Playwriting Festival 2014

The NSW Writers’ Centre is proud to present the Playwriting Festival, directed by Vanessa Bates (Every Second, Porn Cake, The Magic Hour), on Saturday 29 March 2014.

The festival features a range of committed and dedicated theatre makers – directors, literary managers, artistic directors, dramaturgs, producers and of course, playwrights. These playwrights are a vibrant collection of voices; some emerging, some mid-career, some experienced, all passionate.

Building on the success of the 2012 Playwriting Festival directed by Kate Mulvany, this year’s event features a keynote address by Lally Katz (Neighbourhood Watch, Stories I Want to Tell You in Person), who has recently been appointed as an Associate Artist with Malthouse Theatre.

Other speakers include the Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellow Hilary Bell; teacher, mentor, playwright and dramaturg Lachlan Philpott; playwright and Head of Writing at NIDA, Stephen Sewell; writer and director Kit Brookman; playwright, screenwriter and Associate Artist at Griffin Theatre Company, Jane Bodie; and multi-award winning playwright Suzie Miller.

Chris Bendall (Critical Stages), Polly Rowe (Sydney Theatre Company), Lee Lewis (Griffin Theatre Company), Phil Spencer (Tamarama Rock Surfers Theatre Company) and Anthea Williams (Belvoir) will explore how to pitch your play to theatre companies.

The festival also includes Tim Roseman (Playwriting Australia), Jane Harrison (Stolen), Donna Abela (Jump for Jordan), Nakkiah Lui (This Heaven) and Ned Manning (Us or Them) exploring whether we show a diversity of Australian stories in theatres. Other panels will explore the collaborative process, using true stories in theatre, and what playwrights need to do to survive.

Download the full program here. Please note that the program and speakers are subject to change.

PLEASE NOTE – Program Change: Phil Spencer is replacing Leland Kean as a representative from Tamarama Rock Surfers Theatre. Jane Bodie will be replaced by Angela Betzien on ‘True Stories’, by Sue Smith on ‘Love Or Money’ and by Vanessa Bates on ‘Survival of the Species’.

To view photos of of the day, go here.Selected images by photographer Anita Pollard from the day are below.

Donna Abela has written over 30 original and adapted stage and radio plays for audiences of all ages. Her play Jump For Jordan won the 2013 Griffin Playwriting Prize and she is currently working on projects with the playwrights’ collective 7-ON. 








Vanessa Bates is an award-winning playwright whose works include Porn.Cake, Match, At Sea, Small Hard Things and The Magic Hour. She is a member of 7-ON and a recipient of a residency at Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris. She has written for television dramas including East West 101 and Rush, and won the 2012 NSW Premier’s Literary Award for best play.










Hilary Bell has written plays and libretti for musicals and operas including Wolf Lullaby, Fortune, The Anatomy Lesson of Doctor Ruysch, The Falls, Memmie Le Blanc, The Bloody Bride, The Splinter, The White Divers of Broome, Mrs President and The Wedding Song. She was the Tennessee Williams Fellow 2003-04 and is currently the Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellow.






Chris Bendall is an award-winning stage director and producer. And the current CEO of Critical Stages. He was Artistic Director of Deckchair Theatre from 2008 – 2012. He was Guest Programmer for Playwriting Australia’s 2013 National Play Festival, Chair of the WA playwright’s advocacy body Stages and is a member of the Theatre Nominating Panel for the Helpmann Awards.






Angela Betzien received the 2011 Sydney Theatre Award for Best New Australian work, the 2007 Richard Wherrett Award for Excellence in Playwriting, a 2007 Australian Writer’s Guild Award, and a 2012 Queensland Literary Award for Drama. Her plays include Hoods, War Crimes, The Teenage Alchemist, The Dark Room and Helicopter.







Kit Brookman is a Sydney-based writer and director. His recent work includes Small and Tired at Belvoir and Night Maybe for Stuck Pigs Squealing at Theatreworks in Melbourne. In 2014 he will co-write Nora for Belvoir and co-direct Is This Thing On? in the downstairs theatre.









Timothy Daly is one of Australia’s most internationally-produced playwrights. His play Kafka Dances has won over a dozen national and international awards, and is the most internationally-performed Australian play of all time. He is the 2013 recipient of a Paris Studio Residency Award by the Australia Council for the Arts.






Jane Harrison is a descendant of the Muruwari people of NSW. Her best known play is Stolen, which follows the lives of five Aboriginal people from the stolen generations. It has been produced around Australia, and in the UK, Tokyo, Canada and New York.







Noëlle Janaczewska is a writer of plays, performance texts, lyrics & libretti, monologues, poetry, essays, gallery and on-line explorations, and radio scripts. Her works include Third Person, Cloud Cover, Eyewitness Blues and The Hannah First Collection, 1919—1949 for the Zendai Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai.






Lally Katz writes for theatre, film and television. In 2013 her one-woman show, Stories I Want to Tell You in Person, played to packed audiences at Belvoir and Malthouse Theatres. Lally’s work for television includes Wonderland, Wentworth and Spirited and children’s series The Elephant Princess. She is currently adapting her play Neighborhood Watch for the screen with Gillian Armstrong attached to direct.




Verity Laughton’s work includes main-stage adult dramas, adaptations, plays for family audiences, and work for dance, puppets and theatre of image. Her awards include the Griffin Prize, 2001, Adelaide Critics’ Circle Best New Australian Play, 1999  and the Inscription Award, 2009.










Caleb Lewisplays include Nailed,Monkeyboy,Dogfall, Death in Bowengabbie, Rust and Bone, Clinchfield and Maggie Stone. He was mentored by Nick Enright and later Edward Albee, and is the winner of an Inscription Award, the Mitch Mathews Award and an AWGIE. He is also the inaugural winner of the Richard Burton Award for New Plays.







Lee Lewis is the Artistic Director of Griffin Theatre Company and has directed plays for Griffin, Bell Shakespeare, Sydney Theatre Company and Belvoir. Her recent work includes The Bull the Moon and the Coronet of Stars, Highway of Lost Hearts, and The Serpent’s Table at Sydney Festival.








Nakkiah Lui  is a Gamilaroi/Torres Strait Island woman who grew up in Mount Druitt. In 2012, she won the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright Award, won the Australia Council’s Dreaming Award, finished her law degree and had her play This Heaven programmed for Belvoir’s 2013 Season.




Ned Manning is a writer, actor and educator. Among his published plays are Us or Them, Milo, Close to the Bone, Luck of the Draw and Alice Dreaming. As an actor, Ned has appeared in some of Australia’s most loved film, television and theatre productions including Looking for Alibrandi, Offspring and Aftershocks.






Suzie Miller is a multi-award winning playwright currently working with Sydney’s Griffin Theatre, Black Swan State Theatre Company, ATYP, Legs on the Wall, LIVE theatre in Newcastle UK, Oran M’or and the Perth Theatre in Scotland.









Jane Phegan is a Company Artist with version 1.0 Inc. and has devised and performed in most of their major works since 2005, including the Helpmann Award winning THIS KIND OF RUCKUS, Deeply Offensive & Utterly Untrue and The Table of Knowledge.







Lachlan Philpott is a playwright, Chair of the Australian Writer’s Guild Playwrights Committee and does extensive work as a teacher, mentor and dramaturg. He was Literary Associate at ATYP where he ran Fresh Ink, and he has been Writer in Residence at Red Stitch Theatre, Griffin Theatre Company and The Playwrights Foundation among others. In 2013, he was awarded an Australia Council Cultural Leadership grant.









Katie Pollock is a Sydney-based playwright and dramaturg. Her plays for theatre include The Hansard Monologues: A Matter of Public Importance, The Blue Angel Hotel, A Quiet Night In Rangoon, A Girl Called Red and Blue Italian. 









Tim Roseman is a director, dramaturg and producer, and is Artistic Director of Playwriting Australia. He has worked extensively in new writing and has directed plays in the UK with the Royal Court Theatre, National Theatre, Old Vic, Young Vic, Tricycle Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, Soho Theatre, Gate Theatre, Theatre Royal Haymarket, Pleasance and Salisbury Playhouse.






Polly Rowe has been Literary Manager at Sydney Theatre Company for six years. Her role includes consulting on programming decisions, commissioning new plays and providing dramaturgical support to playwrights. She also curates STC’s Rough Draft creative development program.








Stephen Sewell is the Head of Writing at NIDA and is well-known for his film and theatre work, including his AFI Award winning script of The Boys, as well as plays including The Blind Giant is Dancing and It Just Stopped. He was awarded the prestigious ANPC Award for Significant Contribution to Australian Theatre in 2004.






Sue Smith is an experienced and multi award winning screenwriter and playwright.  Her credits include the ABC telefilm Mabo, the miniseries Bastard Boys; the feature film Peaches, and the SBS miniseries RAN, which Sue co-wrote with John Alsop and Alice Addison.  She co-wrote the feature film Saving Mr Banks, which was produced by the Disney Corporation and released internationally in late 2013. Other credits include, in partnership with John Alsop, the adaptation of My Brother Jack, the ABC series Bordertown, and the two multi-award-winning mini series The Leaving of Liverpool and Brides of Christ. Sue was the recipient of the Foxtel Fellowship for television writing in 2010.   Her stageplay Kryptonite will appear in the 2014 seasons of the Sydney Theatre Company and the State Theatre Company of South Australia.




Phil Spencer is Acting Artistic Director at Rock Surfers Theatre Company. Since graduating from the University of Glasgow, he has worked professionally as a writer, performer, director, festival director & creative producer in both the UK and Australia. Phil programs and produces Sydney based arts events Bondi Feast, The Horse’s Mouth festival and the bi-monthly scratch night Cut & Paste.





Augusta Supple is the Assistant Director of the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. She is an independent theatre director, creative producer, script assessor, arts commentator and reviewer. She has produced and directed a range of multi-playwright projects, festivals, residencies to support the development of Australian playwriting including Mayday Playwrights Festival (2013), Singled Out (2013), A View From Moving Windows (2012), Platonic (2012), I Contain Multitudes (2011), Stories from the 428 (2010), Brand Spanking New: a Celebration of New Australian Writing (2008-2010), Metamorphases (2007), Off the Shelf and Blueprint Residencies (2009-2010).






Anthea Williams is Belvoir’s Literary Manager. For Belvoir she has directed Forget Me Not (Tom Holloway) and Old Man (Matthew Whittet) and been dramaturg for This Heaven (Nakkiah Lui) and Small and Tired (Kit Brookman). Her work has toured Britain extensively at places including The Drum Theatre Plymouth, The Ustinov Bath, and the Latitude Festival.


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