Playwriting Australia Artistic Script Development Program 2019

PWA is dedicated to working with playwrights at all stages and of all backgrounds, partnering with organisations who share a commitment to rigorous development of work as well as artists. We partner with organisations small and large who share our desire to explore and celebrate Australia’s rich, evolving diversities through the creation of ambitious and provocative theatre.

In 2019 and beyond PWA will work with playwrights and industry partners to address and improve playwrights’ visibility and sustainability through programs that support pathways for artists to develop quality work.

We will address issues of the longevity of Australian plays as it relates directly to how sustainable it is to be a playwright.

Our first step is to bring the playwriting community together as we move forward into an ambitious new era. Our 2019 artistic program balances existing commitments, pilots new script development programs and offers a genuine chance to look back and celebrate PWA’s legacy while looking forward and planning the future.

The focus of 2019 is reconnection. Our program will:

  • Reconnect to writers’ needs with a responsive program of script development workshops.
  • Reconnect writers and the wider industry to work that has been forgotten or cast aside.
  • Consult meaningfully and respond to what we hear from writers as we refresh strategies and plan our future strategic direction.


Artistic Program: Script Development

Designed to recognise the need to support work all the way from spark of first idea through (and following) full production, our script development programs offer paths to enrich your work with entry points at all stages of development.

Post Production is open for submissions. We will announce submissions for the other programs throughout the year.


Plays begin with a spark, image, place, obsession or question that demands theatrical response. But playwrights rarely have a structured means to explore where initial impulses might lead before they begin work. Pre-Play offers a way to delve into it all at a very early stage. Working with a peer [a fellow writer, dramaturg, director or expert] PWA will support playwrights by providing time to unpack ideas and plan the best way to proceed.

Playwrights will receive 6 hours of support for themselves and a collaborator in the project’s nascent stage; like all PWA development this process is writer-driven, and writers can identify a collaborator of their choice.


It’s not uncommon for writers to hit roadblocks as they develop a new work. Even a few drafts in, playwrights sometimes struggle to bring dimension to a character or can’t quite crack how or if a conflict resolves. Sometimes they find themselves unable to remember why they started writing a play in the first place. With an aim towards inspiring writers to keep at it and power through those moments of writer’s block, PWA’s I’m Stuck program will support six hours of consultation with a fellow artist: 2 hours for the collaborator to prep and 4 hours of time spent working through those thorny bits as a team and get the work moving again.


Once the world of a play starts coming into focus and finding its shape, it’s time to dig deeper. Interrogating a new piece of writing with the help of fresh perspectives—actors, directors, dramaturgs and/or designers—can help a writer zero in and do the detailed work that truly brings a play to life.

Participants in the Roundtable program will spend a day investigating a new work in collaboration with a group of artists of their choosing; writers may choose to hear their play read aloud by actors or they may gather a creative team for robust dramaturgical discussion.


The most essential time in a play’s development comes when it lives and breathes in front of an audience: production. As a play transitions from the rehearsal room for the first time, the writer learns more than ever before how the work feels and functions, seeing it through an audience member’s eyes. It’s a pivotal time for a new piece and full of challenges that in the most fertile circumstances result in the evolution of the work as well as the artistic growth of the writer. Post Production acknowledges our commitment to finding ways for plays to have longer lives. The program encourages us to reconsider the way we view first productions: as not an end point for the writer but a big next step in the work’s ongoing life.

PWA will support the ongoing work of a playwright amid and just following production. A peer [playwright or dramaturg] will spend time seeing the work in production and familiarizing themselves with it, after which they will consult with the writer or creative team for four hours, unpacking what was learned from production and supporting a plan for ongoing work.


LOST PLAYS: core development program

PWA’s longer term development program, in which writers will spend five days developing a work, will this year focus on “Lost Plays.” Since PWA’s founding in 2007, we’ve nurtured hundreds of plays at all stages of development. Many make their way to the stage, but just as many fall by the wayside, supported only part of the way or put aside in pursuit of a new work. We’re eager to uncover these half-finished or delayed plays, in addition to the plays commissioned by theatre companies that stall once the option runs out and are still sitting in the drawer. By developing these “lost plays,” we hope to shine a light on the difficult jump from development to production while unearthing forgotten gems.


Note about Assessment

Playwriting Australia is committed to being completely transparent in its evaluation process. The selection criteria for each of our programs will always be made public, and we will continue to engage playwrights and other outside eyes when convening selection panels. We will also offer feedback when appropriate regarding applications and answer any questions regarding our process. Please feel free to be in touch with us at .


Looking Ahead

Playwriting Australia will soon launch the second wave of our new program with a focus on Writer Development. An essential complement to this year’s Script Development program, our Writer Development program will take the focus off individual plays and onto opportunities for writers to evolve, develop skills, and risk-take. In addition to continuing our Duologue program supporting mid-career artists, PWA will offer a series of writers’ forums, masterclasses, and workshops aimed at education and skill-building as well as strengthening community and addressing the larger issues playwrights face. We will also connect with domestic script organizations, publishers, and agents in order to refine strategies around boosting the visibility and status of Australian playwrights and plays.

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