The biennial Tropical Writer’s Festival was held the other weekend in Cairns amid a great wrangle of words, bruised keyboards and wriggling pens. After Richard Flanagan’s recent blistering article regarding the recent bothersome nature of ‘safe’ Australian Writer’s Festivals, we were bracing for a few more verbal assaults on the topic of writers actually having an opinion at a writer’s festival. There was some keen debate, for sure. And so there should be. But as forums for public debate and discussion vanish throughout the country, … the importance of community events like writers’ festivals only grows in importance. They should not answer either to theRead More →

Wesley Enoch asks, “Is it just me or are we seeing more homophobia, racism, sexism on our stages?” The National Play Fest began with Wesley Enoch, an indigenous director and playwright, delivering the Inaugural Nick Enright Keynote Address. Wes made just a few waves when he suggested mid-way through his speech that we all stop creating plays that make race and gender issues into pop-culture satirical entertainment. More recently there have been a few shows, popular shows at that, created by non-White or Queer writers wherein race and gender politics are made into laugh-out-loud comic affairs. He spoke about how racist name-calling, gender-shaming and homophobic attitudeRead More →

I went to the National Play Festival in Sydney, facilitated by Playwriting Australia (PWA)- five days of play readings, masterclasses and industry discussions. Are we any wiser? Are we any stronger? Are we any better equipped as writers to meet the challenge of telling Australian stories with truth and vigour and integrity? What are the PWA takeaways?Read More →

You’d be forgiven for thinking us playwrights have run short on ideas, and our desperate idle fingers are grasping toward our bedside table book stacks for inspiration. Popular books being adapted to stage plays is simply all the rage.  Have playwrights run out of ideas? Definitely not. There is something to it though, clearly.Read More →

By the time he was singing Hurt, Johnny Cash was an old man, bloated and in physical pain, still a rich man, still a legend, about as famous and iconic as a country singer can be, and here he was singing about the futility of all of it. And you can have it all. My empire of dirt…” he sings as he shakily pours a glass of red wine out over the table he sits at.  Nine months later he was dead. —————————————— I’ve been taking both my dogs for a walk in the mornings, down our steep hill and into the floodplain parklands, along theRead More →

One of my resolutions habit goals for this first quarter of 2018 is to get up close to more plays. The more you know, the more you know how, you know.  January is a long dark month for theatre people.  Only a few shows stand in the limelight this time of year. So when you can’t go to the theatre you bring the theatre to you.  My first week of 2018 had me reading seven play scripts, one of which was Lachlan Philpott’s Silent Disco, which may be the subject of another blog post some time because it is so damn good. There are literally thousands ofRead More →