In a week when many people are reflecting on what it means to be Australian, Amelia Ryan is thinking about the Australian women of the past who made it possible for her to perform on stage.
Amelia says the pioneering female performers of the 60s are her absolute Australian ‘unsung’ heroes.
“The 1960s was a very different time and place for women here in Australia,” says Amelia.
“You needed your husband’s permission to open a bank account, or to catch an international flight … in most states, women weren’t even allowed to drink in the public bar.
“They had to wait in the Ladies Lounge for their husbands to bring them a shandy, or worse still, wait in the the car.
“It wasn’t until 1970 that the ban on woman drinking in certain bars was abolished, that’s not really that long ago if you think about it.
“We had incredibly courageous woman like Merle Thornton and Rosalie Bognor who protested this law in 1965, by chaining themselves to a male only bar-rail. I dread to think where we’d be without them.”
It wasn’t just the right to drink that the women were protesting.
They were after equal education, equal job opportunities and equal treatment in every direction.
This of course, spanned women’s voices in the entertainment industry.
Fast forward to today, and there are still plenty of improvements to be made.
“Despite amazing female performers being readily available, only 27 percent of radio music features a female singer,” says Amelia.
These threads of history have formed the rich content which underpins the hit show UNSUNG, which will be performed for the first time at this year’s Adelaide Fringe.
Celebrated performer, Libby O’Donovan, will join Amelia to celebrate these women, their stories and their music.
“I’m so fortunate to be able to do what I do, along with other amazing female artists, but we still need to keep advocating for women to forge a career in the arts and thrive,” Amelia says.
UNSUNG is a loud, proud, raucous celebration that will, perhaps most importantly, shine the light on some great Australian women of the past and their phenomenal stories.
Artists such as Little Pattie, Noeleen Batley, Judy Stone, Lynne Randell and Margret Road Knight are just some of the women who feature in this cabaret.
The season runs over three weeks between Thursday 25 February – Wednesday 18 March 2021 across three venues – The Queens Theatre, Victor Harbour Town Hall, and Woodville Town Hall.
For more information and to buy tickets, click here.