Playwrights: This is How We Do It

Posted on September 11, 2019, last updated Sep 17 2019

Earlier this year we announced our forthcoming Playwrights: This is How We Do It podcast, and called on the community to submit a notable Australian Playwright they wanted to interview and why. We received many stellar applications boasting some of our country’s most influential playwrights. This all made for an engaging and difficult decision making process which has resulted with five successful pitches.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing with you the exciting interview/interviewee duos that will feature in This Is How We Do It.

Vidya Rajan

Vidya is a writer, comic, and performance-maker working across devised/written performance, the screen, and the page. She has a masters in writing for performance (VCA), was a 2016 Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow and has trained and performed extensively in improvisation and sketch in Australia and the States. Her work has also appeared in a number of online and print publications. She was selected for a Room of One’s Own Residency, Melbourne Festival’s Director’s Lab Program, Westerly’s Emerging Writer mentorship program and Film Victoria’s Plot Twist Games Writing workshop. She has recently worked with ABC Comedy, Theatreworks (associate artist program) and is a 2018 recipient of Screen Australia’s Developing the Developer initiative.

Currently, she is a writer in residence under commission at the Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne.

I’m a huge admirer of Vidya’s work – she’s one of the smartest, funniest, and most resolutely cooked writers and comedians in Australia right now, so I’m beyond flattered that she’s going to interview me for this series. — Declan Greene

Declan Greene

Declan is a theatre-maker and Resident Artist at Malthouse Theatre. As a playwright, his work includes MelancholiaMothPompeii, L.A., Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore PornographyI Am a Miracle, and The Homosexuals, or ‘Faggots’, which have been produced across Australia, Europe, the US, and the UK. Awards include the Malcolm Robertson Prize, the Max Afford Playwrights’ Award, the AWGIE for Theatre for Young Audiences, and the Green Room Award for Best Original Writing. As a director, works include Zoey Dawson’s The Unspoken Word Is ‘Joe’ (MKA/ La Mama) and Conviction (ZLMD Shakespeare), Nakkiah Lui’s Blackie Blackie Brown: The Traditional Owner of Death, The Listies’ Hamlet: Prince of Skidmark (STC), and Wake in Fright (Malthouse). Alongside Ash Flanders, Declan co-runs queer independent theatre company Sisters Grimm. He has directed and co-created all their shows to date including Summertime in the Garden of Eden (Theatre Works/Griffin Independent), Calpurnia Descending (Malthouse Theatre/STC) and Lilith: The Jungle Girl (MTC).

Jamila Main

Jamila is a trained actor and self-taught playwright based on unceded Kaurna land in South Australia. Most recently Jamila has worked as an actor on the development of Nat Randall and Anna Breckon’s new work Set Piece. Jamila’s play How to Eat Rabbit was awarded a Merit Award by STCSA in the 2019 Young Playwrights’ Award. Jamila is also a participant in ATYP’s 2019 National Studio and took part in a masterclass with Patricia Cornelius and PWA. Jamila is an Early Career Curator for Adhocracy 2019 (Vitalstatistix) and recently curated and helped launch the inaugural season of Rumpus in South Australia.
As a playwright Jamila won the 2018 Feast Festival and Writers SA Queer Short Story Competition, received a Senior Commendation for her play Immaculate from State Theatre Company of South Australia in 2016, and was a finalist in HotHouse Theatre’s 2016 Solo Monologue Competition. Jamila’s play Butterfly Kicks has had development and showings in Melbourne for Midsumma Festival and Adelaide.
Jamila’s professional stage debut was in 2017 as a devisor and performer in Zero Feet Away with ActNow Theatre, an interactive, queer theatre performance, during their second year of acting training at Adelaide College of the Arts.

Jamila has played various leading roles in independent short films, training videos, commercials, and music videos, including I’ll Accept which won Best Music Video at the South Australian Screen Awards in 2018.
Jamila is represented by SA Casting and a proud, active member of Actors Equity who sat on the 2019 National Performer’s Committee as an Alternate and currently sits on Equity’s Intimacy Committee.

The best gifts I ever received as a young writer were from other writers sharing their stories, insights and advice. To continue that legacy of support is not only a pleasure, but an absolute necessity in keeping our industry thriving. I am so excited to chat with Jamila Main – she is already an incredible artist, and I know I’ll learn a great deal from her too. — Kate Mulvany

Kate Mulvany

Kate has a Bachelor of Arts and an Honorary Doctorate from Curtin University, Western Australia. She is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, librettist, dramaturg and actor. Her plays include her autobiographical work The Seed, The Danger Age, the musical Somewhere (with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin), a reworking of Medea – co-written with Anne-Louise Sarks, an adaptation of the international best-selling books Jasper Jones and Masquerade, and a seven-hour adaption of Ruth Park’s The Harp in the South trilogy, commissioned by the Sydney Theatre Company. Her new take on Mary Stuart also recently premiered at the Sydney Theatre Company. Kate has written for the Emmy-winning television show Beatbugs, and was a co-creator of the television series Upright which will premiere later this year.

As an actor, Kate has performed extensively across Australia, most recently as Richard of Gloucester (Richard III), for which she won a prestigious Helpmann Award for Best Female Actor. Kate’s film work includes Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, The Final Winter, Griff the Invisible, The Turning, The Little Death and The Merger, both of which saw her nominated for an Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award. Kate has appeared on television in many roles, including Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Secret City, Fighting Season and the upcoming series Lambs of God. Kate’s life has been covered on episodes of the documentary series Australian Story and One Plus One. She is currently in New York City playing Sister Harriet in the new Amazon series The Hunt.

Kate is a proud member of the Australian Writers Guild, Actors Equity and SAG.

Amelia Newman

Amelia has worked extensively with Riot Stage Youth Theatre as a performer on Forever City (2015) and Lovely Mess (2017). They assistant director F. with Riot Stage for Poppy Seed Theatre Festival 2016 and are currently part of Riot Stages Youth Ensemble.  In 2017 Amelia wrote, produced and directed Younger and Smaller which was a part of La Mamas Exploration season. In 2019 Younger and Smaller was published on Australianplays.org. 

In 2018 Amelia performed in Lovely Mess (2018) as a part of Festival of Live Art and Fringe Festival.  Amelia was a part of the Melbourne chapter of ATYP’s Fresh Ink Program 2018. Amelia co-wrote Never Ending Night for Melbourne Fringe Festival 2018.  Amelia is a part of Malthouse Vanguard 2018/19. In 2019 Amelia held a residency with Lonely Company in which they finished writing Ghosts are Real which they developed with VIMH Dinner and Show program. In 2019 Amelia’s work I Am Not a Cake will be in Melbourne Fringe Festivals Fringe Hub. 

Lally Katz

Lally Katz is one of Australia’s most original and in-demand writers. She has written over 50 plays,most of which have been professionally produced. Lally’s work has been described “as if The Simpsons was written by Tennessee Williams” (Sydney Morning Herald 2016).

The double bill she wrote with Brendan Cowell The Dog/The Cat premiered at Belvoir in 2015 and had a return season in 2017. It is being performed this year in London and Las Vegas. She is currently writing a memoir for Allen and Unwin.

Lally wrote the libretto for Opera Australia’s operatic adaptation of The Rabbits by Shaun Tan which won the Australian Writers Guild Award in 2016 for Best Music Theatre script and won several Helpmann Awards, including Best New Work. Lally has recently had new, world-premiere plays open at Malthouse, Belvoir and at Melbourne Theatre Company. Her plays have been staged in London, New York City, Mexico City, Dublin and Delhi. Her one-woman show, Stories I Want To Tell You, has toured extensively and Lally adapted it for ABC TV and Matchbox Pictures in 2015. Lally wrote, starred and was a producer in the one-hour television production.

Lally’s play, Neighbourhood Watch, was written for Australian actress Robyn Nevin and has enjoyed a subsequent season starring Miriam Margolyes. Lally is currently adapting it for the screen with producers Marian Macgowan and Gillian Armstrong.

A Golem Story and Goodbye Vaudeville Charlie Mudd both won the Victorian Premier’s LiteraryAward. Lally’s work has received several Green Room Awards. A significant number of Lally’s playsare published by Currency Press, PlayLab and Australian Scripts Online. Lally regularly writes articles for magazines and newspapers and has been a panellist on television shows including Q&A, Agony of Modern Manners and Dirty Laundry.

Peter Polites

Peter Polites writes novels, performance texts and earns minimum wage. His second novel is called The Pillars and is a satire of gay western Sydney aspirations.

Paschal Daantos Berry

Paschal Daantos Berry is performance maker, writer, dramaturg and curator whose practice is focused on interdisciplinary, cross cultural and collaborative processes. He has worked for Urban Theatre Projects (UTP), Radio National (ABC), Griffin Theatre, the Australian Choreographic Centre and Quantum Leap Youth Choreographic Ensemble, Belvoir Asian Theatre Festival, Performance Space, Blacktown Arts Centre, ATYP, Canberra Youth Theatre and NORPA.  Between 2013 – 18 he worked for Blacktown Arts as a curator and lead the curatorial team as Program Coordinator.  He is currently the Curator of Programs and Learning for the Biennale of Sydney.

Noemie Huttner-Koros

Noemie Huttner-Koros is a performance-maker, writer, director, producer and interdisciplinary artist based in Boorloo (Perth) on Whadjuk Noongar country, hailing from Canberra Ngunnawal country. Noemie’s work is driven by a belief in the social role of art and in creating experiences and encounters that are fun and reconsider our relationships to power, gender, culture, ecosystems and place. A recent graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts’ Bachelor of Performing Arts (Performance-Making) course, Noemie has also trained at the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards (Italy), Makhampom Living Theatre (Thailand), Roy Hart International Centre for Voice (France) and at the Intercultural Theatre Institute in Singapore. She is a co-founder of KAN Collective, a group making immersive, intimate and interdisciplinary performance in Western Australia (House of Joys, FRINGEWORLD 2018). Her writing credits include ADA (part of WAAPA’s 2018 Tilt program), her solo Kangaroos in Exodus (part of 600 Seconds at Blue Room Summer Nights 2019) and co-writing Untitled Wars with Mararo Wangai (Blue Room Theatre Winter Nights 2019). Noemie has worked with companies including The Last Great Hunt (Stay With Us) and Aphids (HOWL), and Assistant Directed Love Me Tender at WAAPA in 2019. She also recently premiered a new work The Lion Never Sleeps, a participatory walking performance through the streets of Perth about the history of HIV/AIDS in Perth and queer nightlife spaces, at the Blue Room Theatre’s Winter Nights festival. She is part of the First Hand Emerging Artist program at Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, recently co-creating a new work for the company called Big Bangs. Noemie is currently an artist in residence at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts creating a new work called The Trouble-Makers investigating hope and community-building in an age of climate chaos. She recently participated in the Australian Theatre for Young People’s National Studio program for emerging playwrights.

David Finnigan

David Finnigan is a writer, theatre-maker and pharmacy assistant from Canberra. He is a member of science-theatre ensemble Boho and an associate of Coney (UK) and the Sipat Lawin Ensemble (Philippines). David is a Churchill Fellow and an Australia Council Early Career Fellow. He’s online at davidfinig.com

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