A National Success by a Regional Theatre Company
Bob Herbert’s most famous play ‘No names … No pack drill’ premiered in Armidale in 1979 at the New England Travelling Theatre. Before touring in a season across New England the play was next presented by the Sydney Theatre Company and was one of the successes of the 1980 Sydney Theatre Company season.
Herbert was a regional playwright from Armidale and the majority of his plays have only been seen in the New England region of Australia. However, ‘No names … No pack drill’ is unique because it has been adapted into a film and is regularly presented outside the New England region. Thus from bumping in or setting up of a production to bumping out or breaking down of a production the companies presenting this play have shown a commitment to their various communities.
Herbert also has a National context alongside New-Wave playwrights of the 1970s and 1980s such as David Williamson. Unlike new wave playwrights, whose focus was on contemporary themes and settings, Herbert’s most commercially successful play ‘No names … No pack drill.’ was concerned with an historical story set in the 1940s.
This paper explores ‘No names … No pack drill’, how it has been promoted and productions of the play, to examine what it says about Australia’s relationship with the United States of America.
Graham Seaman is a Bachelor of Arts with Honours and a Graduate Diploma in Local, Family and Applied History graduate of the University of New England. He has directed productions of What Where by Samuel Beckett and Oh What A Lovely War at the University of New England. He worked with Adrian Kiernander as a research assistant on several books by Adrian Kiernander, Jonathan Bollen and Bruce Parr. He has also been a research assistant on several books by Lorraine Stacker. He trained in theatre at the Q Theatre, Penrith in acting and theatre.