In Plays

Playwriting Australia is pleased to announce the plays selected for the first session of the National Script Workshops 2013.

Following our first open submission round in 2013 for the National Script Workshop, Artistic Director, Tim Roseman, worked with a panel of accomplished playwrights, dramaturgs and directors to select the workshop plays from over 60 submissions received.

As always, we were spoiled for choice and, ultimately, wanted to provide workshops for three of the shortlisted plays. For this session, we have adapted our existing workshop structure to respond to individual writers’ needs, providing the right amount of time and resources needed to best support the playwright’s needs.

And so, we are thrilled to start the National Script Workshops for 2013 with the development of three brand new plays in Sydney, from 13 – 24 May.

Chipper by Vanessa Bates, directed by Chris Bendall

Chipper is the tale of two sisters reunited at their mother’s bedside. Whilst Olli has been their mother’s primary carer throughout the escalation of her illness, Min has been notably absent, focussing on her TV career. Olli is smelly, sad and hungry for something other than hospital food. Min’s arrival means Olli can take a break, but she becomes waylaid by a mysterious man at the vending machine who transforms her world. Vanessa’s play is a beautiful, funny and haunting exploration of the choices we make and the ways we connect. She’s speaking about reality and escape, grief and hope.

Big Heart by Patricia Cornelius, directed by Susie Dee

Big Heart was commissioned by the Arts Department at the University of Southern Queensland (2012). It’s a monumental piece of writing, the story of a white Australian woman who adopts babies from Nicaragua, Sudan, Bosnia, Vietnam as well as an indigenous Australian. The play charts their journey from childhood to adulthood, exploring how their worlds expand and contract, and how they come to terms with coming from nothing to being given everything. It’s a bold, questioning play, packed with human frailty and huge questions from one of our most distinct voices.

Sea Monster by Aidan Fennessy, directed by Tim Roseman

Sea Monster is a commission from Black Swan Theatre Company. Alice is a forensic psychologist, assessing David, a patient with sever anterograde amnesia, which leaves him with only short term memory of 30 minutes. David has been in a secure care facility for seven years. The court has appointed Alice to ascertain whether David’s amnesia is real, and whether he is ready to face the rest of the world. You rarely get to see a thriller on the stage, so this is an opportunity too juicy to pass up. We’ll be focusing on making the draft slippier, more surprising and unsettling.

Meet the writers:

VANESSA BATES (NSW)Vanessa’s plays include Every Second, The Magic Hour, Porn.Cake, Checklist for an Armed Robber, The Night We Lost Jenny, Match and Darling Oscar. Her plays have been produced by Deckchair Theatre, Malthouse Theatre, Griffin Theatre, Belvoir B-Sharp, Vitalistatistix, Black Swan Theatre, Theatre@risk, Freewheels, Tantrum Theatre and the Sydney Theatre Company as well as ABC Radio National.Porn.Cake was co-winner of the 2012 NSW Premiers Literary Awards (Nick Enright Award), and was also nominated for an AWGIE and the Griffin Award. Vanessa was 2012 Playwright in Residence for Playwriting Australia at Griffin Theatre. Porn.Cake was supported through the National Script workshop in 2010 and Every Second was showcased at 2012 PWA National Play Festival and at the National New Play Network Festival in Washington DC.
Patricia Cornelius is an award-winning playwright, novelist, and dramaturge. She is the founding member of Melbourne Workers Theatre.Patricia was the recipient of the Patrick White Fellowship in 2012. She also received a fellowship from the Theatre Board of the Australia Council and is the winner of 2011 VIC Premier’s Drama award, 2010 NSW Premier’s Drama award, 2009 Richard Wherrett Prize, 2006 Patrick White Playwright’s Award, 2003 Wal Cherry Award, The Jill Blewitt Award and the R.E Ross Trust Award. Her plays have earned her 10 Awgies for stage, community, theatre for young people, and feature film adaptation. She has written over 25 plays. Her most recent works include: Do Not Go Gentle, Taxi, Savages, Slut, Love and The Ca

AIDAN FENNESSY (VIC)Aidan Fennessy is an award-winning writer, director and dramaturg.His plays have been produced by Melbourne Theatre Company, Queensland Theatre Company, Griffin Theatre, HotHouse, Playbox, and many more. His play Chilling and Killing My Annabel Lee (produced by Griffin in 1998)won the Wal Cherty Award and was short-listed for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Other plays include Brutopia (Winner 2010 Griffin Award) and National Interest winner of the People’s Choice Award in the 2012 Victorian Premiers Literary Awards. Aidan was a founding member of Chameleon Theatre, a member of the Artistic Directorate for HotHouse Theatre and Artistic Director of the Store Room Theatre Workshop.

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