Date of Submission



This research is a qualitative and ethnographic case study of the works, practices, processes and philosophies of two contemporary Queensland playwrights, Margery and Michael Forde. Over the last decade the Fordes have pursued a particular niche in the scope of contemporary writing and performance trends in Queensland's contemporary theatre privileging a continued and explicit use of real, 'community' stories as the aesthetic material of their plays. Through an agency of oral histories, testimonies and other qualitative style techniques, the Fordes execute a theatrical product and aesthetic that can be best understood as an emergent form of performance ethnography and an example of dialogic and communal theatre. This thesis explores the Fordes' developing style, approach and products over a suite of three community plays conducted over an eighteen month period; 'Skating on Sandgate Road' (2009) 'Cribbie' (2010) and 'Behind the Cane' (2011). Using excerpts from the plays and the Fordes testimonies, this research begins by documenting the emancipatory, cathartic and dialogic themes of 'Cribbie' and 'Behind the Cane. The bulk of the data for this research is unpacked in the chapter 'Going Skating on Sandgate Road' where the Fordes' approach is explored and documented over a period of three months. This research concludes with an analysis and discussion on the quintessential nature of the Fordes' work as an important form of community storytelling and an outstanding example of dialogic drama and emergent performance ethnography.


School of Arts

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


344 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Arts and Sciences