Australian Plays is national organisation based in Hobart, a not-for-profit incorporated association providing services to playwrights by - publishing and licensing plays and by promoting and supporting their work with producers and educators nationally and internationally. Founded in 1979, we constantly seek ways to maximise our resources and find innovative ways to promote, curate, connect and champion Australian plays and playwrights.
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.
Our online shopfront 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 facilitate the production of Australian plays through our copy licensing and production licensing services.
We work with other theatrical publishers to provide a single entry point to the full range of contemporary Australian playwriting and associated support materials.
Australian Plays is the the trading name of the Australian Script Centre and our stakeholders represent a diverse community of theatre makers, including playwrights, drama educators, students, theatre companies and producers. We work in partnership with a diverse and growing range of organisations to increase our reach and impact. Publishing partners include Currency Press and Playlab and our project partners include: Yellamundie National First Peoples Playwriting Festival, Women in Theatre and Screen, Theatre Network Australia, Theatre Council of Tasmania, Sydney Festival, Playwriting Australia and Malthouse Theatre.
We currently distribute over 2400 playscripts, representing the work of more than 1,000 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. Our ASC and Red Door imprint scripts are distributed and sold as digital downloads in A4 manuscript format, as provided by the playwright.
Red Door is an evolutionary step in our longstanding tradition of collecting, promoting and distributing contemporary Australian playwriting. It chisels out a niche in our 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 addition to wonderful plays we feature filmed interviews with the Red Door playwrights.
Australian Play’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 we have issued special anthologies of new and/or theme-based works. Most notably, Australian Play'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. Australian Play'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, Moogahlin Performing Arts and Theatre Network Australia.
The ASC gratefully acknowledges the support of our distinguished patrons, playwright David Williamson and performer/artistic director, Robyn Archer.