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Sydney University Dramatic Society

The Sydney University Dramatic Society (SUDS) is the premier body for the production of undergraduate theatre at the University of Sydney. Established formally in 1889, with performances dating back to 1883, the society is the oldest continual theatre company in Australia, and one of the oldest student theatre groups in the world.[1][2] Supported by the University of Sydney Union, SUDS performs over 16 productions a year,[3] all of which are directed, designed and performed by its members. As well as traditional theatre, SUDS has been involved in the production and staging of student written productions, experimental plays, improvised theatre, and various comedy revues.[4]

SUDS currently operates out of the society's own production space, the Cellar Theatre, underneath the Holme Building on the Camperdown Campus of the University of Sydney. Before this plays were regularly housed in St James' Hall and the Society's own performance space on George Street,[1] with smaller productions housed in the University's Footbridge and Wallace Theatres.

During the society's heyday SUDS was considered one of the leading production companies in Australia, attracting a range of theatrical talent and audiences beyond its student base.[5] This popularity peaked in the postwar years of the 1950s-60s during which time many prominent actors and personalities passed through its ranks. SUDS is considered to have played a leading role in the establishment of Australian theatre, alongside breakaway group The Sydney Players, during this time.[1][6][7]


SUDS has nurtured a number of notable alumni who have gone on to excel in the arts, most notably John Bell AO, OBE, who went on to found the Bell Shakespeare Company following his time at the University of Sydney.[7] Other notable members have included Gough Whitlam, a future Prime Minister of Australia, who met his wife Margaret through SUDS,[8] and personalities Germaine Greer and Clive James both of whom went on to manage the Cambridge Footlights during its golden era.

Past members and people associated with SUDS productions include:

External linksEdit


  1. ^ a b c Gunn, J. Dear Descendants. john gunn. p. 66. ISBN 9780977580149. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Cultural life - Current students - The University of Sydney". Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  4. ^ "The Sydney Morning Herald - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  5. ^ "16 Mar 1960 - Big hand for 'Open House'". Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  6. ^ "The Ripples Before the (New) Wave: SUDS, Players and the College Dramatic Societies at the University of Sydney, 1957-61 | Ginters | History of University Life". Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  7. ^ a b Elissa Blake (20 April 2010). "All the world's a stage" (PDF). Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  8. ^ Hocking, J. (2008). Gough Whitlam. 1. Miegunyah Press. p. 76. ISBN 9780522855111. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  9. ^ Pearls of Wisdom Retrieved 9 October 2016.