Dynamic Playwrights' Program debuts at National Play Festival

Professional development workshops and forums exclusively for playwrights are key features of this year's National Play Festival.
Dynamic Playwrights' Program debuts at National Play Festival

Image courtesy Playwriting Australia. 

For the first time in the history of Playwriting Australia’s (PWA) National Play Festival, organisers are thrilled to be hosting a series of masterclasses, workshops and panel discussions, exclusively for Australian playwrights.

PWA Artistic Director Tim Roseman said the Playwrights’ Program had come from a desire to give playwrights an opportunity to step up professionally and upskill. ‘There are two legends of Australian theatre, Michael Gow and Joanna Murray-Smith, who each lead a two-hour intensive masterclass on an aspect of their craft.’


Held on Friday 13 June, Michael Gow’s Playwriting Masterclass will offer participants insights into finding inspiration from other sources and translating that into writing.

‘He has taken aspects from Chekov’s letters, William Archer and the 19th century, right up to David Edgar and beyond, to look at the things that he has picked up from other people and applied that to his own writing,’ said Roseman.

Following directly after Gow will be Murray Smith. ‘Joanna Murray-Smith is talking about emotional connection within writing, looking at courage, truth, intensity and what makes valuable writing.’

Presented on Sunday 15 June, Play:Relay is a multiskilled, tag-team masterclass exploring the craft of playwriting. ‘This is led by some of the greatest living playwrights ever,’ said Roseman.  

‘Mary Rachel Brown, Caleb Lewis, Jane Bodie, Debra Oswald, Lachlan Philpot are each going to teach a short segment of fifteen to twenty minutes on the things that they think they’re best at. It’s really a rapid fire chance for playwrights to get some tactical wisdom from some brilliant people,’ he said.

Held on Saturday 14 June, Playwrights’ Open Space is also a free event. ‘It’s something that I have been particularly excited about for some time. I hope to assemble the largest collection of playwrights that ever at Playwriting Australia, and avoid all of the normal ways that playwrights talk about the things that we do.’

Roseman said that he would essentially “hand the floor over” to the playwrights to talk.  ‘We’re not going to define the agenda, the rest of room is going to define the agenda. We’ll start with a provocation about what would a playwrights’ revolution would look like, and we will really be entirely led in those conversations by the writers who are present, and the things that are burning a hole in their souls.’

All events in the Playwrights’ Program will be held in the Sound Lounge at the Seymour Centre.

The Playwriting Australia National Play Festival runs from 12 to 15 June in Sydney.

For full program information and tickets visit the Playwriting Australia website

Troy Nankervis

Monday 2 June, 2014

About the author

Troy Nankervis is an ArtsHub journalist from Melbourne. Follow him on twitter @troynankervis