When the Vice Squad Censored Theatre

Translated title of the contribution: When Police Censored Theatre

Jennifer Fewster

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


    It was only fifty years ago that Police would raid theatres to arrest and charge actors with obscenity. Jenny Fewster, the Project Manager for AusStage, recounts a time when ending up in jail was a performance risk.

    Artist Michael Gordon Brown became the only Australian visual artist to be charged with and convicted of obscenity. The Magistrate described his paintings as an “orgy of obscenity”. Brown’s sentence of three months hard labour was reduced to a $20 fine on appeal. This episode was repeated in artistic circles around Australia. Whilst the youth were becoming more avant-garde and revolutionary, there was an older generation clinging steadfastly to conservatism and Victorian morality.
    Translated title of the contributionWhen Police Censored Theatre
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages3
    Specialist publicationStage Whispers
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


    • Censorship
    • Australia
    • Police raids
    • Vice Squad
    • theatre
    • Michael Gordon Brown
    • Obscenity laws


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