Not in Print: playwrights off script - on inspiration, process and theatre itself

War Crimes: How do you win the battle inside your head? l Award-winning Australian theatre

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A powerful story of five disenfranchised young women who are fighting for respect, railing against authority and struggling to form an identity in a small town with limited opportunities. The relocation of an Iraqi refugee family to the town provokes a climate of hostility and tension that threatens to violently explode.

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Angela Betzien is a multi-award winning writer and a founding member of independent theatre company Real TV; her work has toured widely across Australia and internationally. She is currently the Patrick White Fellow at Sydney Theatre Company and developing new plays for them, as well as Melbourne Theatre Company and Belvoir.

Angela’s play Children of the Black Skirt toured Australian schools for three years and won the 2005 Drama Victoria Award for Best Performance by a Theatre Company for Secondary Schools. Another work, Hoods, won the AWGIE Award for Theatre for Young Audiences in 2007 and the Richard Wherrett Award for Theatre for Young Audiences in the same year.

An Ever Changing Idiom - Alana Valentine’s response to Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, by Ray Lawler

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Alana Valentine reads her response to Summer of the Seventeenth Doll by Ray Lawler. It’s called An Ever-Changing Idiom and features in the Currency Press series, Cue the Chorus, in which an assortment of respected Australian playwrights respond to the work of their peers. You can download all the responses in the series from our website - currencypress.com.au


A little bit about Alana Valentine. She is one of Australia’s most renowned and respected writers. Valentine writes for the stage, screen, radio and multimedia projects, but is perhaps best known for her plays. She is well known for her rigorous use of research within the community she is writing about. Her work for the stage includes Run Rabbit Run, Parramatta Girls, Cyberbile, Ear to the Edge of Time and Comin’ Home Soon. She has received numerous awards, both in Australia and internationally.

Hoods: Who is responsible for childrens’ welfare? l Award-winning Australian theatre

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Each night two hoods ride a train to a wrecking yard on the outskirts of the city. Here, in this cemetery of stories, they are storytellers with the power to fast forward, pause and rewind. Tonight they tell the story of three kids left in a car. Exploring issues of poverty and family violence, Hoods is a suburban tale of survival and solidarity against the odds.

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Angela Betzien is a multi-award winning writer and a founding member of independent theatre company Real TV; her work has toured widely across Australia and internationally. She is currently the Patrick White Fellow at Sydney Theatre Company and developing new plays for them, as well as Melbourne Theatre Company and Belvoir.

Angela’s play Children of the Black Skirt toured Australian schools for three years and won the 2005 Drama Victoria Award for Best Performance by a Theatre Company for Secondary Schools. Another work, War Crimes, won the 2012 Kit Denton Fellowship and the QLD Literary Award for Playwriting; it was also nominated for a NSW Premier’s Literary Award in 2012.

The Secret River: Our history is contested space l Classic Australian theatre

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William Thornhill: Born into brutal poverty in London in the late 18th century and transported to the Colony of New South Wales for theft in 1806. After earning his freedom he brings his wife and children to the Hawkesbury River where they ‘take up’ 100 acres of land, only to discover that it’s not theirs to take.

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Andrew Bovell writes for the stage, television and film. In 1992 he wrote the original screenplay for Strictly Ballroom and in 2001 he went on to adapt his stage play Speaking in Tongues in to the feature film, Lantana. The film premiered at the Sydney Film Festival in 2001 and went on to screen at numerous international film festivals winning many awards. Most recently Andrew adapted John Le Carre’s novel A Most Wanted Man.

His theatre credits include Scenes from a Separation (with Hannie Rayson); Speaking in Tongues, which premiered at Griffin Theatre in 1996 and has had over 50 other productions worldwide; Holy Day, which won the Louis Esson Prize for Drama at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and the AWGIE Award for Best Stage Play (2002); and When the Rain Stops Falling, which won Queensland and Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for Best Play, the Adelaide Critics Circle Individual Award, Sydney Theatre Award for Best New Australian Work and 3 Greenroom Awards including Best New Writing for the Australian Stage.

Brothers Wreck: How many people does it take for us to live? l Award-winning Australian theatre

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Brothers Wreck is about life, even though it begins with a death. On a hot morning under a house in Darwin, Ruben wakes to find his cousin, Joe, hanging from the rafters. What follows is the story of a family buffeted by constant tragedy, holding itself together. And little by little, they bring Ruben back from the edge.

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Jada Alberts is a Larrakia, Bardi, Wadaman and Yanuwa performer from the Top End of Australia. She graduated in 2006 from the Adelaide Centre for the Arts and in 2007 won the Adelaide Critics’ Circle Award for Best Emerging Artist. Jada has appeared on stage in Frost/Nixon, The Birthday Party, Second to None and Yibiyung; most recently she played Goneril in the national tour of The Shadow King. Jada appeared in the feature film Red Hill and on television in Rush Series III, Redfern Now, Wentworth and the upcoming Wentworth Series II. Jada is also an accomplished musician and painter of contemporary Indigenous art, and in 2013 she won the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwrights Award.

8GB of Hardcore Pornography: barely concealed desperation l Award-winning Australian theatre

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They met online. She’s a nurse in her forties, trapped in a loop of catastrophic debt. He’s in IT, trapped in his own loop of nightly porn-trawling. Both crave something else, but not necessarily each other. A deceptively compassionate cringe-comedy of mid-life loneliness and hidden zip folders. 

Please note: this episode contains strong language and adult themes.

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Declan Greene is a writer and theatre-maker based in Melbourne. His plays include A Black Joy, Moth, Summertime in the Garden of Eden and Little Mercy. His work has been produced at Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, the Sydney Opera House and various backyards in suburban Melbourne. Awards include the Malcolm Robertson Prize, the R.E. Ross Trust Playwright’s Development Award, an AWGIE Award and Green Room Awards.

The Removalists: Who’s in charge here? l Classic Australian theatre

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A young policeman’s first day on duty becomes a violent and highly charged initiation into law enforcement. Remarkable for its blend of boisterous humour and horrifying violence, The Removalists has acquired a reputation as a classic statement on Australian authoritarianism.

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David Williamson is Australia’s best known and most widely performed playwright. He was the first person outside Britain to receive the George Devine Award (for The Removalists). And the awards kept coming; they include 12 AWGIE Awards, five Australian Film Institute Awards for Best Screenplay, and in 1996, The United Nations Association of Australian Media Peace Award. In 2005 he was given the Richard Lane Award for services to the Australian Writers’ Guild. David has also received four honorary doctorates and been made an Officer of the Order of Australia. His prodigious output for the stage includes The Department, Don’s Party, The Club, Travelling North, Emerald City, Brilliant Lies and Dead White Males.

Jump for Jordan: caught between cultures l Award-winning Australian theatre

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Aspiring archaeologist, Sophie, left home when she was 20, much to the shame of her traditional Jordanian mother. Years later, losing sleep and petrified by the judgement of her visiting ‘mad Arab’ Aunty Azza, Sophie's forced to lie about her life, her career and the existence of her Aussie partner. Worst of all is the fear that she’s also lying to herself.

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Donna Abela served her playwriting apprenticeship at Powerhouse Youth Theatre, a company she co-founded in 1987 in Sydney’s culturally diverse western suburbs. Donna worked continuously with PYT for the next seventeen years as it consolidated its practice of community collaboration.


She has worked extensively as a dramaturge and script assessor for various theatre companies and organisations, including the Australian Writers' Guild and the Australian National Playwrights' Centre. Donna also teaches writing, and has lectured in scriptwriting at Wesley Institute since 1991.

Over her career, Donna has written more than 30 stage and radio plays for audiences of all ages. Credits include: A Cleansing Force, Olympia and Phoung, Spirit, The Greatest Show On Earth, The Rood Screen, The Daphne Massacre and Mrs Macquarie’s Cello.

Silent Disco: plugging in and tuning out l Award-winning Australian theatre

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Tamara and Jasyn are in love. Jasyn wants to take Tamara to the formal, but he hasn’t got the cash. And in a world of absent mothers and distant fathers, Miss Petchall battles to keep another year of students out of the ranks of the vanished. Tamara and Jasyn soon come to realise just how hard it can be to find your own rhythm when everyone is marching to the beat of a different drum.


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Lachlan Philpott is a playwright, director and teacher. He graduated from the University of New South Wales, The Victorian College of the Arts and NIDA’s Playwrights Studio. He has previously been Artistic Director of Tantrum Theatre in Newcastle, writer-in-residence at Red Stitch in Melbourne and the Literary Associate at ATYP.


His plays have been performed across Australia as well as Ireland, the UK and the USA. They include Air Torture, Bison, Bustown, Catapult, Colder, Due Monday, Running Under the Sprinkler and Truck Stop.

Introduction to Silent Disco l Reflecting on award-winning Australian theatre

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Noel Jordan reads his introduction to Silent Disco, by Lachlan Philpott. Jordan is currently the Education Manager at Melbourne Theatre Company. He's previously worked as Director of the Come Out Festival, Curator and Producer at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Producer for Young Audiences at Sydney Opera House and a Drama Lecturer at the University of Melbourne.

The Seed: How well do you know your family? l Award-winning Australian theatre

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Meet Rose Maloney. Her dad went to Vietnam. Her grandfather is ex-IRA. Today's their collective birthday. From this intimate reunion, a silent family battle opens up, becoming a national story about finding new life amongst the rubble of old wars.


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As an actor Kate Mulvany has played lead roles with several major Australian theatre companies as well as appearing on TV and in film. As a writer, her plays include The Web, Blood and Bone (winner of Naked Theatre Company’s “Write Now"! Award), The Danger Age, which was shortlisted for the STC's Patrick White Playwrights Award, Masquerade, an adaptation of Kit William's classic children's tale, which featured at the 2015 Sydney Festival, and several other adaptations of classic works.

The Making of a Great Play l Reflecting on award-winning Australian theatre

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Eamon Flack reads his foreword to The Seed, by Kate Mulvany. It’s called The Making of a Great Play, and this is something Eamon knows a lot about. He's worked extensively in theatre companies around the country. He is a writer and director - currently the Artistic Associate at Belvoir - and he has been at the helm of many successful productions.

Cosi: A symphony of operatic madness l Classic Australian theatre

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Lewis is a bit of a non-participant in life, but when he takes up an opportunity to direct a play at a mental institution - for a bit of extra cash - he gets much more than he bargained for. He becomes emotionally involved with his actors’ lives as his production lurches forward, and the anti-Vietnam war protests take place in the streets outside.


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Louis Nowra is one of Australia’s most successful writers. He has penned novels, crafted film scripts, authored two memoirs and worked as a librettist, but he is perhaps best known for his plays. Since the early 1970s he has created over 30 stories for the stage; several of them have earned a rightful place in the Australian dramatic canon, and our hearts. They include Summer of the AliensRadianceThe Golden Age, The Temple and Albert Names Edward.

Trial by Madmen l Reflecting on classic Australian theatre

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Louis Nowra reads his introduction to Cosi. It’s called Trial by Madmen and you'll see that, once again, truth is stranger than fiction. And if you thought you knew everything there was to know about one of Australia's most beloved plays, think again.

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Louis Nowra is one of Australia’s most successful writers. He has penned novels, crafted film scripts, authored two memoirs and worked as a librettist, but he is perhaps best known for his plays. Since the early 1970s he has created over 30 stories for the stage; several of them have earned a rightful place in the Australian dramatic canon, and our hearts. They include Summer of the AliensRadianceThe Golden Age, The Temple and Albert Names Edward.

The Shoe-horn Sonata: digging up the past l Award-winning Australian theatre

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In 1945 Sheila and Bridie were freed from a Japanese POW camp deep in the jungles of Sumatra where thousands of women and children had lived and died virtually forgotten by their own governments. Now, after being separated for half a century, the filming of a television documentary forces them to relive the past, contact the present and question the future.


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After working as a solicitor, John Misto changed direction; he decided to become a writer. That career change eventually led to The Shoe-Horn Sonata. It is dense, shocking and poignant - a piece of narrative non-fiction that depicts real life events with a solicitors’ attention to factual detail and a storyteller’s understanding of how emotional truths must be drawn out through narrative construction. The play won the 1995 NSW Premier’s Literary Award, but John was (perhaps) more satisfied that it had rung true for the WWII nurses whose story he was sharing with the world.

Scores to be Settled l Reflections on award-winning Australian theatre

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Erin Dewar reads Vera Rado’s introduction to The Shoe-horn Sonata. Rado was one of the many prisoners of war John Misto interviewed when conducting his research for the play. She endured three years in captivity and was moved to tears when she saw John’s play, because her story was finally being recognised.

The Unacknowledged l Reflections on award-winning Australian theatre

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Toby Leon reads Jan McCarthy’s foreword to The Shoe-Horn Sonata, which was first performed in 1995 at the Ensemble Theatre in Sydney. Jan McCarthy is a former Director of the Nursing Services Army, Member of the Nurses’ National Memorial Committee and Honorary Colonel - and Representative Honorary Colonel - of the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps.

Stories in the Dark: princes, wolf-mothers & singing bones l Award-winning Australian theatre

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Tomas, 12, finds himself trapped in a war torn city, separated from his family. He takes refuge in a derelict house with Anna, 16. Every night she tells him folk stories to distract them from the sound of bombs outside, mingling the magic and earthy wisdom of folk tales with the hard-edged story of violence, conflict and the struggle to survive.


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Debra Oswald announced to her parents that she was going to be a playwright at twelve years old and she has been sharing stories ever since. Her broad body of work has been seen on screens large and small, watched in darkened theatres across the world, and read by too many people to count. She had early success with her play Dags and continued on with acclaimed works such as The Peach Season, Gary's House, Skate and House on Fire. She was also the creator and head writer for the smash hit television series, Offspring on Channel Ten.

Playwright’s Note for Stories in the Dark l Reflecting on award-winning Australian theatre

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Debra Oswald reads her playwright’s note for Stories in the Dark. It’s about obsession. The good kind. The kind that incites action, creativity, and in this case, the mixture of seemingly disconnected elements.

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Debra Oswald announced to her parents that she was going to be a playwright at twelve years old and she has been sharing stories ever since. Her broad body of work has been seen on screens large and small, watched in darkened theatres across the world, and read by too many people to count. She had early success with her play Dags and continued on with acclaimed works such as The Peach Season, Gary's House, Skate and House on Fire. She was also the creator and head writer for the smash hit television series, Offspring on Channel Ten.

Moth: The chaos of teenage friendship l Award-winning Australian theatre

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Sebastian: fifteen, terminally unpopular, an overactive imagination and an obsession with anime and death. His only friend, Claryssa: emo Wiccan art-freak, barely one rung higher than him on the social ladder. A night drinking down at the cricket nets soon gives way to an ecstatic vision that leaves Sebastian unconscious, and their friendship left in ruin.

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Declan Greene is a writer and theatre-maker based in Melbourne. His plays include A Black JoyEight Gigabytes of Hardcore PornographySummertime in the Garden of Eden and Little Mercy. His work has been produced at Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, the Sydney Opera House and various backyards in suburban Melbourne. Awards include the Malcolm Robertson Prize, the R.E. Ross Trust Playwright’s Development Award, an AWGIE Award and Green Room Awards.

The Excruciating Theatre of Declan Greene l Reflections on award-winning Australian theatre

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Toby Leon reads Declan Greene’s Excruciating Theatre. It's Chris Kohn’s foreword to Moth, by Declan Greene, which Chris commissioned in 2010 when he was the Artistic Director of Arena Theatre Company in Melbourne.

Speaking in Tongues: mysterious reflections, love’s refractions l Award-winning Australian theatre

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Two couples set out to betray their partners. A lover returns from the past and a husband doesn’t answer the phone. A woman disappears. Her neighbour's the prime suspect. In this masterfully interconnected polyphony, an evocative mystery unravels alongside a devastating tale of disconnection between individuals, partners and communities.


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Andrew Bovell writes for the stage, television and film. In 1992 he wrote the original screenplay for Strictly Ballroom and in 2001 he went on to adapt his stage play Speaking in Tongues in to the feature film, Lantana. The film premiered at the Sydney Film Festival in 2001 and went on to screen at numerous international film festivals winning many awards. Most recently Andrew adapted John Le Carre’s novel A Most Wanted Man.

His theatre credits include Scenes from a Separation (with Hannie Rayson); Speaking in Tongues, which premiered at Griffin Theatre in 1996 and has had over 50 other productions worldwide; Holy Day, which won the Louis Esson Prize for Drama at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and the AWGIE Award for Best Stage Play (2002); and When the Rain Stops Falling, which won Queensland and Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for Best Play, the Adelaide Critics Circle Individual Award, Sydney Theatre Award for Best New Australian Work and 3 Greenroom Awards including Best New Writing for the Australian Stage.

Playwright’s Note for Speaking in Tongues l Reflections on award-winning Australian theatre

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Erin Dewar reads Andrew Bovell’s introduction to Speaking in Tongues, which was first performed in 1996 by the Griffin Theatre Company. The play has become an Australian classic - a rich and complex work that offers a few new answers, and mysteries, each time you approach it.