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

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.

Stories of Love and Hate: When do they collide? l Headphone verbatim theatre

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At times funny, bizarre and confronting, cultures and ideologies collide in this intimate and innately Australian exploration of love and loss. Drawing the 2005 Cronulla Riots, which attracted worldwide attention for all the wrong reasons, Stories of Love & Hate considers the idea of hate being a consequence of feeling that the things we love are under threat.

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Roslyn Oades is well known for her pioneering work in the field of headphone verbatim and audio-driven performance, taking real life and fusing it into storytelling. As an artist, Roslyn harbors a long-term fascination for vocal patterns and moonlights as a well-known cartoon character voice performer—including major roles on the animated TV series Tracey McBean, Bananas in Pyjamas and Zigby. She has also worked extensively as a TV actor and puppeteer.

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.

Shafana & Aunt Sarrinah: What do you do when you disagree with someone you love? l Provocative Australian theatre

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At the heart of Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah is the relationship between an aunt, Sarrinah, and her niece, Shafana. Both devout Muslims, the younger woman wants to put on a headscarf, the older woman tries to dissuade her. For Sarrinah, the hijab represents a world from which she has escaped; for her niece, Shafana, it is a personal statement of renewed faith.

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Alana Valentine is one of Australia’s most renowned and respected playwrights. Her work for the stage includes Grounded, Cyberbile, Run Rabbit Run, Parramatta Girls, Eyes to the Floor, Watermark, Swimming the Globe, The Conjurers, Comin’ Home Soon, Dead Man Brake, Singing the Lonely Heart and Savage Grace.

Her writing has been awarded many times, including the Queensland and NSW Premier’s Awards, five AWGIE awards, including the inaugural David Williamson Prize and the Major AWGIE in 2013, the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award, a residency at the Banff Playwrights Conference in Canada, the ANPC/New Dramatists Award, a Churchilll Fellowship, a Centenary Medal and an International Writing Fellowship at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. In 2012 she won the prestigious STAGE Award—judged by Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights and Nobel Laureates—for her play Ear to the Edge of Time.

Radiance: Families are full of secrets l Classic Australian theatre

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Cressy, Mae and Nona are half sisters with little in common bar the ghosts from their childhood. They return to their childhood home on the eve of their mother’s funeral. The tropical Queensland landscape is the spectacular backdrop for their turbulent and often humourous reunion. And they discover a surprising bond that is stronger than the pain of their history.


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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 Aliens, Cosi, The Golden Age, The Temple and Albert Names Edward.

Introduction to Radiance l Classic Australian theatre

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Louis Nowra reads his introduction to his play, Radiance. It’s called Women on the Mud Flats and it charts the journey of the work from a single image, into the shape of a story, to the premiere production and beyond. But this isn’t just a recount of the tale. If you're a believer in fate, you will see that Radiance is a story that was destined to be told.


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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 AliensCosiThe Golden Age, The Temple and Albert Names Edward.

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.

Neighbourhood Watch: hope, death and pets l Australian theatre - comedy

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It’s a classic odd-couple story. Meet Ana—a battle hardened Hungarian-Australian veteran of the twentieth century. Catherine is her neighbour: twenty-something and waiting for a better world. Can their unlikely friendship outlive the colossal forces of history, the inevitability of death, and a trip to the mall to see Mamma Mia?

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Lally Katz is one of Australia’s most intriguing playwrights. She is also one of the country’s most performed playwrights. A graduate of the University of Melbourne, Lally also studied playwriting at London’s Royal Court Theatre. Her plays include Frankenstein, The Black Swan of Trespass, The Eisteddfod, Criminology and Goodbye New York, Goodbye Heart. Her 2009 play, Goodbye Vaudeville Charlie Mudd, received the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. A Golem Story won the same award in 2012. Other awards include several Green Room and Melbourne Fringe Awards, as well as a New York International Fringe Festival Producer’s Choice Award.

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.

Gary’s House: But is it a home? l Satire becomes drama

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Gary's failed in everything he's attempted. But when he inherits a block of land, he gets an urge to build a nest with his angry, pregnant girlfriend, Sue-Anne. A ratbag collection of misfits, loners, drifters and losers are thrown together on this scrubby patch of remote bush - loosely united in a comically desperate project, to build a home.

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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, Stories in the Dark, Skate and House on Fire. She was also the creator and head writer for the smash hit television series, Offspring on Channel Ten.

Introduction to Gary’s House l On the beauty of failure

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John McCallum reads his introduction to Gary’s House, by Debra Oswald. McCallum is one of the country’s most respected critics. He's published widely in the field of Australian theatre and drama and is the long-standing Sydney theatre critic for the Australian.

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.

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.