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A Blush of Boys


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What is it like to grow up as a boy in the second decade of the 21st century, and what sort of men are boys expected to become? As gender roles continue to evolve and are redefined, who are the role models for young males today, and what sort of message are they conveying to the next generation?

As part of our masculinities series, A Blush of Boys contrasts the experiences of two adult men with two boys from St Martins Youth Arts Centre. Two boys aged ten and eleven discuss how they feel about growing up, alongside actor and performer Paul Capsis and author Tony Birch.

Former journalist and politician Maxine McKew hosts this wide-ranging discussion about what advice boys of yesteryear found most useful while they were growing up and what pressures the boys of today are facing.

Presented in partnership with St Martins Youth Arts Centre.

Men Overboard

What does it mean to be a man – or a boy – in the 21st century? How far have we come in shedding the macho expectations of the past … and to what extent do we still perform our gender roles on a daily basis? Do we still believe that boys are made of slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails, or that real men don’t eat quiche? This insightful series explores masculinity through talk, performance and across the generations.


Will Beattie

Will is a 12 year-old comic collector with big plans for a graphic novel business. He believes that Heath Ledger was the best Joker and that playing Minecraft has brought him and his sister Rose closer together. Will’s favourite smell comes from the pages of a new book and his favourite sound is c... Read more

Paul Capsis

Paul Capsis is a playwright, performer, actor and singer. Capsis co-wrote the one man autobiographical play Angela’s Kitchen, which won him 2012 Helpmann Awards for both Best Male Actor in a Play and Best New Australian Work. His career takes him beyond the stages of the world’s leading theatre ... Read more

Tony Birch

Tony Birch holds the Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature at Melbourne University. He is the author of three novels, five short fiction collections, and two poetry books. In 2023 he will release a new novel, Women and Children. ... Read more

Maxine McKew

Maxine McKew is an author and Hon Enterprise Professor of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. Her most recent book, published by Melbourne University Press in 2014, is Class Act – a study of the key challenges in Australian schooling. This publication followe... Read more


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176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.