be investigated in order to document and interpret their artistic contributions to a distinctively Australian television culture, during a critical period of Australian cultural and social history.

Since arriving in Canberra and commencing her placement, Anne has found the experience fascinating, particularly the access to the Archive’s significant national audiovisual collection. 

“I am discovering the early television work of actors such as Nick Tate, Max Cullen, Garry McDonald, Jeanie Drynan and Kate Fitzpatrick, and coming to understand the kinds of roles offered to them in drama of all kinds, situation comedy and variety shows. It is a privilege to be at the NFSA and to have the chance to trace the careers of these and other Australian actors on television.” Dr Pender said.

 Anne Pender is Associate Professor of English and Theatre Studies and ARC Future Fellow at the University of New England. A Menzies scholar to Harvard University and graduate of the ANU and UNSW, Anne taught Australian literature at King’s College London in 2002-03 and was Visiting Distinguished Professor of Australian Studies at the University of Copenhagen in 2011