Publication Date



Jessie Matthews’ post-war tours to Australia were part of a sequence of commercially successful imported productions then heralded as a great boom era in Australian theatre. However, Matthews’ waning popularity in Britain since the 1940s meant that she was no longer recognizable as the screen darling of the 1930s. Indeed, the Australian press had to remind its readers of ‘evergreen Jessie’s’ succession of British film hits such as The Good Companions (1933) and Evergreen (1934). This article examines the critical and public reception of Matthews’ tours with a focus on the strategic management of her star persona, both on and off stage, including her public criticism of Australian theatre management and employment opportunities for Australian theatre performers. Martina Lipton is an Honorary Associate Lecturer at the University of Queensland and was recently the Research Fellow (Australia) on the Leverhulme Research Project ‘British-Australian Cultural Exchange: Live Performance 1880–1960’. Her publications include the chapter ‘Localism and British Modern Pantomime’ in A World of Popular Entertainments (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012) and articles for Australasian Drama Studies, Contemporary Theatre Review, New Theatre Quarterly, and Popular Entertainment Studies.


School of Arts

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

Access may be restricted.