Joan and Betty Rayner: Strolling Players by Mavis Thorpe Clark

Melbourne: Lansdowne, 1972.
166 pages; hard-cover; 23cm; 6 pages of b/w plates.


Strolling Players, a commissioned work undertaken by Mavis Thorpe Clark in the early 1970s, describes two irrepressible theatrical troubadours, sisters Joan and Betty Rayner. Together, in 1948, they founded the Australian Children's Theatre and for most of their adult life, they have been "on the road" taking folk-songs, plays and stories around the world.


""Don't you two ever want to settle down and have a home?"

"We are settled," replied Betty. "To us being settled does not necessarily mean having a home, a husband and a family - or even the same four walls around us. It means feeling secure in our own selves and knowing what we want to put into life and what we want to get out of it … We hankered for a settled abode in our first years of travel and then accepted that it was just not possible in this career. We began to understand that home was far more than a house in one spot. It was an awareness of love and companionship and hospitality - something that had nothing to do with bricks and mortar.""

- Joan and Betty Rayner: Strolling Players (1972) page 116.

Previous Next

Cover: photograph of sisters Joan and Betty Rayner.

Cover of Joan and Betty Rayner: Strolling Players, 1972.