In 2017 Playwriting Australia and HotHouse Theatre created in partnership, an emerging writers program for writers in Albury-Wodonga and surrounding region. Outposts was designed to provide professional playwrighting development in a regional setting, where oportunities are often limited and artistic isloation can be harder felt. In July 2017, twenty local writers participated in an intense crash course, which was facilitated by PWA and a creative team of actors and dramaturgs. Writers were then invited to apply for a five month writing salon to further their scripts and playwriting skills. Over five months Lachlan Philpott, award-winning Australian playwright (SILENT DISCO, THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY) mentored and provided dramaturgy for these writers. Four of these writers were selected to the final stage of development, where their scripts were refined with one on one dramaturgy provided by Lachlan Philpott and Campion Decent, award-winning playwright and dramaturg.
In April this year, the four writers Brendan Hogan, Brian Le Marquand, Rachel McNamara and Leisa Whyte, completed a creative development week; complete with director Rachel Chant, dramaturgs Lachlan Philpott and Campion Decent, and four professional actors.
To celebrate the end of an inspiring and creative program, an excerpt of each of their scripts was peformed at a public play reading for the Albury-Wodonga community at the end of the creative development week.
Without the generous support of the Jibb Foundation, Rodney Seaborn Playwriting Support Fund and Robert Salzer Foundation, this program would not have been possible.
Playwriting Australia is determined to continue its new writer development salons for artists in regional Australia, so we can unearth more new playwrights with unheard voices. If you would like to support our regional programs please donate here or contact Michelle Kotevski, General Manager 02 8274 0900 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some thoughts from the writers and creative team involved.
“The Outposts journey has been an unbelievavle one. On a broad level, it was refreshing to have this quality of professional development delivered at a local level. As regional artists, the tyranny of distance has always been a significant barrier in allowing writers to hone their craft. As a theatre-maker in a regional area, whenever my work is shared it usually also requires me to be directing, producing, and performing countless other tasks. It was a thrill to just be an audience member for a change.Overall, the Outposts program was an immensely rewarding and supportive experience, which placed regional artists at the centre.” Brendan, writer
“For me, the outposts program was a lot about place – making a place, finding a place, being in the right place, accepting the place where you are at. All I knew going into the program was that I wanted to write something about this place – Albury. I think that in regional areas – the idea of a creative space that is professional, supported and rigorous is really important – and this is the ongoing legacy of Outposts for me. It made me carve out a place in my schedule for my creativity. The program reminded me how important a held creative space is – and that I had lost it! From being a participant in the program I have made space again in my life to be creative, but also through meeting other writers from the area we have started to hold this space for each other. Validate each other and support each other. This is a great gift of the program.” Rachel, writer
“This was one of my first experiences of working with first-time playwrights, some of whom did not yet understand how the page translated into the stage. It was particularly humbling to see just how beneficial it was for them to have actors move their words on stage, building their understanding of the role of the playwright.” Rachel, director
“The dramaturg is a kind of go-between for the writer and other creatives (director and cast) and is, by necessity, part friend, part questioner, sometimes therapist, and often tutor. I think for all the writers, Outposts facilitated an enormous learning curve.On the final night we had a showing, the foyer afterwards bristling with pride and enthusiasm that these new local writers were finding and honing their playwright’s voice in this community’s shared and special place.” Campion, dramaturg
“I have had the problem of not being able to see the stage in my mind as I write the play. Seeing the actors at Hothouse bring my work to life helped me a great deal. I am now starting to ‘see’ the play as I write it.” Brian, writer
“The Development Week with my play gave me a greater insight into the lengthy process of making a work production ready. I realised how vital the work of a dramaturg is in this development and the need for the writer’s intention to be very clear in the writing, whilst still allowing space for interpretation by the director and the actors. I thoroughly enjoyed every step in the process and really appreciated that the team were there for me, the writer.” Leisa, writer