Terence Clarke (composer)

Terence Osborne Clarke (b. 10 February 1935) is a theatrical director and composer who has also worked as an actor, pianist/musical director, teacher and dramaturg.[1]

Early lifeEdit

Clarke was educated at Shore and the University of Sydney (resident St. Paul's College), graduating BA with first-class honours in Music. He taught at All Saints' College, Bathurst (where he had received his primary schooling) and Cranbrook School, Sydney, where he became head of mathematics and in charge of drama.


His career has alternated between music and theatre on the one hand, and teaching on the other. While abroad in 1959-60 he had acted at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury; in 1970 he left schoolteaching to return to theatre and music, at first acting and MD-ing for Nimrod Theatre. His appointments have included: Associate Director of Perth's National Theatre at the Playhouse where he also acted; founding Artistic Director of the Hunter Valley Theatre Company, Australia's first professional regional theatre company; Artistic Director of the Australian National Playwrights Conference; and Head of Directing at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA),[2] where he continues to do some teaching. He directed the world premieres of A Happy and Holy Occasion (John O'Donoghue) and Backyard (Janis Balodis). He has taught at the West Australian Institute of Technology, the University of Newcastle, and the University of New South Wales, where he held a demi-lectureship for a year.

Clarke wrote three musicals to book and lyrics by the late Nick Enright: The Venetian Twins (cast album, Folkways Records), produced by all state theatre companies, and toured; Variations (Winner of the Play Award, New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards, 1983)[dead link],[3] not seen since its original Nimrod Theatre production in 1982; and Summer Rain,[4] commissioned by NIDA for the graduating class of 1984 and directed by Gale Edwards, later revised three times for productions at the Sydney and Queensland Theatre Companies. His other compositions include: a ballad opera, Flash Jim Vaux (book and lyrics, Ron Blair; Blair later dropped 'Vaux' from the title); five plays with music - Catspaw and Jarrabin (both Dorothy Hewett), Lysistrata (John Croyston), Henry and Peter and Henry and Me (George Hutchinson), and Gone with Hardy (David Allen); incidental music; and song-settings.[5]


In 2007 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia 'for service to the performing arts as a director, actor, writer, composer, and educator'.[6]


  1. ^ Terence Clarke at Currency Press, 2019
  2. ^ Terence Clarke at Australian Plays.org, 2019
  3. ^ NSW Literary Award Winners by year & Category
  4. ^ Summer Rain at Australian Arts Review, 19 November 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2019
  5. ^ List of works at Solee.com (paywall site)
  6. ^ Australian Honours site