I have the impression that writers tend to undersell themselves. I see writers underselling themselves all the time, a habit that comes hand in hand with lack of self confidence and general bambozzlement. I keep coming across this with writers who are asked to talk about heir work and writers who are asking for funding. Whether we fear we aren’t worthy, or we fear rejection or we fear what others will think of us, it’s time to unpack it. Sit ourselves down and give ourselves a good talking to. Perhaps it’s a theatre thing, or an Australian cultural thing or a women thing (most playwrightsRead More →

Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash I do a lot of work with people new to playwriting. They are so ’emerging’ as to be absolute beginners. Theatre companies don’t normally encourage absolute beginners but mine does. We encourage it because we recognise that only paying attention to ‘established playwrights’ is a surefire way to exclude diversity, eschew community relevant stories, and support pale, stale and elitist theatre. So in my work I see great stacks of freshly minted scripts by hopeful new playwrights, mostly by early career playwrights. There’s are a few novice playwriting habits that regularly come up and I just need to pointRead More →

Have you ever been baffled by failure to get the funding you’ve been counting on? That grant you applied for and got the dreaded ‘unsuccessful submission’ email, that wickedly compelling artistic rationale, that water-tight budget, that impressive CV that bizarrely didn’t rate? You didn’t make the cut. What happened? What did you do wrong?!?? The disappointment of not getting the grant you really needed can be absolutely crushing and can desiccate your enthusiasm for a script idea you once loved like a wee-wickle baby. The truth is, most regrettably, that arts funding is crazy competitive. There’s only so much money, and only so many projectsRead More →

I had the absolute pleasure of being on the assessment panel for the Erin Thomas Award this week, a fund awarded through Australian Plays Transform (APT), the national playwriting peak body. Erin Thomas was a regional playwright (from Tamworth!) who created a career for herself as a playwright and dramaturge. She passed away in 2015 and her family created a legacy of an annual award program where regional playwrights of merit receive dramaturgical support and a travel bursary to help them establish their career. Such a cool idea. Being a regional playwright and dramaturg myself, I know it is really very hard to find accessRead More →

Recently I’ve been watching a sci-fi series Fall Out, a TV series adaptation of a video game. I’d never heard of this game but my 20-year old son says it’s an old school corker of a role-play game. General premise of the TV series: Set in a retro-futuristic world following a nuclear war, there exists a small pocket of humanity flourishing in a 1950’s moral bubble inside a bunker-like underground vault. Outside the world has gone to hell, a fact quickly realised by our hero, Lucy, a doe-eyed, goody-two-shoeing American sweetheart, when she must leave the vault to rescue her kidnapped father. She navigates theRead More →

Main Character Syndrome (MCS) has recently entered the lexicon. Like this year basically is when I first began hearing it regularly, and that means not much because memes circulate in small eddies for a long time before joining the main stream conversation. MCS describes a person who thinks they are the protagonist of any situation they are in. Its a way of saying a person always thinks they are the most important person in the space. Accusing someone of being a Main Character is a version of saying “Everything’s about you, isn’t it?” It’s the opposite of NPC (non Player Character) I guess. Which is ofRead More →

Ever been to a writer’s retreat? It’s a noble idea, but do they actually allow you to get ahead with your work? That depends entirely on….so many things. I’ve hosted and facilitated mini playwright retreats for JUTE’s Write Sparks playwrights and JUTE Writers-in-residence way back in the day, like just weekend ones. I want to investigate more by going to another source for inspiration. I’m way far from being a professional writer’s retreat guru, but I still have some ideas about what it means to retreat. We live in an age of retreats. We’re fond of retreating for all sorts of reasons: health, meditation, yoga,Read More →

(‘the beautiful image’) LA BELLA FIGURA, literally ‘the beautiful image’, is a uniquely Italian concept. It means more than just keeping up appearances and dressing sharp for the camera. It’s an attitude, a way of life, a philosophy, a moral code even. “I just wanted them to understand what it’s like. Behind all the cliches, you know. The loving fat Nonna in the kitchen. The happy Nonno in the garden. The gaudy furniture. The cute and tidy stories of immigration. “ So what is behind all the cliches? This is your chance to find out! Thursday, OCTOBER 31! 6:00 PM. Botanic Gardens Visitor’s Centre! ComeRead More →

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 →