Donald McDonald rss


Culture Buff

28 March 2015

We’re all keen on infrastructure at the moment so it’s worth remembering what an astounding impact the Suez Canal made when opened in 1869. Cairo’s Royal Opera had opened just… Read more

Hugo Weaving by James Green

Culture buff

21 March 2015

In her memoir Must You Go?, Antonia Fraser records an exchange between her husband Harold Pinter and Samuel Beckett in Paris in 1984. ‘Pinter to Beckett after talking for some… Read more

Choragic Monument, Royal Botanic Gardens

Culture buff

14 March 2015

Nowadays we don’t often look to modern Greece for inspiration except for its physical beauty and the charm of its people. But the Ancients were another matter, still providing inspiration… Read more


Culture buff

7 March 2015

So familiar, Miriam Margolyes seems like one of us. Well, she is actually, because she took out Oz citizenship and lives here (at least at Robertson, NSW) for part of… Read more


Culture Buff

28 February 2015

Adelaide is the perfect festival city and its once biennial, now annual, Festival has been the pace setter for others around the country. Last year ticket buyers from outside South… Read more

Robyn Nevin by James Green

Culture buff

14 February 2015

He gave himself the name ‘Tennessee’; a creative and public relations masterstroke for a still unknown 28 year-old writer. Born Thomas Lanier Williams in New Orleans in 1911, he died… Read more

The Giants  Pascal Victor - Artcomart - Royal de Luxe - Nantes 2009

Culture buff

7 February 2015

Readers already know from this column something of the forthcoming Perth International Festival (13 Feb-7 Mar) with its huge Journey of the Giants street marionettes from Royal de Luxe in… Read more


Culture buff

31 January 2015

Possibly in the most beautiful setting of any theatre in the world, Sydney’s Wharf Theatre saw its first performances 30 years ago. On 17 January 1985, the Sydney Theatre Company… Read more

Alexander McCall Smith: Photo: Graham Clark

Culture buff

24 January 2015

This is a great time of the year to make progress with that stack of unread books. One of my daughter’s gifts was What W.H. Auden Can Do For You… Read more


Culture buff

17 January 2015

Wanting to love it was not enough; Mr Turner just didn’t quite do it for me. Mike Leigh’s new film about JW Turner proves that looking intriguing and beautiful isn’t… Read more

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. Photo: Brooke Holm

Culture buff

10 January 2015

Not many people would still argue that fashion, as in garments, has no place in an art museum. After all, the way that people decorate their bodies with clothing and… Read more


Culture buff

3 January 2015

I’m a bit perplexed about a current Christmas (perhaps I should say Xmas) craze. This is not a moan from a grumpy old man who didn’t find what he wanted… Read more

Anthony Minghella’s Madama Butterfly in Perth from 24 Feb

Culture buff

13 December 2014

The arts are alive and well heading into 2015   To follow a career in the performing arts, which I did for over four decades, you need to be a… Read more


Culture buff

6 December 2014

We’ve established that capital city festivals are for other people. Their principal purpose is to bring people into the city, not only tourists but people from the regions and the… Read more


Culture Buff

29 November 2014

John Hearder was a society photographer whose studio and display window were on Castlereagh Street between Rowe Street and the old Theatre Royal. In late December 1958 the display was… Read more


Culture Buff

22 November 2014

Andy Warhol is the star but Roy Lichtenstein is the master. That’s the quick take out of POP TO POPISM which is the current show at the Art Gallery of… Read more


Culture buff

15 November 2014

Jane Turner is to play a mother with a difficult daughter. No, it’s not a stage version of Kath & Kim, it’s a West End hit play, part of the… Read more


Culture buff

1 November 2014

I’m oversensitive to criticism of Australia by famous authors. Richard Flanagan, elated at winning the Man Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North, proceeded to tell British… Read more


Culture buff

25 October 2014

A highly successful tour of European festivals is a great boost to an orchestra. Not just to morale but to performance standards. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has enjoyed those benefits… Read more

James Green

Culture buff

18 October 2014

Happy is the theatre company that can enjoy the regular services of a genuine international star, as admired on stage as she is on film. Cate Blanchett’s commitment has extended… Read more


Culture Buff

11 October 2014

I’ve never entirely understood why big cities have arts festivals. Melbourne and Sydney are both big cities by any international comparison and yet they spend considerable sums to stage festivals.… Read more


Culture Buff

4 October 2014

He was born into Australian ballet aristocracy but now lives in Houston. Stanton Welch is the son of Marilyn Jones and Garth Welch, two of this country’s greatest and most… Read more


Culture Buff

27 September 2014

It all began in the mid-1960s for the Brilliant Creatures: Germaine, Clive, Barry & Bob, now given de luxe treatment in a two part documentary on the ABC. Germaine Greer,… Read more


Culture Buff

20 September 2014

It’s chamber orchestras at 20 paces. Both the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra have recently announced their programs for 2015; they want your business. Both present multiple… Read more


Culture Buff

13 September 2014

The village of Bibbenluke sits at the point where the Monaro Highway crosses the Bombala River. It’s beautiful, remote,  and harsh country; home to Lucy Culliton, one of the most… Read more