New Theatre (Brisbane, Qld.)

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

New Theatre (Brisbane, Qld.)

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

  • Brisbane New Theatre
  • Brisbane Student Theatre
  • Unity Theatre
  • New Theatre Club
  • Student Theatre

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence



The Student Theatre was formed in 1936 at the initiative of the Queensland University Radical Club. It changed to Unity Theatre in October and continued with this name until 1942 The change of name from Student Theatre to Unity Theatre evoked a strong attack on the objectives of the theatre, led by Nigel Bonsey (a prominent member of the Douglas Social Credit Movement). The Student Theatre, and under it's new name, Unity Theatre, produced radical plays concerned with anti-fascist propaganda, trade union solidarity and working class struggles. During the Second World War the Unity Theatre closed its doors, reopening in 1947. It became the New Theatre Club on 17 May 1949. It's objectives were to continue in its role of radical political theatre. New Theatre produced plays critical of colonialism, racism, capitalism, and the dangers of war. New Theatres' increasing reliance on left-wing trade unions and Communist press in a Cold War atmosphere, saw it's eventual demise with loss of membership and diminishing support. It collapsed in 1962.


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Internal structures/genealogy

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Control area

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Updated by Linda Justo on 11-Nov-2019




Healy, Constance. 1994. A history of political theatre in Brisbane as part of a working-class cultural tradition heritage : the Workers' Education Dramatic Society and the Student/Unity/New Theatre (1930-1962). St. Lucia.

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