On a mission to see more Asian-Australian stories on our stages, we teamed up with Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP) to make things happen.
The Lotus Asian-Australian Playwriting project has provided high calibre training and mentoring for Asian-Australian artists interested in writing for theatre. Our goal has been to energise a groundswell in contemporary Asian-Australian theatre as a way to address the shortage of high quality new plays from this vibrant and creative community.
In partnership with CAAP, we identified and nutured extraordinary new voices and stories from perspectives rarely experienced in mainstage Australian theatre. The Lotus Program consists of four distinct phases over four years.
Lotus Stage One: 2014-15
Free Introductory Playwriting Workshops
From April to June 2014, we met with over 70 Asian-Australian artists, performers, writers and bloggers in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne for our series of free playwriting workshops hosted by state-based partnering companies
The Salon is an intermediate playwriting course designed by Playwriting Australia and inspired by the UK’s Royal Court Theatre Young Writers’ Program. The three-month course is led by an established playwright offering emerging playwrights a supportive environment to learn the craft of writing for the stage and to develop their own original works. Through fortnightly group meetings, participants read and discussed a list of contemporary plays, and completed a series of writing exercises. For Lotus Stage One The Salon took place in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
In 2015, we invited four of the most promising emerging voices in each city for a special presentation of their new work-in-progress. In collaboration with local theatre partners and Sydney Writers’ Festival, we presented collections of the most exciting new voices to Australian audiences around the country.
Brisbane showing new works by Shari Indriani, Michelle Law, Silvan Rus and Merlynn Tong.
Sydney showing new works by Adolfo Cruzado, Anne Lau, Vernon Pua and Disapol Savetsila
Melbourne showing new works by Hiroki Kobayashi, Lian Low, Jeremy Nguyen and Hoa Pham
Lotus Stage Two: First Draft
Participants were be selected from Stage One playwrights as well as through expressions of interest with four writers per state (NSW, VIC, QLD) invited to participate in an intensive 6-month program. Stage Two included individual tutorials with a playwright mentor, monthly group masterclasses and craft discussions with mentors and guest artists.
At the end of the training, and following 2-3 months of writing time, each playwright was given an intensive session with their mentor to discuss their completed first draft. Excerpts from selected pays were presented at the 2016 National Play Festival.
Lotus Stage Three: 2016-17
The third stage of Lotus was entirely writer-led, with the playwright charting the direction of their play’s development. Each of the six chosen writers received one-on-one dramaturgy from a member of the PWA artistic team, and a week-long creative development at the National Script Workshop with a cast of professional actors, a director and a dramaturg.
Lotus Stage Four: 2019
In April 2019 the final stage of Lotus took place at Dayboro in Queensland. Chi Vu, Katrina Irawati Graham, Disapol Savetsila, Shari Indriani Irwin, Ngoc Pham and Natesha Somasundaram worked for ten days with Mina Morita, Artistic Director of Crowded Fire Theatre in San Francisco and Australian- Hong Kong theatre maker and director Ching Ching Ho.
*please note that submissions to Lotus are now closed*
The Lotus Asian-Australian Playwriting project is proudly supported by the Girgensohn Foundation