twelve writers embark on lotus first draft
Playwriting Australia is proud to support twelve playwrights of Asian-Australian backgrounds through our Lotus First Draft program in 2015-2016.
Over a six-month period and across three cities (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne), twelve playwrights will embark on Lotus First Draft, a brand new program designed to support the creation of new plays by Asian-Australian writers. Starting with monthly group seminars, one-on-one mentoring and dramaturgy, and followed by a weekend-long intensive workshop bringing the group to Sydney, Lotus First Draft is set to become a nurturing ground for new ideas and culturally diverse stories.
Playwright-mentors Jane Bodie (Melbourne), Stephen Carleton (Brisbane) and Tommy Murphy (Sydney) will be leading the program of group discussions and masterclasses in their respective city, while each writer will also be paired with an established playwright to receive one-on-one mentoring.
The twelve writers were selected from over forty applicants reviewed by our panel of judges including Performance 4A’s Executive Producer Annette Shun Wah, Blacktown Arts Centre’s Producer Paschal Berry, alongside Tim Roseman, Iain Sinclair and Teik-Kim Pok of Playwriting Australia.
We warmly thank all the playwrights for applying and offering us such a competitive field of fresh ideas and voices to choose from.
This program is proudly presented with the support of the Girgensohn Foundation and in partnership with Performance 4A.
Meet the writers
|Tasnim Hossain (Sydney) is a playwright and performance poet. Her work has been staged by the Australian Theatre for Young People and Apocalypse Theatre Company in Sydney, 24:7 Theatre Festival in Machester, and published by Currency Press. Her first solo show was developed through support from Playwriting Australia and premiered at Perth’s Fringe World, with a second season at You Are Here festival in Canberra in 2015. She was an Associate Artist at Canberra Youth Theatre in 2013. She is currently participating in The Hive, The Street Theatre’s script development program in Canberra, as well as ATYP’s Fresh Ink National Mentoring Program in Sydney. As a spoken word artist, she has performed around Canberra and has taught performance poetry through ANU’s Voices Slam project.|
|Melissa Lee Speyer (Sydney) is a graduate of NIDA’s Playwriting Course. Her writing credits include “Machine” and “Decay”, experimental creative development works devised with Eclective Productions; “project 84” an experimental technology-based devised with Epiphany Now and supported through Playwriting Australia’s Lab 2014; and “TickTickBoom“, an unproduced full-length play developed with support from Rock Surfers and Ashfield Youth Theatre, which won the Silver Gull Play Award in 2015. Her poetry has been performed as part of the Sydney Writers Festival 2013 and she has contributed to multi-playwright projects such as “And Now To Bed” (subtlenuance theatre). Her practice is divided between “traditional” text-based, writer-driven plays and experimental, collaboratively-devised work incorporating movement, technology and whatever happens to be handy.|
|Disapol Savetsila (Sydney) is a creative writing student at the University of Wollongong. He has been published in the Stringybark Anthology A Tick Tock Heart, Melaleuca Blue’s You’ll Eat Worse than That Before You Die, Australian Theatre For Young People (ATYP) Between Us, and Melbourne Book’s Award Winning Australian Writing 2015. His theatre writing credits include Unwrap Me and Hothouse (Budding Theatre) and Hissyfest Wyong and Hissyfest 2015 (Tantrum Theatre). In 2013, he was a winner of ATYP’s national monologue competition Where in the World and Stryingybark’s Future Times Award. Disapol has taken part in ATYP’s 2014 National Studio and Sydney Theatre Company’s Rough Draft. He is co-writer of Theatre versus Everything which performed at Crack Theatre Festival 2015.|
|Shari Indriani (Brisbane) is an Indonesian-Australian writer and artist. Her short plays have received professional public readings; Lola’s Gift (Playlab and La Boite Theatre Company), and The Knot (Queensland Theatre Company and Brisbane Writers Festival). Her short plays for children include Doors (Backbone Youth Arts) and an adaptation of Aesop’s fable The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse (Woodford Folk Festival). She is currently writing her first picture book, Trickle. Shari holds a BA in Literary Studies from the University of Queensland and a BA in Drama from QUT.|
|Katrina Irawati Graham (Brisbane) once longed to be a writer so she quit her job as a kindergarten teacher and wrote and directed a short film. It was nominated for Best New Female Filmmaker in Queensland so she wrote another one. It won the Cancer Council Daffodil Day Award and was picked up by Women in Film and TV as one of the top 20 women’s films in Australia. Emboldened, Katrina wrote another award winning short and has been writing ever since in genres as varied as crime, children’s animation, teen supernatural, drama and horror. The Lotus First Draft will be her first foray into playwriting.|
|Michelle Law (Brisbane) is a Brisbane writer whose work has appeared in Women of Letters, Growing up Asian in Australia, Destroying the Joint and many Australian literary journals. She is an AWGIE award-winning screenwriter whose films have screened internationally and on the ABC. In 2014 she co-authored the comedy book Sh*t Asian Mothers Say. Michelle is currently working on her first stage play with La Boite Theatre. www.michelle-law.com|
|Kenneth Moraleda (Sydney) is of Filipino descent. He trained as an actor at NIDA graduating in 1995. Theatre credits include A Man With Five Children and Cyrano De Bergerac (Sydney Theatre Company), Banzai in Disney’s musical The Lion King, The Australian tour of National Theatre’s War Horse, The White Divers of Broome (Black Swan Theatre Company), Repertory Philippines’ production of the Pulitzer Price Winning Play August: Osage County, David Williamson’s Cruise Control (Ensemble Theatre) and Yellow Moon: The Ballad of Leila and Lee (Belvoir). He is currently on a national tour of the satirical comedy Australia Day written and directed by Jonathan Biggins. He collaborated with Paschal Berry and Anino Shadowplay Collective writing and performing segments in Within and Without for Performance Space and Blacktown Arts Centre. Kenneth is also a facilitator for Playwriting Australia’s outreach program.|
|Hoa Pham (Melbourne) is the author of five books and a play. Her novel “The Other Shore” won the Vive la novella prize, and her play Silence was on the 2010 VCE Drama list. She also has a doctorate of arts (creative writing) from the University of Western Sydney..|
|Ngoc Phan (Brisbane) graduated from the WAAPA Acting program in 2004. Since graduating her theatre credits include Hedonism’s Second Album (La Boite Indie), Speaking in Tongues (Antix productions), Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes (Canute productions), Elbow Room’s award winning play After all this (2012 Brisbane Festival) and was an ensemble member in QTC’s Seeding bed program. The program focused on the development of directors, writers and artists. She has also appeared in the AFI award winning film The Black Balloon. She is set to appear on the La Boite stage in Elbow Room’s production of The Motion of Light in Water and will be playing the role of Stella in their 2016 Mainstage production of A Streetcar Named Desire.|
|Natesha Somasundaram (Melbourne) is a writer, actor and comedian. Natesha has been a literary/dramaturgy intern at the Malthouse Theatre for Timeshare with Lally Katz and Mark Pritchard (2015); wrote and performed in ‘No Regrets: The Law Revue’ – her sold out debut at the MICF (2015); wrote and performed for Monash University’s Container Festival (2014, 2015); devised and performed in The Gift of The Bower Bird (Arena Theatre Company 2015); and performed in Monash University’s production of Love and Information directed by Samara Hersch (2013). Natesha aspires to be part of a new generation of diverse writers and comedians in Australia that actively challenge the global artistic and cultural landscape – through creating thoughtful and innovative new works. She is currently completing her Bachelor of Performing Arts/Law at Monash University (2018).|
|Merlynn Tong (Brisbane) is a Chinese Singaporean actor and playwright based in Brisbane. Some of her recent performances include The Theory of Everything (2015, Brisbane Festival), The Wizards from Oz (2015, Taiwan, Taoyuan International Children’s Festival), Hot Brown Honey (2015, Judith Wright Centre), The C Word (2014, Metro Arts), American Music Club (2014, Brisbane Festival), The Golden Show (2012, Japan, Dairakudakan Dance Group) and hosting Out of the Box Children’s Festival (2014, QPAC). Merlynn wrote and performed in her one-woman-show Ma Ma Ma Mad, a story based on her mother’s suicide that was published by Playlab in 2015 and will receive a season in December 2015 at Brisbane Powerhouse’s Wonderland Festival. She is also currently developing a new one-woman-show, Blue Bones, with the support of Playlab (Lab Rats) and Playwriting Australia.|
|Chi Vu (Melbourne) is a writer and performance maker living in Melbourne. Her plays include ‘The Dead Twin’, ‘Banh Chung installation performance’, ‘A Story of Soil’ and ‘Vietnam: a Psychic Guide’, also published in the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (ed. Nicholas Jose). Chi’s novella, ‘Anguli Ma: a Gothic Tale’ is published by Giramondo.|
Photo credit: Actor Harry Tseng at the National Play Festival 2014.