Writing & News

Kath Kenny wins History Publication Award in Victoria!

The 2023 Victorian Community History Awards were presented at the Arts Centre Melbourne on the 2nd of February 2024 by Public Record Office Victoria in partnership with the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.

Kath Kenny was awarded the History Publication award for her Upswell Publishing book Staging a Revolution: When Betty Rocked the Pram (2022). Here’s the award commendation:

Staging a Revolution is the story of the making of the radical stage production, Betty Can Jump, directed by Kerry Dwyer, produced by the Carlton Women’s Liberation group, and performed at the Pram Factory in 1973. The play was born out of and intertwined with the struggles of the women’s liberation movement in Melbourne in the early 1970s. Betty Can Jump was a bold and revolutionary feminist play, performed by five actors. To mark its 50th anniversary, Kath Kenny has produced an engaging and highly readable account of an important episode in Melbourne’s more recent history. Kenny vividly evokes the world in which the drama was played out and its key players, demonstrating a skilled use of oral records that bring to the page the voices of the period. She also uses interviews to weave into the account some more recent reflections of the main characters. This book has much to commend it: its imaginative, playful and clever structure; its energetic prose; and its wide and varied range of sources. Kenny balances the complex issues and agendas of 1970s feminism against the backdrop of the independent theatre scene with all its own dramas and vulnerabilities. As well as being an important episode in Melbourne’s history, this is a rich and valuable record of a significant group of women who, through theatre, were making history.

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