Not in Print: playwrights off script - on inspiration, process and theatre itself

Introduction to Brumby Innes and Bid Me to Love - Ric Throssel

April 26, 2015

Alana Valentine—one of Australia’s most renowned and respected playwrights, whose work includes Parramatta Girls, Eyes to the Floor, Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah, Grounded and Cyberbile—reads the preface to the double edition of Brumby Innes and Bid Me to Love, two plays written by another of Australia’s literary treasures, Katharine Susannah Prichard. The introduction was written by Prichard's son, Ric Throssell.

A little bit about Katharine Susannah Prichard

Prichard was born in Levuka, Fiji, where her father was editor of the Fiji Times. She matriculated from South Melbourne College and worked briefly as a governess. She later taught in Melbourne studying English literature at night.

In 1908 she travelled to London, working as a freelance journalist for the Melbourne Herald and, on her return, as the social editor of the Herald's women's page. In 1912 she left for England again to pursue a career as a writer and published two novels, The Pioneers and Windlestraws. She met the Australian Victoria Cross winner, Captain Hugo Throssell while away and in 1919 she married him and moved to Western Australia. Already a committed Communist in 1920, she was a founding member of the Communist Party of Australia. In 1922 her only son Ric Throssell was born. While she was on a trip to the Soviet Union in 1933 Hugo Throssell committed suicide.

From the 1920s until her death she lived at Greenmount, Western Australia, earning her living as a writer of novels, short stories and plays. Her novels include Black Opal; Working Bullocks; The Wild Oats of Han; Coonardoo; Haxby's Circus; Intimate Strangers; and the goldfields trilogy The Roaring Nineties, Golden Miles and Winged Seeds. Prichard was a member of the Communist Party of Australia until her death, and her political concerns were reflected in most of her published work. Her novels were published throughout the world and translated into numerous languages. In 1951 she was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

A few words about Brumby Innes and Bid Me to Love

Written in the 1920s, Brumby Innes confronts the turbulent relations between the sexes and the races in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is published with another Prichard play from the 1920s, Bid Me To Love which, by contrast, is set among the fashionable rich in the lush hills outside Perth.