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

‘For We The Young’: Finegan Kruckemeyer on writing plays for children and young people

To re-launch Not in Print, we spoke with Finegan Kruckemeyer about magical worlds where monsters are friends and lighthouses are boats, and on the richness and dynamism of theatre for children and young people.

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Finegan has had 94 commissioned plays performed on six continents and translated into eight languages. His work has
enjoyed seasons in more than 200 international festivals and in 2018, he was the most-produced playwright of original
children’s theatre in the US. 

He and his work have received 36 awards, including the Mickey Miners Lifetime Achievement Award for international Theatre for Young Audiences, David Williamson Prize for Excellence in Australian Playwrighting, seven Australian Writers' Guild Awards and an inaugural Sidney Myer Fellowship. Finegan has spoken at conferences in ten countries, with papers published and works studied at international universities.

Finegan was born in Ireland and moved halfway around the world to Adelaide, Australia, aged eight. After 15 years, he and his wife Essie left for the island state of Tasmania. And after 15 more, with their son Moe, they returned.

Finegan is committed to making strong and respectful work for children, which acknowledges them as astute audience members outside the plays, and worthy subjects within.

See more of Finegan's work at finegankruckemeyer.com

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Currency Press has published four titles by Finegan, including one play collection; For We the Young, At Sea, Staring up, The Grumpiest Boy in the World and The Violent Outburst that Drew Me To You. Available at currency.com.au/books-tag/finegan-kruckemeyer/ 

 

 

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Rainbow’s End: What’s the definition of a hero? l Thought-provoking Australian theatre

Set in the 1950s on the fringe of a country town, Rainbow’s End is a thought-provoking, often hilarious and emotionally powerful snapshot of a Koori family - Nan Dear, her daughter Gladys and Gladys’ daughter Dolly; it dramatises their struggle for decent housing, meaningful education, jobs and community acceptance.

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Jane Harrison is an indigenous Australian writer and playwright. A descendant of the Muruwari people of New South Wales, from the area around Bourke and Brewarrina, Harrison grew up in the Victorian Dandenongs with her mother and sister. She began her career as an advertising copywriter, before beginning work as a writer with the Ilbijerri Theatre Company. In the late 90s, Harrison was commissioned by Ilbijerri to write Stolen, about the Stolen Generations. The play premiered in ‘98, and was followed by seven annual seasons in Melbourne, plus extensive national and international tours.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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