Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

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Summer of the Seventeenth Doll is a play by Australian playwright Ray Lawler (1921-)[1].

The original text

First performed at the Union Theatre in Melbourne, Australia, on 28 November 1955, it is almost unanimously considered by scholars of literature to be the most historically significant play in Australian theatre history, openly and authentically portraying distinctly Australian life and characters.

Translations and adaptations

United Artists produced a film version in 1959 starring American actor Ernest Borgnine. The play was adapted for British TV in 1964.

Performance history in South Africa

1958: Performed by the National Theatre Organisation (NTO). Directed by Leonard Schach with Joan Blake, Bill Brewer, Jane Fenn, Marjorie Gordon, Nigel Hawthorne, Michael Turner. Decor by Frank Graves. Décor by Frank Graves, costumes by Doreen Graves. It opened on New Year's Day of 1958 at the Hofmeyr Theatre, Cape Town. After its run there, it went on a national tour and was the NTO's first real commercial success. The cast of the touring company included Joyce Bradley, Fiona Fraser, Eveline Garratt, Ted Ogden, with Elspeth Bryce and Robert Cheetham coming on board later.


Lantern, 7(4):375-383. June 1958.

Rinie Stead, 1985b

Inskip, 1977. p 120.

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