Jane Woollard

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Jane Woollard

Head of Theatre
Lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance
School of Creative Arts and Media

Room IA241 , The Stone Building

+61 3 6324 4456 (phone)

Dr Jane Woollard is Head of Theatre in the School of Creative Arts and Media. She is a professional theatre director, playwright, researcher and teacher. Jane has directed many productions and mentored many emerging writers, performers and directors, and has made new theatre work with young people, in regional communities and in unconventional performance sites. As Artistic Director of Here Theatre since 2002, Jane has collaborated with playwright Kit Lazaroo on many award-winning theatre projects exploring the relationship between humans and non-humans. Her work as a writer-director interprets historical material and true stories, with a focus on the lives of women from the past.


Jane has worked in diverse contexts, including independent theatre, youth arts, local government and community cultural development. Jane has directed many productions and has mentored many emerging writers, performers, designers and directors. Before joining the University of Tasmania, Jane was a tutor and researcher at La Trobe University, a teaching director at the Victorian College of the Arts School of Drama, and from 1999–2002 was Artistic Director at Union House Theatre at the University of Melbourne. Her doctoral research investigated the life and work of Eliza Winstanley, a leading performer on the early nineteenth century Australian stage.

Jane’s play about Eliza Winstanley, Miss W Treads, was presented at La Mama Theatre in September 2017. She is the recipient of the 2016 Veronica Kelly Award (Australasian Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies Association) and a 2017 Paul Iles Award (Society for Theatre Research).

Jane’s substantial experience in documenting the stories of community groups and adapting this material into theatre, has enabled her to step sideways into cultural projects such Laughing waters Road: Art, Landscape & Memory in Eltham (2016), a local art and history project; and research and write interpretative text for WWI memorial sites in the outer north east of Melbourne.

Jane’s doctorate research investigated the important contribution of Eliza Winstanley to early Australian theatre practice in Sydney and Tasmania. Her ongoing research investigates and interprets the lives and careers of prolific female performers in Australia in the 1830s and 40s.

Career summary


Degree Title of Thesis UniversityCountryAwarded
PhD Eliza Winstanley: Performance and writing in early nineteenth-century Australian theatre La Trobe University Australia Sep 2017
AdDip PWE Professional Writing and Editing RMIT, Melbourne Australia Jul 2013
DipArtsDramArt Directing Victorian College of the Arts Australia Aug 1988
Bachelor of Arts   University of Melbourne Australia Apr 1985


Professional practice

  • Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies (Executive)
  • Australian Women Directors Alliance (Co-Founder)
  • Honorary Associate, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University
  • Australian Women’s History Network
  • Royal Historical Society of Victoria
  • Australian Historical Association

Administrative expertise

Jane has extensive experience running large scale community projects that work towards a creative and cultural outcome. She has worked in communities and in schools to create large scale site specific performance works that respond to the themes and histories of their location.


Directing, Playwriting, Performance methodologies, Devised Theatre and Group-devised processes, Movement, Physical theatre, Theatrical space, Theatrical gesture, Melodrama, Nineteenth-century theatre, Australian Nineteenth-century performers and performance methodology, Early Australian playwriting, Louis Esson and the Pioneer Players, Applied Theatre, Medieval Drama, Twentieth-century women playwrights, Australian Post-modern Theatre, Actor training.

Teaching expertise

Movement, Working with Performance Texts, Writing for Performance, Rehearsal Methodologies, Post Graduate supervision (secondary supervisor – current), Honours supervision, Theatre Practice as Research

Teaching responsibility

In the Bachelor of Contemporary Arts Jane coordinates and/or teaches into:

In the Bachelor of Arts Jane coordinates and/or teaches into:

Research Appointments

  • Australian Women Directors Alliance, Executive
  • Australasian Association for Theatre Drama and Performance Studies, Executive
  • Green Room Association Awards Theatre panel (2017)

Research Invitations

  • AusStage Phase Six: Visualising Theatre Theatres – La Trobe University
  • Ross Female Factory Mixed Reality Experience: Telling Female Convict Stories – University of Tasmania

View more on Dr Jane Woollard in WARP


  • Actor training
  • Directing
  • Movement
  • Australian theatre in the nineteenth century
  • Applied Theatre
  • Community Cultural Development
  • Local history and theatre making

Research Themes

Jane’s research aligns to the University’s research themes of Creativity, Culture and Society, and Environment, Resources and Sustainability.

Her research interests include understanding early theatre and acting methodologies; early Australian playwriting; the repertoire of female performers in Australia in the 1830s and 40s; and touring female performers between Sydney, Hobart, Launceston and Melbourne in this period. Jane’s long practice as a professional theatre director, and her substantial investigation of theatrical gesture allows her to bring the embodied knowledge of a practitioner to the field of early nineteenth-century Australian theatre.

Through her ongoing creative collaboration with playwright Kit Lazaroo, Jane continues to investigate how theatre can articulate contemporary environmental issues in poetic and non-didactic ways. In particular, Jane is interested in how performers can embody the non-human animal, expressing our relationship with a threatened non-human world through imaginative practice.


Jane is a researcher in the Ross Female Factory Mixed Reality Experience, a University of Tasmania research project investigating the possibilities for utilising smart phone technologies and filmed performance to interpret the site of the Ross Female Factory.

She is developing a new theatre work in collaboration with Melbourne playwright Kit Lazaroo.


  • 2017 Paul Iles Award, Society for Theatre Research, London
  • 2016 Veronica Kelly Award, Australasian Association for Drama, Theatre and Performance

Current projects

Drawing on archival material relating to performers appearing in Launceston in the 1840s, Jane is developing a series of short scripts for site specific performances.

Jane is undertaking further research about female performers who toured between Sydney, Tasmania, and Melbourne in the 1830s and 40s, with a focus on their repertoire, and what this tells us about their physical and vocal qualities.

Fields of Research

  • Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (190404)
  • Performing Arts and Creative Writing (190499)
  • Biography (210304)
  • Performance and Installation Art (190504)

Research Objectives

  • The Performing Arts (incl. Theatre and Dance) (950105)
  • Conserving Intangible Cultural Heritage (950304)
  • Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage (950302)
  • Communication Across Languages and Culture (950201)
  • Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing (970119)
  • Understanding Australia's Past (950503)


In addition to directing over fifty productions, and her significant work as an actor trainer and community cultural development artist, Jane is the Australian reviews editor for Australasian Drama Studies, and has written feature articles and interviews for Realtime + Onscreen and Lowdown Youth Arts Magazine.

Jane researched and wrote Laughing Waters Road: Art, Landscape & Memory in Eltham, which was shortlisted for a 2016 Victorian Community History Award for Historical Interpretation. The book integrates aboriginal history, archival material, environmental science, interviews with local residents and participants in the Laughing Waters Artist in Residence Program. Laughing Waters Road captures a multidimensional picture of an important site in the development of Eltham’s arts and earth building movement.

Total publications


Journal Article

(2 outputs)
2019Woollard J, ' The Elasticity of Her Spirits': Actresses and Resilience on the Nineteenth-Century Colonial Stage', Australasian Drama Studies, 70 ISSN 0810-4123 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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2018Woollard J, Halba H, 'Australasian Drama Studies 73 [co-editor of reviews]', (73) ISSN 0810-4123 (2018) [Edited Journal]

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(1 outputs)
2015Woollard J, 'Laughing Waters Road: Art, Landscape & Memory in Eltham', Nillumbik Shire Council, Melbourne, pp. 264. ISBN 9780992429102 (2015) [Authored Research Book]

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(3 outputs)
2019Woollard J, 'Imagined landscapes: Geovisualizing Australian spatial narratives [Book Review]', Australasian Drama Studies, 69 pp. 206-210. ISSN 0810-4123 (2019) [Review Single Work]

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2018Woollard J, 'Gordon McMullan and Phillip Mead, with Ailsa Grant Ferguson, Kate Flaherty and Mark Houlahan's Antipodal Shakespeare: Remembering and Forgetting in Britain, Australia and New Zealand, 1916-2016 [Book Review]', Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, 3, (18) ISSN 1833-6027 (2018) [Review Single Work]

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2018Woollard J, 'Performance, feminism and affect in Neoliberal Times [Book Review]', Australasian Drama Studies, (73) pp. 336-344. ISSN 0810-4123 (2018) [Review Single Work]

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Major Creative Work

(3 outputs)
2019Woollard J, 'Ghosts of the Olympic Theatre', Launceston Post Office, Tasmania (2019) [Published Creative Work]

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2017Woollard J, 'Miss W Treads', La Mama Theatre, Melbourne, Australia (2017) [Performance]

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2015Woollard J, Lazaroo K, 'Bright Shiny and Green Night', La Mama Theatre, Melbourne, Australia (2015) [Performance]

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Other Public Output

(3 outputs)
2019Woollard J, 'Hidden women of history: Eliza Winstanley, colonial stage star and our first female Richard III', The Conversation, The Conversation Media Group Ltd, Australia, 2 May (2019) [Magazine Article]

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2019Woollard J, 'Kate Mulvany's The Mares bristles with energetic feminist storytelling', The Conversation, The Conversation Media Group Ltd, Australia, March 28 (2019) [Magazine Article]

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2019Woollard J, 'Kate Mulvany's The Mares bristles with energetic feminist storytelling', The Conversation, The Conversation Media Group Ltd, Australia (2019) [Magazine Article]

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Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Development and rehearsal of Last Night of the Season; or, The Ghosts of the Theatre Royal Olympic, a site specific work by Jane Woollard for Junction Arts Festival. (2019)$24,097
Last Night of the Season; or, The Ghosts of the Theatre Royal Olympic, is a site specific work in the historic Launceston Post Office investigating leading performers in the Launceston theatre in November 1843. A part time creative development and rehearsal process with a professional team of theatre practitioners from Launceston, Hobart, Orford and Melbourne, will take place from April through to September. Subject to funding the work is programmed in the 2019 Junction Arts Festival.
Arts Tasmania ($24,097)
Northern Tasmania Arts Organisations Initiative
Administered By
Junction Arts Festival Inc
Research Team
Mabin F; Woollard JB

Research Supervision

Jane is currently supervising two Practice as Research projects: an Honours candidate who is exploring the intersection between traditional Malaysian shadow puppetry and physical theatre techniques of Meyerhold and Barba; and an MFA candidate whose topic is ‘Imaginal Training Methodology for actors’, a project that investigates the importance of the performer’s imagination in the development of their craft and method. As part of the Ross Female Factory project Jane is mentoring an emerging playwright who is also a CEH Honours student.

Jane is seeking HDR Candidates who are interested in exploring:

  • performance methodologies;
  • developing original text based or physical performance works from historical material;
  • playwriting;
  • directing;
  • theatre historiography.




PhDEnhancing Creativity: A Phenomenological Investigation of the Actors Imagination in Rehearsal and Performance2019