Reg Livermore - Take A Bow

Reg Livermore – Take a Bow was a free exhibition which pays tribute to the career of iconic performer and theatre legend Reg Livermore, applauding his unique contribution to Australian performing arts as an actor and writer.

On show at the Arts Centre Melbourne from
5 November 2011 - 26 February 2012 to critcial and public acclaim.

Reg Livermore has been entertaining audiences for over 50 years. Reg Livermore – Take a Bow reflects on his journey from a young stage-struck boy to his place as one of Australia's foremost performers. The exhibition celebrates his remarkable career including roles in The Rocky Horror Show, Barnum and The Producers, and his groundbreaking solo shows that began with Betty Blokk Buster Follies. Featuring stage costumes worn by Livermore and material from his personal archive, this is a rare opportunity to experience the creative talent of an Australian theatre legend.

Said Livermore about the exhibition: "I've been called many things over the course of my theatrical career...a national treasure... the King of the Boards... a genius at work... a legend ... etc etc (notice I only mention the good things). NOW they're telling me I'm a Museum Piece. Actually I take this as a compliment and very great honour. I am looking forward to the exhibition immensely, I'll be able to see exactly what I've been getting up to during the past 50+ years. I think you should find it interesting too. Put me in your diary."

Reg Livermore – Take a Bow features unique stage costumes donated by Livermore to the Arts Centre's Performing Arts Collection in 2006. Highlights include those worn for his best-known characters including Betty Blokk Buster, Vaseline Amalnitrate, Tara the Incredible and Carmen Marahuana.

In addition, Reg Livermore has generously provided access to his own collection of photographs, posters, scripts, correspondence and production footage.

Livermore's solo shows, which he wrote and performed during the 1970s and 1980s, are central to the exhibition. Innovative, outrageous and often controversial, these cabaret-style productions simultaneously entertained and challenged his audiences, and elevated Livermore to stardom. These shows burst onto the stage with Betty Blokk Buster Follies in 1975, followed by Wonder Woman (1976–77), Sacred Cow (1979–80), Son of Betty (1980), Sacred Cow II (1982) and Firing Squad (1983).

Reg Livermore – Take a Bow also provides an overview of his broader career including his work with repertory theatre companies in the late 1950s and 1960s, and his subsequent move into rock musicals, which began with Hair (1969) and led to his role as Australia's first Dr Frank'n'Furter in The Rocky Horror Show (1974). Other major musicals that starred Livermore are also represented including Barnum (1981–82), The Producers (2004–05) and Opera Australia's My Fair Lady (2008). In addition, Livermore's expert portrayal of character roles in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas for the Victoria State Opera and Opera Australia is honoured.

The exhibition also pays tribute to Reg Livermore's other original works including the musical Ned Kelly (1977–78); his series of one-man shows based on his long-term character, Leonard, initiated in 1989 with Wish You Were Here; and his plays The Thank You Dinner (2001 & 2008) and Turns (2011).

Since 1975, the Arts Centre has assembled one of the best performing arts collections in the world, comprising more than 400,000 items relating to circus, dance, music, opera and theatre.

The priceless collection comprises costumes, posters, programmes and other personal memorabilia from artists ranging from the legendary Dame Nellie Melba to Dame Edna Everage, and her cultural successor, Kylie Minogue.

Reg Livermore – Take a Bow is part of the Arts Centre's Icon exhibition series; a major annual exhibition that celebrates the careers of Australia's most recognised performing artists. Since the inaugural exhibition in 2005, the Icon exhibition series has been an outstanding success, attracting over two million visitors to the Arts Centre. Previous exhibitions have celebrated Australian icons including Kylie Minogue, Nick Cave, Dame Edna Everage, and more recently women in the Australian music scene with the Rock Chicks exhibition.


5 November 2011 – 26 February 2012
A FREE exhibition
Open daily until late
The Arts Centre Melbourne, Gallery 1


Join Reg Livermore and curator Margaret Marshall for a floor talk looking back at highlights of an extraordinary career.
Saturday 12 November 2011, 1pm, Gallery 1
Wednesday 22 February 2012, 12.30pm, Gallery 1

* Visit the Performing Arts Collection blog


* ABC Melbourne 774 with Jon Faine - February 22, 2012
* The Compleat Traveller - 2 February, 2012
* Theatre People - 14 November, 2011
* Breakfast with Red Symons - 14 November, 2011
* Sydney Mornning Herald / The Age - 12 November, 2011
* The Herald Sun - 11 November 07, 2011
* The Australian - 31 October, 2011
* The Herald Sun - November 07, 2011
* Weekend Notes - November, 2011

    Performing Arts Collection Photographs

  • All costumes: Gift of Reg Livermore, 2006
    The Arts Centre, Melbourne, Performing Arts Collection
    Photographs by Jeremy Dillon
    Exhibition curated by: Margaret Marshall

  • Arts Victoria