The Happy Land

by Marcus Clarke

The women of Fairyland grow restless.


Breakdown of your purchase

Total Price:
Single Play:


The women of Fairyland grow restless in Marcus Clarke‘s The Happy Land.


Life above the clouds has grown dull and they wish to experience the mortal world, a place they think is far to wicked for the likes of them. So rather than travelling there themselves, they will bring a touch of Earth too Fairyland. Naturally, the visitors to Fairyland would have to be well learned, respectful, trustworthy and must represent the best aspects of mankind, and the only place to find such men is in the Victorian parliament, of course. So, without delay, three ‘upstanding’ examples of Victorian government are whisked away to Fairyland to teach its fairest residents about the political economy.


Fairy Court a threat to Australian Parliament!

The story behind the play is a tale of the working class man taking a swing at the highborn, and getting flattened. Clarke was a journalist, celebrated novelist, and performed playwright. Shortly after The Happy Land was produced/shut down he declared bankruptcy and died.

Had his timing been different, Clarke’s play may have been able to finish its season in Melbourne, but this is what made it so notable. The Happy Land was staged in the lead up to the Victorian election, in a time where the houses of parliament resembled the class struggle, suffragists constantly campaigned, and the press was making a farce of the idea of women being in politics. In it Clarke dragged three key Victorian MPs in a similar style to the 2016 US Election SNL skits: not subtle. Despite being pre-emptively banned, the show went on in an abridged version. Audiences enjoyed it with a copy of the full play script in their hands, having been circulated through a popular newspaper. The process of putting the play on and protesting about it being taken off the stage made it just as notorious as the original dialogue [would have], and extends the political drama well past the footlights. The entire story of the play, its making, and its larrikin playwright, feeds into a national dialogue about freedom of speech, sources of power, and the quintessentially Australian healthy disrespect for authority.


Marcus Clarke wrote The Happy Land, an Australian adaptation of an English political burlesque in 1873, however it was not performed until January 1880, by the Academy of Music in Melbourne. Following the two official performances, the play was famously banned in Victoria. Staged in the lead up to a Victorian election, the political satire was feared by the Chief Secretary as he faced the crucial re-election period. He moved pre-emptively and prohibited any version of the play be localised in Melbourne. He acted under Victoria’s Licensed Theatre Statute of 1865, which granted him the power to forbid a piece of theatre he considered unsavoury. This power had never been invoked before and caused a political uproar. The play was subsequently performed at other colonies in Australia without problems.

ISBN 978 192190 26 5

Print-on-Demand (POD)

Print-On-Demand (POD) is a service Playlab Theatre offers to help cater to customers who prefers/needs to have a physical printout of a digital script. We can also provide the hardcopies to suit a variety of situations that includes rehearsals, studies and/or libraries to have on their shelves.

Please note that:

  • POD Copies are charged at a flat rate of $9.00 each in addition to the digital price of the text (Not including sale prices).
  • A POD copy is a thermal fastback binding copy as depicted in the pictures below, it is not the same as a standard hardcopy script offered by Playlab.


POD Sample

Photocopy Licences

A Photocopy Licence is required to make copies of any purchased digital play script. Should you wish to make additional copies for a cast to rehearse or a class to study, you will need to purchase the necessary licence by:

  • Adding the Photocopy Licence to your shopping cart when you purchase a digital script. OR
  • Downloading the ‘Photocopy Licence and POD Order Form’ below and returning it to Playlab digitally to or via mail to PO Box 3701 South Brisbane B.C, 4101.


Photocopy Licence and POD Order Form


Please note:

  • Photocopy Licences are not available for hardcopy scripts.
  • Educational institutions covered by a Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) licence should take note that their CAL licence only allows them to copy a maximum of one chapter or 10% of a script whether it is in digital or hardcopy format.
  • A Photocopy Licence does not include the right to on-sell copies of the script printed under the licence.
  • Playwrights receive royalties from the sale of licences.

Performance Rights

Let Playlab Theatre help you obtain the performance rights for your production. Simply click on ‘Performance Rights Enquiry Form’ below and we will get you on track to having your production off the page and onto stage.

Performance Rights Enquiry Form

Any performance or public reading of any text published by Playlab Theatre is forbidden unless a licence has been received from the author or the author’s agent. The purchase of a Playlab Theatre publication in no way gives the purchaser the right to perform the play in public, whether by means of a staged production or as a reading. Please direct all inquiries concerning performance rights, publication, translation or recording rights to or call us on (07) 3220 2763.