About the Australian Script Centre
The Australian Script Centre, the team behind AustralianPlays.org, has been selectively collecting, promoting and distributing contemporary Australian plays since 1979. We are recognised by the Australia Council for the Arts as providing essential infrastructure services to the theatre sector and as a consequence they granted us multi-year funding through to the end of 2020.
The Centre’s work supports playwrights in particular, by filling the gap left by the very small number of Australian plays that achieve commercial publication. Our online shopfront, AustralianPlays.org, gives playwrights a global distribution and marketing network for their work, as well as giving producers, teachers and students everywhere a simple access point for quality, production-ready Australian plays.
We also facilitate the production of Australian plays through our copy licensing and production licensing services.
As owner and manager of AustralianPlays.org, we work with other theatrical publishers to provide a single entry point to the full range of contemporary Australian playwriting and associated support materials.
The ASC is a non-profit association whose stakeholders represent a diverse community of theatre makers, including playwrights, drama educators, students, theatre companies and producers.
The ASC Collection
The ASC currently distributes approximately 2,300 playscripts, representing the work of more than 900 Australian playwrights who range from talented newcomers to some of our most accomplished playwrights. Scripts are accepted into the catalogue after a rigorous selection process; all are production-ready and many have won or been shortlisted for major awards. ASC scripts are distributed and sold as digital downloads at AustralianPlays.org, in A4 manuscript format, as provided by the playwright.
Red Door is an evolutionary step in the ASC’s longstanding tradition of collecting, promoting and distributing contemporary Australian playwriting. It chisels out a niche in the ASC catalogue where a curator’s passion for particular plays can be shared and celebrated, discussed, challenged and interrogated.
Red Door presents a selection of extraordinary, vivid and emotionally intense plays, but more than this, it is also our playground for invention, technological innovation and all manner of creative geekery. In additionto wonderful playscripts, you may expect to find some neat bells and whistles when you venture through the Red Door.
The ASC’s archived collection represents a unique insight into the development of Australian performance writing over the past 30 years. It contains 1,157 plays which were distributed in manuscript form by the Australian Script Centre at various times during the organisation’s 30-year history but which were subsequently withdrawn from the current catalogue for a variety of reasons.
In 2008, the collection was formally assessed through the National Library of Australia’s Community Heritage Grants program and found to be a collection of national cultural significance offering a potentially rich resource for future research into Australian literature and drama. Prompted by concerns for its longterm preservation and accessibility, the ASC board decided in 2009 to place the collection into the care of the NLA, where it is available for non-commercial research purposes.
Past collections and special projects
Throughout its history, the ASC has periodically issued special anthologies of new and/or theme-based works. Most notably, the ASC’s seven biennial collections showcased highlights from the catalogue over recent years. Collection#7, published in 2008, was the first to be issued in digital format on CD ROM. The ASC’s first online collection, Large Cast: 11 plays for young adults was released in October 2009. Since then there have been may new online Collections of note created including BlakStage which focuses on Indigenous playwriting, the Women in Theatre & Screen database which foregrounds women in theatre from the perspective of playwriting, and significant partnerships with the Sydney Festival, Playwriting Australia and Theatre Network Australia.
The ASC gratefully acknowledges the support of our distinguished patrons, playwright David Williamson and performer/artistic director, Robyn Archer.