The Wheeler Centre
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David Hare in conversation with Julian Burnside
It was anger and idealism that compelled playwright and director David Hare to found his first drama troupe back in the 1960s. The youthful righteousness may have faded, but certain currents have remained strong throughout his oeuvre. In his plays, including Racing Demon and Murmuring Judges, Hare has continued to turn his piercing gaze on the dominant institutions of his country – from the Church of England, to the Labour party and the British justice system.
During his extraordinary career, Hare has written more than 30 plays and received two Academy Awards nominations for screenplay adaptations of The Hours and The Reader. Last year, he published The Blue Touch Paper, a memoir that tells of the early days of Hare’s career in rapidly changing post-war Britain.
Ahead of the Melbourne Theatre Company revival of his acclaimed 1995 play Skylight, Hare spoke with Julian Burnside about politics, public institutions, art and the writing life.
Presented in partnership with Melbourne Theatre Company.
David Hare is a playwright and film-maker. He has written over thirty stage plays which include Plenty, Pravda (with Howard Brenton), The Secret Rapture, Racing Demon, Skylight, Amy’s View, The Blue Room, Via Dolorosa, Stuff Happens, South Downs, The Absence of War, The Judas Kiss and The Moderate Soprano. For film and television he has written more than twenty screenplays which include Licking Hitler, Dreams of Leaving, Saigon: Year of the Cat, Wetherby, Damage, The Hours, The Reader, and the Worricker Trilogy: Page Eight, Turks & Caicos and Salting the Battlefield. He has also written English adaptations of plays by Brecht, Gorky, Chekhov, Pirandello, Ibsen and Lorca. His first work of memoir, The Blue Touch Paper, was published in 2015. In a millennial poll of the greatest plays of the 20th century, five of the top ten were his.
Julian Burnside AO QC is an Australian barrister who specialises in commercial litigation and is also deeply involved in human rights work, in particular in relation to refugees.