Robyn Archer: Contribution as Australian Singer & Writer

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      Robyn Archer, born in 1948 at Adelaide, has distinguished herself as a Australian singer, stage performer as well as a writer, in a varied career. Most of what she has written, she has also performed, with a consistent emphasis on sexual politics. In common with many other Australian feminists, Robyn Archer is associated with left-wing politics and sympathy for the working class. Her satirical examinations of patriarchy's treatment of women and her sympathetic portrayals of female heroism and victimhood have been conveyed in shows such as the 1979 A Star is Torn, where her powerful and adaptable singing voice enabled her to interpret and celebrate earlier female singers such as Bessie Smith, Judy Holliday and Janis Joplin.

      As a singer Robyn Archer has specialized in the work of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht. She has repeatedly exploited cabaret as a political tool: her 1990 Cafe Fledermaus was one example, as was her earlier The Pack of Women (1981). Archer continues to write and perform, but has also developed a career as an arts administrator. She was director of the National Festival of Australian Theatre (Canberra) from 1993 to 1996, and 1988- 2000 director of the prestigious Adelaide Festival. She has written two plays: Il Magnifico, about Lorenzo de Medici, and The Conquest of Carmen Miranda; a children's book, Mrs. Bottle Burps (1983); and three books based on her most popular cabaret shows. Robyn Archer has a broad range of talents and has been as successful as a theatre director, singer, actor and arts administrator as she has as a writer for the theatre.

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