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Please note; submissions for this program are now closed. 

Playwriting Australia is working towards a society where new plays are consistently excellent, more widely produced, representative of the diversity of all Australians, and embraced by audiences as central to Australian life; where our playwrights are esteemed cultural beacons with unique visions of the world.

Ignition is a 4-year creative script-development program in partnership with producing companies, which will increase the investment, range, ambition, diversity and quality of Australian playwriting, leading to new landmark productions.  It seeks to extend the range, scale and diversity of works, providing necessary resources to develop scripts to an exceptional quality. 2016 was the first year of the Ignition Program, through which 6 partnerships for bold new work were supported.

Through an EOI process, PWA will select a number of new works each year for development over a 12-24 month period. This may be for a co-commission, or for a work at an early stage of its development.

Each process will be bespoke, built around the partner’s working methods and supported by PWA’s creative development expertise.

Although each process will be unique, it is likely that each new work will be given 4-8 weeks development time before reaching the rehearsal room through workshops, readings, creative developments and/or long-term mentorship with dramaturges/PWA artists.


Ignition’s artistic priorities are:

  • Works of ambition and range. PWA isn’t trying to define ambitious here – it is entirely different for each company. However, we are looking for projects that expand the range of experiences for your audience. Projects could be formally ambitious, larger than normal cast size, working with a playwright whose experience level differs from your usual program, work that is built to tour, a collaboration not normally possible within your normal resources, etc.
  • Diversity – work by Indigenous/non-Anglo (CALD) playwrights,; work for younger audiences, geographic diversity , etc.


PWA will ensure gender parity across projects and include non-traditional performance forms.

Partnership Expectations

  • There is an explicit commitment to producing the work being developed, all things being equal
  • The program of development and associated budget will be mutually agreed between PWA and the partner
  • Companies, venues and festivals will have their contribution of the budget approved by their board before the finalisation of negotiations
  • Major Performing Arts Companies, Festivals and Venues will contribute 50% of the agreed budget of direct development costs
  • Small-to-medium-scale companies will contribute UP TO 50% of the agreed budget of direct development costs (to be agreed with PWA). This can include support-in-kind.
  • PWA / Partnering company will contribute in kind company staff time as needed
  • In the eventual production, PWA receives mutually agreed producing billing


EOI Process

We would like to make this as simple an application process as possible. So, no forms, no support materials, no budgets. When submissions for this program are open we invite applicants to call Artistic Director Tim Roseman to discuss your project.  Once we’ve had a conversation, potential partners are invited to send us a 2 – 3 page Expression of Interest to be involved in Ignition for the co-commission/development of work.

In this EOI, please include:

  1. Your company’s details and contact person
  2. A brief description of the project
  3. Key personnel
  4. Your initial thoughts on the development plan for the piece, including development and production timeline
  5. An explicit statement that commits to providing development resources and to production (all things being equal)
  6. Why / how it fits the priorities identified above, which may be a definition of the priorities from your perspective (i.e. how does Ignition give you the opportunity to do something that you otherwise couldn’t do)

Companies may only submit one project per EOI round. We will invite new proposals annually.

We will only ask for more detailed information if your project progresses to the shortlist.

Photo Credit: Jodie Hutchinson Photography of the Red Stitch 2017 Ignition project.


We are happy to announce the successful projects, of our 2016 round. These plays will be developed over the next 1 – 2 years, by Playwriting Australia, in partnership with producing companies. 

Curious Works: 

This project,  When the Tide Comes In,  written by S. Shakthidharan, will be a multi-room, immersive theatrical event. Set in an imagined 22nd Century, the piece looks at the grand narratives taking hold of contemporary Australia, and their darkness. It explores the progression of Sydney from a place familiar to the Sydney today to a city that is drastically different. It also gives the audience space to discuss and imagine their own, alternative futures.

Red Stitch: The Actor’s Theatre:

We are partnering with Red Stitch along with playwright Jane Bodie and Australian singer-songwriter Mark Seymour.

LAMB  is a dark, funny and moving new Australian play with songs. Set on an Australian sheep farming property, it revolves around two generations of family. It is an intimate and bittersweet story of three siblings who attempt to negotiate an unreliable family history, small town secrets, and changing attitudes to reconnect and rebuild their disparate lives.


With this Melbourne based company, we will develop a work by Suzie Miller. Titled  Small Human Effort,  the piece begins looking at the journalist who collected sunflower seeds from the MH17 crash site, and delivered them to the loved ones of the dead.

This multi-narrative theatrical piece, will explore lost stories and intimate connections, to create a magical moment of theatre that is as much a tribute as a message of indefatigable hope against the threat of terrorism in our modern age

Australian Theatre for Young People

This development will be written by Mary Anne Butler and developed in the Northern Territory. Cusp, centres around three characters all aged 16-18 from the Top End. Elvis is a young anglo inmate at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre who is facing the transition to the adult prison when he turns 18, Moz is a sixteen year old girl who is about to become a mother and Radha from Yirrkala has to decide whether to accept her offer into university or stay in community.

The central dramatic question driving all of these characters is: where do you go when the path forward is full of terror? The play will be developed using community consultation in the Northern Territory with majority Territory artists.

La Boite

Steven Oliver’s new piece has the working title Murri Time. It looks at a First National Family, which deals with the obvious and implicit strains of racism in Australia. Everything changes when the teenage son of the family discovers the portal to the dreaming where spirits have been coming to him in dreams and that they’ve shown him how to travel in time. The family finally come to see it’s true and once the initial shock settles, they sit down to dinner to discuss the possibilities. Despite many scenarios about lotto and regrets it seems there’s one question that keeps popping up, do they go back and alter history to when Cook arrived? What would that mean?

The State Theatre Company of South Australia:

This project will be part of the Regional Theatre Strategy, which is committed to commissioning and developing works that are specifically targeted to tackle issues arising out of regional South Australia. At the head of the project is emerging playwright Elena Carapetis. Elena is a CALD artist of Greek Australian background and grew up in Port Pirie. Elena will go into the community to reconnect, gather strands of story, and write with a strong community focus.