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27–30 July Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne

Welcome to the 2016 National Play Festival. A celebration of Australia's most ambitious new playwriting.

Typographic Art Weekday Photography Cameron Hart Art Direction & Design Hours After

National Play Festival 2016



Tim Roseman, Artistic Director, Playwriting Australia Welcome to the 2016 National Play Festival, four days of magic and wonder courtesy of many of Australia’s most thrilling playwrights. This year’s program is rich in imagination, overflowing with individuality and loaded with insight. To see July out with a bang we’ll present playreadings of the most incendiary new works for the stage, complemented by panels, forums, lectures and masterclasses. We’re delighted to be back in Melbourne, the source of so many of our great stories, and home to over one third of all Australia’s playwrights. There’s something alchemical about this city, how it nurtures artists, creates new worlds and pushes at the boundaries of what theatre can be.

The Playwrights’ Program is a vital part of the National Play Festival as leading playwrights share their expertise with newer writers in masterclasses and forums. If you’ve always fancied writing a play but have no idea where to start, everyone is welcome to join a free introductory masterclass, Playwriting 101. And after all that it’s just possible you’ll have space left for a late night drink with us here at the Malthouse. Our thanks to Creative Victoria and Malthouse for their wondrous support of this special event. Great artists inspire us to think bigger, bolder thoughts and grapple with seismic questions. This Play Festival is crammed with both. I look forward to welcoming you to something magical this July. Tim Roseman Artistic Director, Playwriting Australia

There are six major works in the core program this year, exploring escape, survival, safety, invasion and outer space. The plays are rich, generous, hilarious and tragic, each one the fusion of something provocative and something sacred. I’m particularly excited that we’re presenting excerpts from our Lotus program, working with a new generation of Asian-Australian playwrights.

The Keynote Address has become a pivotal national statement about our culture and society, and I’m overjoyed that this year it will be delivered by Michael Gow, a writer of immense vision, talent and acclaim. Alongside this, panels look at what fuels artists, and how they strategise to save and survive in the world.

Page—2 Playwriting Australia

Playwriting Australia acknowledges the traditional country of the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people and pays respect to Elders past and present. We recognise and respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land.

The Hon. Martin Foley M.P.

Matt Lutton

Minister for Creative Industries, Victoria

Artistic Director Malthouse Theatre

I’m pleased to welcome the National Play Festival back to Melbourne and to Malthouse Theatre. We have a feast of public playreadings, masterclasses and talks ahead of us in this celebration of Australian stories in all their contemporary diversity. Nurturing and championing diverse Australian voices is fundamental to a healthy society, to a rich cultural life and to the strength of our creative industries, and this is at the heart of the Victorian Government’s Creative State strategy. We want to ensure that writers, artists and creatives across all disciplines are able to sustain their practice, build their careers and have their work presented here in Victoria and across the globe. This means backing our creative talent and strengthening the ecosystem that supports them. Initiatives like this Festival play an important role. To the team at Playwriting Australia, congratulations on a fantastic program and thank you for the work you do, year round and across the country, to support our writers and theatre makers.

Welcome to the 2016 National Play Festival. Malthouse Theatre is thrilled to be hosting the 2016 edition of the National Play Festival, and to welcome many of the country's most ambitious playwrights, theatrical thinkers and audiences into the building for four days of creating, showcasing and debate. We need more stories on our stages that startle us with their honesty, that offer us complex insights eloquently, and that extend our communal empathy. The National Play Festival is a vital way in which we can support the development of these stories, and an opportunity for many of our writers to refine their most dangerous ideas. Malthouse Theatre has a long history of creating new work with writers, therefore it is exhilarating to have the house filled with writers and audiences pushing the limits of their imaginations. Enjoy the festivities!

Michael Gow

National Play Festival 2016


Keynote Address The Agony and the Agony One of our greatest living playwrights gives, in his words, 'A Totally Impractical Guide to Playwriting'. Michael Gow promises to share gems from a life at the forefront of Australian theatre. An evening of characteristic insight and brilliance from a national treasure. Michael Gow’s plays include the Australian classic Away, Toy Symphony, The Kid, On Top of the World, Europe, Sweet Phoebe, Live Acts on Stage, 17 (for the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain), Toy Symphony and Once in Royal David’s City. His plays have been performed in Poland, the Czech Republic, Vietnam, Japan and all over the US. Michael has been Associate Director of Sydney Theatre Company and Artistic Director of the Queensland Theatre Company. His awards include two NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, two Sydney Theatre Critics Circle Awards and an AFI Award for writing the ABC miniseries Edens Lost. His most recent play Once in Royal David's City premiered at Belvoir in 2014 and his translation of Mother Courage and Her Children in 2015.

SINGLE TICKET Full $20 Concessions $15 (+booking fees)

WHEN Wed 27 July, 6.30pm

by MELISSA REEVES 'I killed them, that’s the game. You kill anybody that might kill you.' Arki loves playing war games online. He’s also just beat up his English teacher. His psychologist thinks it's PTSD. Before long Arki's hanging out with Aaron, a disturbed returned soldier, and both start hanging out with Sayf, who runs the best Afghan restaurant in Dandenong. All have been immersed in war. Everyone around them is desperate to cure their terrible affliction. But is there a cure for war?

Playwriting Australia

Melissa Reeves is a Melbourne playwright. Her plays include The Spook (awarded the Louis Esson Prize for Drama in the Victorian Premiers Awards, and two AWGIES for best new play), and Sweetown (Jill Blewitt Playwright's Award). She co-wrote Who's Afraid of the Working Class? which won best play in the Queensland Literary Awards, two AWGIES and the Jill Blewitt Playwright's Award.


PERFORMANCES Wed 27 July, 8.15pm Fri 29 July, 4pm

SINGLE TICKET Full $20 Concessions $15 (+booking fees)


The Zen Of Table Tennis


National Play Festival 2016


Skylab 'Are you on that space ship? Everyone is scared it’s coming but I’m not. Can you make it land here? But not in the kitchen. Maybe down the bottom paddock.' In 1973 a science laboratory was launched into earth’s outer orbit. The exact nature of the experiments conducted on Skylab were top secret. Then, one day it started falling back to earth. But. What if Skylab didn’t fall by accident? What if those experiments were on Indigenous DNA? What if Skylab was actually piloted down? Things get pretty random after Amy gets a pink horse she always dreamed of and Aunty has that yarn with President Jimmy Carter on the payphone outside the Balladonia Roadhouse. Based on a true story (only the facts have been changed to protect the innocent). Melodie Reynolds-Diarra is a Wangkathaa woman from Western Australia and is one of Australia’s most accomplished female Aboriginal actors. More recently Melodie was a participant in Ilbijerri Theatre Company’s Black Writers Lab. In 2013 Melodie was the Associate Director for The Shadow King (Malthouse Theatre). In 2015 she collaborated with the community of Swan Hill to direct The Marruk Project, and participated in the Yellamundie Playwriting Festival.

Skylab is presented in partnership with Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company, Ilbijerri Theatre Company and Moogahlin Performing Arts

PERFORMANCES Thurs 28 July, 6.30pm Sat 30 July, 2pm

SINGLE TICKET Full $20 Concessions $15 (+booking fees)

CREATIVE TEAM Kamarra Bell-Wykes Leticia Cáceres Kyle Morrison Iain Sinclair

by STEVE RODGERS 'Yeah you’ve got rights. You’ve got a whole lot of rights. You know what you haven’t got?' One Woman. Four Men. She could be with all of them; on a date on the Gold Coast, watching a suburban football match, moving into an apartment in Albert Park, or at forty, happily married with a nine-year-old son living in Campsie. Four very different worlds share an identical space, our homes. King of Pigs throws us into a blistering series of reality pockets. Each glimpse we get provides a momentary view of a vast panoramic lie. It’s a lie every man tells himself privately but every woman lives with publically.

Playwriting Australia

Steve Rodgers' playwriting credits include Ray’s Tempest (Belvoir St, Melbourne Theatre Company) Savage River (Griffin, Melbourne Theatre Company, Tasmanian Theatre Company) and Food (Belvoir St/Force Majeure, National Tour). Steve recently completed adapting the Peter Goldsworthy novel Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam, the play won the 2015 Griffin Lysicrates Prize.

DIRECTOR Iain Sinclair DRAMATURG Patricia Cornelius

PERFORMANCES Wed 27 July, 2pm Sat 30 July, 4pm

SINGLE TICKET Full $20 Concessions $15 (+booking fees)


King Of Pigs

National Play Festival 2016


I Sat And Waited But You Were Gone Too Long by OLIVIA SATCHELL 'I’m standing on the edge of a hill and the sea is roaring towards me. I have to hold on, to anything, the grass, dirt, anything I can get a grip on so that it doesn’t suck me back out with it. Every time it crashes over me I know that I might open my eyes in water.' You realise someone is looking at you. You return their gaze and your heart starts knocking at your ribs. They’re not looking away. A woman in a nightgown sits in a changing room. She does not know who she is. A girl is getting dressed, refusing to answer her phone. The woman stares at her, and she returns her gaze. They speak, edging around what they have both lost. Olivia Satchell’s work includes Heart Dot Com and solo performance My Name is Truda Vitz (Somersault Theatre Company). In 2016, she has assistant-directed Splendour (Red Stitch), Bright World (Arthur/ Theatreworks), and Back at the Dojo (Stuck Pigs Squealing/Belvoir). She co-founded new writing development company Somersault Theatre in 2013 and co-curates Melbourne performance program Small and Loud (The Workers Club).

PERFORMANCE Sat 30 July, 12pm

SINGLE TICKET Full $20 Concessions $15 (+booking fees)

DIRECTOR Olivia Satchell DRAMATURG Emma Valente

by EMILY SHEEHAN ‘Yesterday I thought there were only two options. Go to school, or skip it and go to the shopping centre 'til I get caught and the cops take me back to Mum. We can do something totally different. We can just completely run away. Go full on missing.’ Caitlin and Oscar are hiding out in a motel in the middle of the Australian outback. No one knows they’re there, and seventeen-year-old Caitlin won’t tell fifteen-year-old Oscar why she’s kidnapped him. They’re out of money and things are starting to get weird. The only thing they have on them is a rare and valuable graphic novel, Hell’s Canyon, but Oscar doesn’t want to sell it. Not for this. Not for anything. Hell’s Canyon is a play that celebrates everything magical about being a young woman, the tenacity of teenage friendship, and our ability to transcend tragedy by reaching for the sublime.

Playwriting Australia

Emily Sheehan completed her Masters in Playwriting at the VCA in 2015, and her Bachelor of Arts (Acting) in 2011. Her first play Hell’s Canyon won the 2015 Rodney Seaborn Award, and was shortlisted for the 2016 Patrick White Award. Her short work Eating Sunshine was published by Currency Press as part of ATYP’s 2014 Voices Project.

DIRECTOR Sarah Giles DRAMATURG Tim Roseman

PERFORMANCES Wed 27 July, 4pm Fri 29 July, 8.15pm

SINGLE TICKET Full $20 Concessions $15 (+booking fees)


Hell's Canyon


National Play Festival 2016


Pedagogy 'I’m not saying – not really – that I can change the world, but maybe – there’s a big part of me that thinks: you know what? I have the privileged education. I have the determination. Maybe it’s not a colossal effect, but maybe – I can alter something. Maybe I can.' PJ moves to a remote country town to take up a teaching job as part of a prestigious re-training program. She is assigned a difficult student, Sam. As PJ’s life becomes harder she finds herself forging a bond with her ward; he becomes not only a student, but a project, with a particular fascination. As their classes break and rebuild, lessons are taught, rules are broken and a dangerous obsession a co-dependence - forms. Who is teaching who? Chris Summers has won the Sydney Theatre Company Patrick White Playwright’s Award, the Max Afford Playwright’s Award and been shortlisted for the Belvoir Phillip Parson’s Playwright’s Fellowship. He has worked as Affiliate Writer for Griffin Theatre Company, been part of Red Stitch Theatre’s Writer’s Programme and had plays commissioned, read, performed and published by theatre companies across Australia.

PERFORMANCES Thurs 28 July, 2pm Sat 30 July, 6.30pm

SINGLE TICKET Full $20 Concessions $15 (+booking fees)

DIRECTOR Janice Muller DRAMATURG Chris Mead

A showcase of three recent works from our New Zealand neighbours Summer. A trendy wedding. The smoker’s deck. He’s trapped in a modern day malaise. She’s deciding whether to go back to London. And so begins a series of serendipitous meetings. Ache by Pip Hall is a neatly crafted and stylish romantic comedy about the quarter life crisis, endowed with nimble wit. Manawa - meaning heart or heartland - is Jamie McCaskill’s hugely funny and powerful play. Jimmy is a recidivist criminal, his cellmate is an introverted Samoan who has killed and eaten a protected bird. Manawa’s raw energy is part of a new wave of Mãori writing. Teenage sex and angst appear in a daisy chain of partnerships in Like Sex. Emergent Chinese NZ playwright Nathan Joe refreshes the format of Schnitzler’s infamous La Ronde.

Playwriting Australia

Aetearoa Now is presented by Playmarket New Zealand.

DIRECTOR Murray Lynch

PERFORMANCE Thurs 28 July, 8.15pm

SINGLE TICKET Full $20 Concessions $15 (+booking fees)


Aotearoa Now

National Play Festival 2016


Lotus A unique showcase of the most exciting new Asian-Australian Playwrights The Lotus Asian-Australian Playwriting Project provides high calibre training and mentoring for Asian-Australian artists who are interested in writing for theatre. Our goal is to energise a groundswell in contemporary Asian-Australian theatre as a way to address the shortage of high quality new plays from this vibrant and creative community. In partnership with Performance 4a, we have identified and are nurturing extraordinary new voices and stories from perspectives rarely experienced in mainstage Australian theatre; and we present excerpts of the most exciting of these plays at this year's National Play Festival.

Co-presented with Performance 4a, in partnership with La Boite Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre. Supported by The Girgensohn Foundation.

PERFORMANCE Fri 29 July, 6.30pm

SINGLE TICKET Full $20 Concessions $15 (+booking fees)


Write Like A Man Our life-tenured white male playwright in perpetual residence Patrick Cornelius hosts an evening of mansplaining on how to get ahead as a male playwright in Australia. Crack a tinnie, sit back and live the dream as the secrets of masculine narrative come into full frontal. Gems include; the hidden expectation for chase, capture, resolution plot structures (to satisfy the male libido) through to the monetary benefits of introducing manic pixie dream girls (to satisfy the male libido) and of course, momentary spasms of remorse (to satisfy the male libido) Paddo and special guests will share a treasure trove of hot tips how to harvest the treasures that await writers who toe the heteronormative line. Write like a man, slay the dragon, win the prize.

Playwriting Australia

VENUE Foyer Bar, Malthouse Theatre

WHEN Thurs 28 July, 10pm TICKETS Free (no booking)


Late Night Event

The Big Chill: A Survival Manual

As it gets colder, how do we survive the Big Chill? Huddle together and share the warmth or split up and chase down the last remaining resources? Join a panel of proven survivors as they share fun practical and sometimes dark and surprising tips as we compile a Playwright’s Survival Handbook for each of their respective “Big Chills”.

PANEL INCLUDES Van Badham Angus Cerini Tom Holloway Jane Montgomery Griffiths

Razing The Roof

National Play Festival 2016


Free Artist Talks

WHEN Fri 29 July, 2pm TICKETS Free (no booking)

Playwrights who identified their own generation’s anxieties so perfectly discuss what would be in their sights now if they were 20-years old and just as angry all over again. What Their Generation would be writing if they were This Generation.

PANEL INCLUDES Joanna Murray-Smith Hannie Rayson John Romeril

WHEN Thurs 28 July, 4pm TICKETS Free (no booking)


Playwrights' Program Our dedicated program of skills and craft development, exclusively for playwrights Places are strictly limited and must be booked in advance at

Workshop For Beginners: Playwriting 101

Have you ever wanted to write a play? Now’s your chance. Working with two of Playwriting Australia’s core artists, we take you on a whirlwind ride through the ins and outs, do’s and don’ts of writing for the stage. Bring your pencil. (Or a laptop.) Led by Playwriting Australia’s Resident Dramaturg, Iain Sinclair and Diversity Programs Coordinator, Sopa Enari.

Playwriting Australia

WHEN Sat 30 July, 9am – 11am

COST Free (booking essential) VENUE The Hoopla Room, Malthouse Theatre

National Play Festival 2016


Playwriting Masterclasses

Three of our most iconic artists Richard Frankland, Michael Gow and Hannie Rayson will each teach a masterclass for writers sharing their wisdom, insight and expertise.

Richard Frankland

Hannie Rayson

Michael Gow

WHEN Fri 29 July 9am – 11am

WHEN Fri 29 July 10am – 12.30pm

WHEN Fri 29 July 11am – 1pm

COST $35 (booking essential)

COST $35 (booking essential)

COST $35 (booking essential)

VENUE The Hoopla Room, Malthouse Theatre

VENUE The Tower, Malthouse Theatre

VENUE The Hoopla Room, Malthouse Theatre


Five of Australia’s most energising playwrights each lead a short masterclass on a favourite aspect of their playwriting toolbox. Bring a laptop (or a pencil) as we dive into the what, how, why and when in a multilayered multi-skilled masterclass.

WHEN Sat 30 July 9.30am – 11.30am COST Free (booking essential) VENUE Tower Theatre, Malthouse Theatre

PRESENTERS INCLUDE: Jane Bodie Declan Greene Melissa Reeves Steve Rodgers

Playwriting Australia is the only national organisation that seeks, develops and champions new Australian stories for the stage.

Playwriting Australia exists to: 1. Ensure there are more astonishing new plays on the Australian stage; 2. Make certain that those plays are as extraordinary as possible; and 3. Ensure that the range of writers creating these plays is as wide as imaginable, reflecting the Australia we live in. We actively seek out under-represented voices, especially Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse artists, to address the imbalance in the Australian theatre. We are the only organisation working with playwrights and theatre artists from all backgrounds and at all levels of their careers. We connect talent with opportunity to extend the art of playwriting and advocate for positive change on behalf of artists, industry and audiences.

Playwriting Australia

We offer playwrights, or those who want to start writing plays, investment in the creative development of their new work; giving them the time, space and opportunities to write and develop their skills and craft. For theatre companies and producers we help find and commission playwrights, support the creative development of new plays, and we assist in selecting the strongest artists to better develop a new project.


About Us

PLAYWRITING AUSTRALIA GAME CHANGERS The Darin Cooper Foundation, The Girgensohn Foundation, Maureen Ritchie, The Weir Anderson Foundation, Kim Williams AM, Peter Wilson & James Emmett PLAYWRITING AUSTRALIA VISIONARIES Helen Bauer & Helen Lynch AM, Lesli Berger, Peter Braithwaite, Andrew Bovell, Andrew & Cathy Cameron, Louse Capon, Belinda Gibson, Miss I. Kallinikos, Pauline Kanalikham, Julian Leeser & Joanna Davidson, Matthew McCarron, Leslie Parsonage, Bruce Meagher & Greg Waters, Johnathan Wilkie, David Williamson

National Play Festival 2016


Support Us It is with the generous support of donors that we can:

1. Seek unparalleled talent and connect it with opportunity 2. Unearth new voices 3. Commit space, time and  support for the expression of ideas, creation and craft 4. Create a legacy of extraordinary Australian stories If you think outstanding new Australian plays make us see the world afresh; If you know that Australian theatre is a unique fusion of vision and craft equal to anywhere in the world; If you believe in a playwriting culture that reflects the Australia we live in; where a wealth of new stories are produced each year and a diverse range of voices are heard, and; If you consider Australian playwrights amongst the world’s brightest visionaries, then, we ask you to make a tax-deductible donation to Playwriting Australia and join us for the ride.

Contact us today to contribute: Atul Joshi General Manager, Playwriting Australia PH. 02 8274 0907 E.


Credits The National Play Festival is presented each year by Playwriting Australia, the national script development body working with playwrights and the theatre industry to see more, high quality Australian plays on our stages.


Playwriting Australia

ADMINISTRATION OFFICER/INTERN WRANGLER Felicity Pickering PLAYWRITING AUSTRALIA BOARD Peter Wilson (Chair), Andrew Bovell, Tom Gutteridge, Matthew McCarron, Desmond Sweeney, Deanne Weir

PLAY FESTIVAL PROGRAMMING COMMITTEE Patricia Cornelius, Alison Croggon, Declan Greene, Matt Lutton PRODUCTION MANAGER Gemma Fletcher PWA INTERN Kayla Mulkern FESTIVAL INTERNS Robert Johnson, Katy Maudlin, Anna Molnar, Jordan Shea, Daniel Sinclair, Jane Thompson, Jonathan Ware PUBLIC RELATIONS CONSULTANT Madga Petkoff, Purple Media GRAPHIC DESIGN Hours After

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National Play Festival 2016


Supporters The National Play Festival 2016 is presented with the generous support of...






PLAY FESTIVAL PASS* Full $135.00 Concession** $110.00

THE COOPERS MALTHOUSE 113 Sturt St, Southbank Melway Ref 1D, Q10

SINGLE SESSION TICKET Full $20.00 Concession** $15.00

PROGRAMS WILL BE PRESENTED IN The Beckett Theatre The Tower Theatre

ARTIST PANELS Free Transaction and credit card fees apply to all tickets when purchasing online, by phone or in person. *Festival Pass entitles entry to all events in the Beckett Theatre. ** General Concession prices apply for Groups 10+, students, seniors, unemployed, Arts Hub members, MEAA members, AWG members and Malthouse Subscribers.

TO BOOK CONTACT The Coopers Malthouse Box Office 03 9685 5111 PLAYWRIGHTS’ PROGRAM Places are strictly limited and must be booked in advance at playwrightsprogram2016

Playwriting Australia

Payment will only be accepted in cash at the door.

Playwriting Australia Level 3, 10 Hickson Road The Rocks NSW 2000 Phone (02) 8274 0900

GETTING HERE TRAM/TRAIN The No. 1 South Melbourne tram goes right past the venue, get off at Stop 19. Or catch any tram down St Kilda Rd, jump off at Grant St (stop 17) and take a 3 minute walk. The theatre is a 12 minute walk from Flinders St Station.

CYCLING There are many bike racks outside the foyer and a Melbourne Bike Share Station outside. Helmets from the IGA a little further along Sturt St. PARKING Honestly, do you want to drive? If so, limited street parking is available. The Care Park public car park at 264 Sturt St is a 3 minute walk. The Arts Centre’s Car Park is a 5 minute walk.



Wednesday 27 July

Thursday 28 July

Friday 29 July

Saturday 30 July

9AM Playwrights' Program

9AM Playwrights' Program

2PM Pedagogy

2PM The Big Chill

12PM I Sat And Waited

4PM Hell’s Canyon

4PM Razing The Roof

4PM The Zen Of Table Tennis

2PM Skylab

6.30PM Keynote Address

6.30PM Skylab

6.30PM Lotus

4 PM King Of Pigs

8.15PM The Zen Of Table Tennis

8.15PM Aotearoa Now

8.15PM Hell’s Canyon

6.30PM Pedagogy

10PM Write Like A Man

2PM King Of Pigs

National Play Festival 2016


2016 Planner


National Play Festival 2016  

Full program of the 2016 National play Festival. Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne 27th - 30th July

National Play Festival 2016  

Full program of the 2016 National play Festival. Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne 27th - 30th July