MTC launches $4.6 million playwright development program

The NEXT STAGE Writers’ Program will provide 50 opportunities for Australian writers, consisting of residencies and commissions across five years.

NEXT STAGE writers gather at the MTC: (L-R) Joanna Murray-Smith, Benjamin Law, Patricia Cornelius, Ellen van Neerven, Angus Cerini. Photo credit: Jarrod Barnes.

Seven writers – including a poet and a journalist – have been commissioned to develop new work for the stage as part of the landmark NEXT STAGE Writers’ Program, launched by Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) on Thursday night.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts