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David Williamson

David Keith Williamson, AO (born 19 or 24 February 1942) is one of Australia's best-known dramatists and playwrights. He has also written screenplays and teleplays.


  • Biography 1
  • Personal life 2
  • Honours and awards 3
    • Australian Film Institute Awards 3.1
  • Writings 4
    • Plays 4.1
    • Box office revenue of plays 4.2
    • Screenplays 4.3
  • References 5
  • External links 6


David Williamson was born in Melbourne in 1942 and was brought up in Bairnsdale. Sources are divided as to whether he was born on 19 February or 24 February. He initially studied mechanical engineering at the University of Melbourne from 1960, but left and graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in 1965. His early forays into the theatre were as an actor and writer of skits for the Engineers' Revue at Melbourne University's Union Theatre at lunchtime during the early 1960s, and as a satirical sketch writer for Monash University student reviews and the Emerald Hill Theatre Company.

After a brief stint as design engineer for GM Holden, Williamson became a lecturer in mechanical engineering and thermodynamics at Swinburne University of Technology (then Swinburne Technical College) in 1966 whilst studying social psychology as a postgraduate part-time at the University of Melbourne. Williamson later lectured in social psychology at Swinburne, where he remained until 1972.

Williamson first turned to writing and performing in plays in 1967 with La Mama Theatre Company and The Pram Factory, and rose to prominence in the early 1970s, with works such as Don's Party (later turned into a 1976 film), a comic drama set during the 1969 federal election; and The Removalists (1971). He also collaborated on the screenplays for Gallipoli (1981) and The Year of Living Dangerously (1982). Williamson's work as a playwright focuses on themes of politics, loyalty and family in contemporary urban Australia, particularly in two of its major cities, Melbourne and Sydney.

Major works include The Club, The Department, Travelling North, The Perfectionist, Emerald City, Money and Friends and Brilliant Lies.

Recent work has included Dead White Males, a satirical approach to postmodernism and university ethics; Up for Grabs, which starred Madonna in its London premiere; and the Jack Manning Trilogy (Face To Face, Conversation, Charitable Intent) which take as their format community conferencing, a new form of restorative justice, in which Williamson became interested in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

In recent years he has alternated work between larger stages (including Soul Mates, Amigos and Influence – all premiered with the Sydney Theatre Company) and smaller ones (including the Manning trilogy, Flatfoot and Operator, which premiered at the Ensemble Theatre). However, in 2005, he announced his retirement from main-stage productions.

Williamson was instrumental in the founding of the Noosa Longweekend Festival, a cultural festival in Noosa, Queensland.

In August 2006 Cate Molloy, former Australian Labor Party member of the Queensland Parliament for Noosa, announced that Williamson would be her campaign manager as she sought to recontest her seat as an Independent.

In 2007 appeared Lotte's Gift, a one-woman show starring Karin Schaupp, which traced a journey through Schaupp's own life as well as those of her mother and grandmother (the Lotte of the title)

More information can be found at his Official Website David Williamson

Personal life

He is married to Kristin Williamson (sister of independent filmmaker Chris Löfvén) and lives on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. His stepson Felix Williamson and his son Rory Williamson are both Australian actors. Rory starred as Stork in the 2001 revival of The Coming of Stork at the Stables Theatre in Sydney, produced by Felix's company, the Bare Naked Theatre Company.

Honours and awards

Australian Film Institute Awards

  • 1977 – AFI Award, Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted, 'Don's Party'
  • 1981 – AFI Award, Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted, 'Gallipoli'
  • 1987 – AFI Award, Best Screenplay, Adapted, 'Travelling North'[3]
  • 2009 – AFI Award, Best Screenplay, Adapted, 'Balibo' (Shared with director Robert Connolly)



Box office revenue of plays

Sydney Theatre Company box office revenue from David Williamson plays:

  • 1982 — The Perfectionist $357,088
  • 1985 — Sons of Cain $382,771
  • 1987 — Emerald City $707,918
  • 1990 — Siren $624,626
  • 1992 — Money and Friends $1.221 million
  • 1993 — Brilliant Lies $851,000
  • 1995 — Dead White Males $1.184 million
  • 1996 — Heretic $1.29 million
  • 1997 — Third World Blues $771,822
  • 1998 — After the Ball $1.132 million
  • 1999 — Corporate Vibes $1.409 million
  • 2000 — The Great Man $1.289 million
  • 2001 — Up for Grabs $1.25 million
  • 2002 — Soulmates $1.333 million
  • 2003 — The Club $1.387 million (remake)
  • 2004 — Amigos $1.405 million
  • 2005 — Influence $1.719 million



  1. ^ It's an Honour
  2. ^ "1995 Human Rights Medal and Awards".  
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Let The Sunshine". Retrieved 11 July 2009. 

External links

  • OFFICIAL WEBSITE of David Williamson
  • VIDEO David's Wife Kristin talks about writing his biography at ABC FORA
  • David Williamson: Speaker, Talks on Big IdeasABC TV
  • David Williamson at the Internet Movie Database
  • Sydney Morning Herald
  • David Williamson at Live Performance Australia Hall of Fame
  • David Williamson playscripts on
  • David Williamson Australian theatre credits at AusStage
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