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Welcome to the 2014 National Play Festival presented by Playwriting Australia. This celebration of new Australian stories unites artists and audiences over four days of performances, workshops and discussions. Like Playwriting Australia, the New South Wales Government is passionate about supporting our enormous wealth of artistic talent and providing a platform to promote, nurture and develop our fantastic playwrights. We are proud to welcome this national event to Sydney and I look forward to seeing the best that Australian playwriting has to offer. Troy Grant MP NSW Minister for Hospitality, Gaming and Racing NSW Minister for the Arts

Carriageworks is thrilled to be partnering with resident company Playwriting Australia to present the National Play Festival. Carriageworks has a strong commitment to supporting the development of new Australian work and we are proud to be able to provide an environment where artists can take risks, explore ideas and present new work. We look forward to seeing the exciting and diverse works that will no doubt emerge from this nationally important showcase. Carriageworks is able to present the National Play Festival through the ongoing support of the NSW Government through Arts NSW and we thank them for their ongoing assistance. Lisa Havilah Director, Carriageworks

Welcome to the 2014 National Play Festival, a season of vibrant, uplifting and fearless plays. One of the highlights of the Australian theatre calendar, we are delighted to be in central Sydney for the first time. For the last eight months, I’ve had a post-it note stuck on my computer, it says “Great Art vs Great Society.” It asks me daily about the role of the playwright in our world and the responsibility of artists to smash to pieces the proverbial mirror we hold up to society. We live in a responsive age. We see the world and we react to it. Sometimes that response is considered, other times knee-jerk. Few people in society imagine that world from scratch. In theatre, those people are almost always playwrights. When they write, they open their souls and ideas, humanity and inventiveness flood out. The four plays that make up the core program of this year’s Play Festival do just that. They grapple with sexuality, race, crime, grief, religion and the versatility of the goon sack. I am thrilled that Andrew Bovell, one of Australia’s greatest living playwrights,

will deliver a keynote address to ignite the Play Festival. His provocations will be illuminated in Playwright for President, where our writers set out to change the world; and explored further by some of our leading actors sharing their experiences of creating iconic roles in seminal Australian plays. It is a particular pleasure to present Songrites — three leading Indigenous musicians writing plays for the first time. Bell Shakespeare showcase their Mind’s Eye new writing program, and we host a special showing of new work from Singapore. For the first time, we present a strand of the program exclusively for playwrights to share, debate and learn, featuring Michael Gow, Joanna Murray-Smith and a host of our most exciting writers. This, then, is a Play Festival of Big Thinking by Big Thinkers. Four days to explore the widest range of possibilities that theatre can offer: opportunities to incite, to play, to reflect and to inspire. See you at Carriageworks. Tim Roseman Artistic Director

Andrew Bovell is a screenwriter and playwright. His most recent work for the stage is the acclaimed adaption of the Kate Grenville novel The Secret River, which premiered at the 2013 Sydney Festival before transferring to Canberra and Perth and subsequently won six Helpmann Awards. His other plays include Speaking in Tongues, Scenes From a Separation and When the Rain Stops Falling. He is the winner of nine Australian Writer’s Guild awards (Awgies) and several Premier’s Literary Awards.

Kathryn Ash is a playwright, actor, dramaturg and co-founder of JUTE Theatre Company in Cairns. She has written over twenty works and has had sixteen professional seasons of her plays, including the award-winning Bag O’ Marbles, which has received five professional seasons, including Queensland Theatre Company (2002) directed by Michael Gow.

Angela Betzien is a multi award-winning writer and co-director of independent theatre company, Real TV. Her recent writing credits include Tall Man (RealTV & Magictorch) Where in the World is Frank Sparrow? (Graffiti Theatre, Ireland) Helicopter (Melbourne Theatre Company), The Dark Room (Belvoir), Girl Who Cried Wolf (Arena) and War Crimes (RealTV).

Mortido was co-commissioned by Playwriting Australia and Belvoir

I don’t really see myself as feminine and I don’t really think of myself as Asian. Fuck the categories. We’re beyond ‘insert ethnicity’.

Michele Lee is an Asian-Australian writer based in Melbourne. Recent theatre works include Talon Salon (Next Wave Festival 2012, You Are Here Festival 2013, Darwin Festival 2013) and the AWGIE-winning radio play See how the leaf people run (Radio National 2012). Michele’s first memoir Banana Girl was published by Transit Lounge in 2013.

Julia-Rose Lewis is a stage and screen writer based in Sydney. Julia has worked with companies including Griffin, ATYP, La Boite, Brisbane Powerhouse, Metro Arts and Grin & Tonic. Julia’s monologue This Feral Life has been produced for stage and screen as a part of ATYP’s The Voices Project.

Jane’s plays include Music, Hinterland, This Year’s Ashes, A Single Act, Ride and Fourplay. Jane won a Green Room Award for Outstanding Writing in 2003 for Still and The Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for A Single Act in 2006. She was Head of Playwriting at NIDA from 2010 - 2012, Associate Artist at Griffin Theatre in 2013 and is currently the Artistic Associate at Playwriting Australia.

A new program of skills and craft development exclusively for playwrights. Participants must register for the program at

The 2014 National Play Festival is presented with the generous support of:

National play festival 2014 Brochure  
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