Mercury Theatre (Australia)

The Mercury Theatre was an Australian theatre company that was co-founded by Peter Finch and existed from 1946 to 1954. It was named after the American Orson Welles' theatre company of the same name.


The Mercury was founded in 1946 by Finch, Allan Ashbolt, Sydney John Kay, Colin Scrimgeour and John Wiltshire.[1] The driving force for much of the company's time was Kay.[2] They would frequently tour shows throughout the country.[3]

The Mercury is best known for its production of The Imaginary Invalid starring Finch on the floor of O'Brien's Glass Factory in Sydney in 1948; this was seen by Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh who were so impressed they invited Finch to come to London. Kay revived the company in 1952, and it ran for the next two years from a base at St James' Hall in Sydney. Among those who acted in Mercury shows over the years included Rod Taylor, Ruth Cracknell and Lloyd Berrell.[4]


Original showsEdit

St James Hall productionsEdit


  1. ^ "Music and Drama 'A Cry of Players'". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 13 July 1946. p. 6. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  2. ^ "Meeting In Coffee Lounge." The Sun-Herald (Sydney) 15 Aug 1954: 24
  3. ^ "A CHANCE FOR QUEENSLAND". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 10 December 1948. p. 2. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  4. ^ Stephen Vagg, 'Finch, fry and factories: a brief history of Mercury Theatre', Australasian Drama Studies, 50, Apr 2007, 18–35
  5. ^ "NEW PLAYERS EXCEL IN COMEDIES". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 20 July 1946. p. 12. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  6. ^ Production listing at AusStage
  7. ^ Production listing at AusStage
  8. ^ "Molière at Lunch-time". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 21 September 1948. p. 2. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  9. ^ Listing of production at AusStage
  10. ^ Production listing at AusStage

External linksEdit