Donna is an award-winning playwright. She has written over 30 original and adapted stage plays for youth, community, independent and mainstream theatre companies, and radio plays for the ABC and Eastside Radio. She has been commissioned to adapt stories in the public domain, develop original narratives, devise works with young or professional performers, create works based on community consultation, and to collaborate with multi-writer teams. Her plays demonstrate her skill at writing in a wide range of performance styles and genres, from heightened poetic drama to absurd and dark comedy. She is especially interested in language-based playwrighting, feminist dramaturgy, and cross-cultural narratives. Donna's play Jump For Jordan won the Griffin Playwriting Award in 2013. Other Awards include AWGIE awards, and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Award for Drama.
Donna is a founding member and board member of Powerhouse Youth Theatre in NSW. Donna is also a founding member of the 7-ON playwrights' group, along with Verity Laughton, Vanessa Bates, Hilary Bell, Noelle Janaczewska, Ned Manning and Catherine Zimdahl. Their blog can be found here.
Dr. Grace Pundyk is a Melbourne-based artist, performer, author and playwright. Her inclination is to create work that often aligns with the forgotten and peripheral. She has performed inside a giant birds nest (to the sound of birdsong); danced kathak on a moving river barge, at 4am, amidst giant floating lotuses; staged a play inside a freight car at a disused rail yard; and also skinned marsupial roadkill from which she makes parchment. Books include the global travel narrative about bees and honey, The Honey Trail (St Martin’s Press, 2010), and Sons of Sindbad: the photographs (Arabian Publishing, London, 2006), which draws on the once forgotten work of Australian maritime writer and photographer, Alan Villiers. Appearances at various festivals include Ten Days on the Island, the Melbourne Festival, White Night, and the Sydney and Brisbane writers festivals.
Steppe, Grace's first play, is based on ‘found’ letters written by her Polish grandmother. The play premiered at the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival and was short-listed for the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award 2016. Steppe was also selected for the 11th Women’s International Playwrights Conference, held in Santiago, Chile in 2018, and has been translated into Polish and Spanish.
Emma Mary Hall
Emma Mary Hall is an actor, theatre maker and writer raised in Adelaide and most recently based in Melbourne, Australia. She trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts and hold an Honours degree in political science from the Australian National University in Canberra. Emma makes political, often comedic works and tends to use performance to try to understand how political orders govern domestic and psychological worlds. Emma is influenced by many wonderful artists who are interrogating political realities, truth and time including, but not limited to: Tim Etchells, Roslyn Oades, Spalding Gray, David Shrigley, Charlie Kauffman, Martin Creed, Nicola Gunn, Post, and Will Eno.
Tom Holloway is a multi-award-winning playwright whose work has been staged extensively both in Australia and around the world.
In 2016 his adaptation of Double Indemnity was produced by Melbourne Theatre Company. His plays include And No More Shall We Part (winner of the 2010 AWGIE Award for Best Stage Play and the 2010 Louis Esson Prize for Drama in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, and produced at the 2016 Williamstown Theatre Festival, USA, staring Alfred Molina and Jane Kaczmarek), an adaptation of Storm-Boy (winner of the 2014 AWGIE for Young Audiences and produced by Barking Gecko and Sydney Theatre Company), Forget Me Not (produced by Bush Theatre, London in 2015, starring Eleanor Bron, and premiered at Belvoir Theatre in 2013), Beyond The Neck (2007 winner AWGIE Award for Best Stage Play), Red SkyMorning (2007, winner R. E. Ross Trust Development Award, 2009 Green Room Award Best New Writing for the Australian Stage), Love Me Tender (nominated for the Western Australia Premier’s Book Awards and the 2011 AWGIE Award for Best Stage Play), and many more.
His plays have been seen across the UK, the USA, in Denmark, Germany, Jordon, South Africa, New Zealand and more.
He was librettist for Czech composer Miroslav Srnka’s opera, South Pole that premiered at the Bavarian State Opera, Munich, in 2016, staring Thomas Hampson and Rolando Villaizon, as well as Make No Noise – an adaptation of the film The Secret Life of Words, produced by the 2016 Bregenz Festival, and premiered at the Bavarian State Opera for the 2011 Munich Opera Festival.
Mary Anne Butler is a Darwin based playwright whose play The Sound of Waiting premiered to a sold out season in 2017.
Her play Broken won the 2016 Victorian Prize for Literature, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Drama and the 2014 NT Literary Award. It was shortlisted for a 2016 AWGIE, 2016 Nick Enright Award and 2014 Griffin Award. Broken premiered at Brown’s Mart Theatre to a sold-out season in 2015, with a sold-out Darwin Festival season in 2016, and a 2016 season at Sydney’s Darlinghurst Theatre where it received four-star reviews and the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Ensemble. Broken has had rehearsed readings at The Abbey Theatre Dublin  and the Australian Theatre Company in Los Angeles . Mary Anne has recently been commissioned to adapt Broken to screenplay [Brindle Films].
Mary Anne’s Highway of Lost Hearts premiered sold out at Darwin Festival 2012 [sold-out season] with a 2013 return season by demand, and a 2014 Australia-wide tour. Highway of Lost Hearts was joint winner, 2016 NT Chief Minister’s Book of the Year, and Mary Anne adapted it to a four-part series for Radio National in 2015.
Mary Anne is a four-time winner of the NT Literary Awards, 2016 Sidney Meyer Creative Fellow, 2016 Asialink recipient, 2014 Churchill Fellow and 2015 Regional Arts Fellow. She holds an MPhil in Creative Writing and an MEd in Arts Education, and is a co-artistic director of Knock-em-Down Theatre.
Robert Reid is a freelance playwright, director, game designer and academic. His plays, The Joy of Text and On The Production of Monsters, were produced by Melbourne Theatre Company in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
Robert's play The New Black was shortlisted for the Kit Denton Award in 2009, presented at the PWA National Play Festival in 2010 and work shopped by the High Tide Festival in the UK in 2011. Portraits of Modern Evil was shortlisted for both the Wal Cherry Award and the Griffin Award and was performed by Black Swan Theatre Company BSX in Perth. Eating Alone was shortlisted for the Griffin Award in 2013 and he was given the R.E. Ross Trust Playwright Development Award for his play A Mile in her Shadow in 2005. Sad Bird Boy and the Scalpel Fingered Girl won both the Best Independent Theatre Company Prize and the Best Overall Performance Prize at Short and Sweet Melbourne 2005. His play, Empire, was given a special commendation by Melbourne Fringe in 2004 and Pat Sabatine’s Eighth Birthday Party was given the St Martins Playwright of the Year Award in 2000.
Robert was Artistic Director and a founding member of the independent theatre company, Theatre in Decay. Robert’s works produced by Theatre in Decay included The New Scum, Screaming in America: The Bill Hicks Project, All of Which are American Dreams, A Mile in Her Shadow, Sweet Staccato Rising and Empire.
Ross Mueller is an Australian playwright. He is the 2009 winner of the New York New Dramatists Playwright exchange for his play Concussion. In March 2009 Concussion was premiered at Sydney Theatre Company. In April 2009 his play Hard Core was shortlisted for the Patrick White Award and will be premiered by Perth Theatre Company.
He is the winner of the Wal Cherry Play of the Year in 2006 for The Glory. In 2008 he was twice nominated for Best Play in the Green Room Awards for two separate works and in March 2007 his play The Ghost Writer was premiered at Melbourne Theatre Company.
In May 2007 No Man’s Island had its US premiere with a production at Here in New York City. Construction of The Human Heart was short-listed for the 2007 AWGIE Award for Best New Play and nominated for five Green Room Awards. In 2002 he was the Australian playwright at the International Residency of the Royal Court Theatre in London.
Ross has been shortlisted for the Patrick White Award on three separate occasions. He has been commissioned by Melbourne Theatre Company, Playbox, Canberra Youth Theatre, Hothouse and ABC Radio National. He has been an affiliate of the Melbourne Theatre Company and a founding member of Melbourne Dramatists. His plays are published by Currency Press, Full Dress Publications and Playlab.
Jane Bodie is a writer, mentor and director. Her plays, including Music, This Year's Ashes, Hinterland, Ride, Fourplay, Still, Hilt and A Single Act have been performed worldwide.
Jane was short-listed for The Ewa Czajor Memorial Award in 2000, nominated for the Patrick White Playwrights’ Award in 2002 and won a Green Room Award for Outstanding Writing on the Melbourne Fringe in 2003 for Still. In 2007 she won the prestigious Louis Esson Prize for Drama awarded by Australia’s Premier’s Literary Awards for her play A Single Act, which was produced to critical acclaim at Hampstead Theatre in 2005 and at Melbourne Theatre Company in 2006.
Jane worked at the Royal Court Theatre on the Young Writers Programme and was on attachment at The National Theatre Studio as a writer in the UK. She has also written extensively for TV and Radio, including The Secret Life Of Us, No Angels, Nearly Famous and Moving Wallpaper/Echo Beach and Well, for Radio 4 as well as several plays for ABC National. She is currently working on a feature screenplay adaptation of This Year’s Ashes for Screen Australia.
Jane was Head of Playwriting at NIDA from 2010 – 2012, Associate Artist at the Griffin Theatre in 2013 and was Artistic Associate at Playwriting Australia.
Didem is a playwright, theatre-maker and speaker, who has had work produced through NIDA, The Griffin Theatre Company, Theatre 503, La mama theatre and 45 downstairs. Her plays have been developed in Melbourne and Sydney through Playwriting Australia, The RE Ross trust, and the Melbourne city council.
In 2014/2015, she travelled to the UK and US to gain extensive knowledge about Dramaturgy and new writing development; specifically in Edinburgh, London, Chicago and New York. this journey culminated in the readings of three of her plays 'vile, in bloom and lovers and other strangers' through chicago dramatists, New york playwrights workshop and the Lark play development centre. This journey was proudly funded through the Australian arts council and the Ian Potter cultural trust.
Didem is also a short fiction writer, and spoken word artist, having had work published in Voiceworks, Catalyst, Express media, Yen, meanjin and womankind. Didem was a 2015 emerging cultural leader at FCAC, and has since been engaging in arts advocacy as well as creating.
Didem has a Diploma in Theatre Arts from Victoria University, awarded through RPL, a Bachelor of Creative Writing from RMIT with first class honours, a Postgraduate diploma in playwriting from NIDA and a Masters in dramaturgy from the VCA.
Patricia Cornelius is one of Australia’s most awarded and celebrated playwrights. She is known for her confronting plays that often deal with people living on the margins of society, struggling with poverty and prejudice.
Cornelius was a founding member of Melbourne Workers' Theatre and has written over 25 plays including SHIT, Savages, Slut, The Call, Good, Do Not Go Gentle…, Boy Overboard, Cunning, Love, Jack's Daughters, Opa - a sexual odyssey, Max, Platform, Lilly and May and Hog's Hairs and Leeches. Fever and Who’s Afraid of the WorkingClass? were written in collaboration with Andrew Bovell, Melissa Reeves, Christos Tsiolkas and Irine Vela. Patricia's many awards include a Gold AWGIE, numerous other AWGIEs, a Green Room Award, the Jill Blewett Award and the 2006 Patrick White Playwrights' Award. Her first novel, My Sister Jill, was published by Random House in 2002. She received the NSW Premier's Literary Award for Drama in 2011 and was the Patrick White fellow at Sydney Theatre Company in 2012.
Patricia co-wrote the feature film adaptation for Blessed based on the play Who’s Afraid of the Working Class? and she is currently writing a screenplay with Catriona McKenzie called Stolen with the support of Screen NSW’s Aurora program and Screen Australia. She also regularly works as a dramaturg and mentor to young playwrights.
Alison Croggon trained as a young reporter on the afternoon daily newspaper the Melbourne Herald before leaving journalism to explore other forms of writing. From 2004-2012 she ran the theatre review blog Theatre Notes, and was formerly Melbourne theatre critic for The Australian and The Bulletin. She is currently the performance critic for ABC Arts Online and a poetry critic and columnist for Overland Journal. She was awarded the 2009 Geraldine Pascall Prize for Critic of the Year.
She wrote the best-selling fantasy quartet The Books of Pellinor, which has sold more than half a million copies worldwide, was shortlisted for two Aurealis Awards and named one of the Notable Books of 2003 by the Children's Book Council of Australia. The US edition of The Naming was judged a Top Ten Teen Read by Amazon.com. Her new novel Black Spring was recently released in Australia and the UK and was shortlisted for the 2014 NSW Premiers Literary Awards. She has published several collections of poetry, which won the Anne Elder and Dame Mary Gilmore Prizes and were shortlisted for the Victorian and NSW Premier's Literary Awards. Her most recent collection is Theatre (Salt Publishing 2008). She has written several works for theatre, including the operas The Burrow and Gauguin with the composer Michael Smetanin, produced at the Perth and Melbourne Festivals respectively, and Mayakovsky, commissioned by Victorian Opera, and Night Songs, co-written with Daniel Keene, commissioned by Bell Shakespeare.
Jana Perković is a performance and dance writer, dramaturg and urbanist. Her work focuses on the intersection between urban policy and arts, immersive design and performance practice, and geographical theories. She teaches at Victorian College of the Arts, and in Melbourne School of Design, at University of Melbourne.
Her writing on performance has appeared, among others, in The Guardian, RealTime, Exeunt Magazine, Dancehouse Diary, Crikey. She has been the Literary Manager for MKA Theatre of New Writing since 2012. She also sits on the Green Room board for Hybrid and Alternative Performance, Puppetry and Circus (HAPPC), and is a member of Artistic Counsel for Malthouse Theatre.
A strong and passionate maker of political and raw performance, Candy Bowers is notorious for disturbing the comfortable. Whether in a classroom in regional Queensland or on stage at the Sydney Opera House her commitment to building social inclusion and social capacity for people of colour via theatre is great. After graduating from the NIDA acting course in 2001 Candy teamed up Sarah Ward to create the cult Hip Hop comedy act Sista She. Between touring music and arts festivals across the country, performing at Edinburgh Fringe and producing sketches for their own TV show on Channel V, they ran workshops in regional and remote area’s of Australia. Sista She won a swag of music, comedy and festival awards. In 2010 Candy was nominated for the Phillip Parsons Young Playwright Award and won the Best Performance Award at the Melbourne Fringe for her first solo show WHO’S THAT CHIK? In 2008 she picked up the British Council Realise Your Dream Award and was named on the Top 100 Creative Catalysts List (Vivid Festival).
Candy runs Black Honey Company with her sister Busty Beatz. The African Australian sisters have been touring Queensland with their kids show MC Platypus and Queen Koala’s Hip Hop Jamboree and rather adult show’s Australian Booty and Hot Brown Honey Burlesque. They are currently in creative development for a new Soul Musical based on Twelfth Night entitled Twelve and are collaborating on various brave works across the country. Candy is a 2014 recipient of The Glorias Fellowship (NIDA) and the Australia Council for the Arts: Cultural Leadership Skills Development grant. She will travel to the UK, US and South Africa to extend her craft as a comedian, writer and intercultural dramaturge.
Bruce Gladwin and the Back to Back Theatre Ensemble
Back to Back Theatre was founded in 1987 in Geelong, Victoria, its mission being to create theatre with people who are identified as having an intellectual disability. Using their unique position as outsiders to cast a discordant gaze at sociaty, the members of Back to Back Theatre explore the points of friction between economic exploitation and humanism, between the social and the artistic, between the legitimate needs of individuals and the tyranny of normality. Consisting of five full-time actors, the company has been headed since 1999 by director Bruce Gladwin. Favouring a long-term creative process based on improvisations with the actors, Bruce and his company have more recently developed radical theatricality by focusing on the real issues underpinning the performances, adopting an aesthetic of visual poetry and a continuous seesaw between what is performed and what is represented.
For recent major works by Back to Back Theatre - Soft (2002), Small Metal Objects (2005), Food Court (2008) and Ganesh Versus the Third Reich(2011) - have made the company internationally renowed and, over the past decade, the troup has performed in more than 50 cities and in major festivals around the world.
Angela is a multi award-winning writer and co-director of independent theatre company, Real TV. Her work has toured widely across Australia and internationally. Angela’s recent writing credits include Tall Man (RealTV & Magictorch) Where in the World is Frank Sparrow? (Graffiti Theatre, Ireland) Helicopter, (Melbourne Theatre Company), The Dark Room (Belvoir) Girl Who Cried Wolf (Arena) War Crimes, Hoods and Children of the Black Skirt (RealTV). She received the 2011 Sydney Theatre Award for Best New Australian work, the 2012 Queensland Literary Award for Drama, the 2012 Kit Denton Disfellowship and the 2008 Richard Wherrett Award for Excellence in Playwriting. This year Angela received the Sydney Theatre Company Patrick White Fellowship. She is currently working on commissions with Belvoir/Playwriting Australia, Terrapin/Melbourne Theatre Company and the University of Wollongong.
Iain Sinclair is a director, dramaturg and translator. He has championed many playwrights including Kate Mulvany (The Seed), Tom Holloway (Beyond the Neck), Mary Rachel Brown (A Streetcar Named Datsun 120Y), Duncan Graham (One Long Night in the Land of Nod, The Highway Crossing), Caleb Lewis (Songs for the Deaf), Victoria Haralabidou (Why did the Aborigines Eat Captain Cook?), Donna Abela (Jump for Jordan) and Eddie Perfect (The Beast). Iain has also directed an equal number of mainstage productions of established works including All My Sons, Our Town, Mojo, Blood Wedding, Lord of the Flies, Hurlyburly, My Arm and Killer Joe. He is currently working with Dan Lee on his new play, Bottomless with Red Stitch in Melbourne and directing Matthew Ryan’s new play, Brisbane for Queensland Theatre Company. Iain is the Associate Artist (and Resident Dramaturg) at Playwriting Australia.
Stephen Sewell is one of the most celebrated writers in Australia today. Well known for both film and theatre work, Stephen’s work includes his AFI award- winning script The Boys and plays such as The Blind Giant is Dancing, The Secret Death of Salvador Dali and Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America.
Three Furies which Stephen wrote for director Jim Sharman premiered to enormous acclaim at the 2005 Sydney Festival, before transferring in 2006 to successful seasons for the Adelaide, Perth and Auckland Arts Festivals. Myth, Propaganda and Disaster has garnered more awards than any play in Australian theatrical history including the 2004 Green Room Award, both the New South Wales and Victoria Premier’s Literary Awards 2004 and the 2004 AWGIE for stage play. Internationally Myth received its London premiere at the Orange Tree Theatre in 2004 to rave reviews, has had a sell-out production in Germany in 2005 and a production for Scandinavia in 2005-6.
Stephen’s play It Just Stopped a comedy set at the end of the world and directed by Neil Armfield, premiered to sell out houses at Company B Belvoir in Sydney and Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne in 2006.In 2007 Stephen’s play The Gates of Egypt was another box office success for Company B Belvoir. Stephen has a number of feature film projects in development including a cinema version of It Just Stopped. Stephen was appointed Head of Writing for Performance at NIDA in January 2013.
Francesca is a director, writer, specialist dramaturg and teacher with a specific and unique approach to the development of new work.
She is a consultant to theatre companies and individual artists around the country, has worked at many Playwrights Conferences, been a mentor for ATYP, Artistic Director of PLAYWORKS, Keynote Speaker at JUTE Regional Theatremakers Conference, resident teacher for the NIDA Playwrights Studio for over 8 years and a judge for the Max Afford, The Patrick White and the NSW Premiers Literary Awards.
She has worked in many areas of the profession and is known as someone who can work across different genres and mediums and with different performance languages.
As an independent artist, one of Francesca's most loved projects has been the highly successful development of Vivienne Walshe’s savagely beautiful play This is Where We Live (Winner of the 2012 Griffin Award) which she then produced and directed for Griffin Independent under the banner of her newly formed company Just Visiting.
And in the spirit of supporting projects which further the practice of playwriting, Francesca was recently awarded a grant from the Rodney Seaborn Foundation to establish a website as a resource for playwrights, directors, dramaturgs and theatre companies and a platform to explore and disseminate her dramaturgical philosophy and practice.
Suzie Miller is a multi award-winning playwright whose recent work includeCaress/Ache which was developed at the National Theatre in London, premiered at the Griffin Theatre 2015; JUNE, written for ATYP with Legs on the Wall; Medea La Boite Theatre 2015; DUST Black Swan Theatre Company, Perth 2014, a new play with LIVE theatre in the UK, Two Geordie Boys 2016; Roaring Silence with Leah Purcell; Velvet Evening Séance developed with National Theatre of Scotland and in production 2016. Onefivezeroseven premiered at 2014 Perth International Festival and Driving Into Walls was staged at PIAF and then at the Sydney Opera House in 2013. The Sacrifice Zone Toronto’s Theatre Gargantua in 2012 and 2013 with tour to follow. The ‘Google Project’ with Google and Griffin theatre 2014. In the Heart of Darby Park 2013 Oran Mor New Writing Theatre in Glasgow Scotland and the Perth Theatre in Scotland.Overexposed WA Performing Lines in 2014.
Miller has been in residence at the following theatres: twice at the National Theatre of England, National Theatre of Scotland, Griffin Theatre Sydney, Ransom Theatre Ireland, Theatre Gargantua Toronto, and with Robert Lepage and Ex Machina in Quebec City. Some of the awards Miller has won are: 2013 AWGIE, 2008 National Kit Denton Fellowship for writing with courage; 2008 New York Fringe Festival ‘Overall Excellence Award for Outstanding. Miller holds degrees in science, law and theatre, and is a graduate of the NIDA Playwrights’ Studio.
Rani Pramesti is a Chinese-Indonesian theatre maker and inter-cultural producer based in Melbourne. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Rani P Collaborations, which provides performance platforms for women, to inspire conversations, self-reflection and social change. The mission of Rani P Collaborations is to give audiences and communities transformative experiences through intimate and insightful stories, by and with culturally diverse women.
In 2014, Rani led the creation of a performance-installation, Chinese Whispers, which won the Melbourne Fringe Award for Best Live Art and Kultour’s Innovation in Culturally Diverse Practice Award. Chinese Whispers also received the VCAMCM & Arts Victoria Graduate Mentorship $25,000 scholarship. In 2015, Rani is working as an Associate Producer at Footscray Community Arts Centre and is also leading the creation of a new performance-installation, Sedih // Sunno, for the 2016 Next Wave Festival. Inspired by four women artists’ family stories, hailing from Indonesia, Australia, Japan and Fiji, Sedih // Sunno is being co-created with Ria Soemardjo, Shivanjani Lal and Kei Murakami with the support of Next Wave’s Kickstart program, the Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria and the Besen Family Foundation.