What do we offer Playwrights?
Whether you are a new, emerging or established playwright, MWT will support you, your work and your writing goals.
Our first workshop for 2022, Writing at Length, was facilitated by Naomi Sumner Chan, MWT’s UNESCO Playwright-in-Residence in 2021. You can read about our July and August events here. Our Page to Stage dramaturgical program, which in 2022 will again support four MWT playwrights and their brand new plays, is now in full swing and you can meet our playwright and dramaturg teams here. We have script soirees, script readings and a Melbourne Fringe show coming up, and opportunities for our community of playwrights and artists beyond these.
We’d love to take you on our creative journey, so read on to see what we can offer YOU in 2022.
Our monthly Workshops are held on TUESDAYS, either via Zoom or at Kensington Town Hall. Workshop details are updated on our EVENTS page. Mark the following dates in your diary:
Writing at Length – a Masterclass
Facilitator: Naomi Sumner Chan
This first workshop for 2021 was preceded at 6.30pm by the Annual General Meeting.
A Bunch of Scripts #1 – members’ plays are read and workshopped
The Monologue – when, where and Why?
*Kensington Town Hall
The 2022 Monologue Soiree
The MWT Theatre Quiz
A trivia event to mark MWT’s 40th year!
The Winter Read
An in-depth discussion of a selected play
The Craft of the Short Play
The 2022 Short Play Soiree
*Kensington Town Hall
A Bunch of Scripts #2
November 12 – 13
The Stage Door Readings – Page to Stage 2022
Show photos captured by assorted photographers, including John A. Edwards, Anna Moloney-Heath and Cosima Gilbert.
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Q & A with Alison Campbell Rate
Your latest play ‘Knife Edge’ is currently receiving further development through the Page to Stage dramaturgical program. What inspired you to write this play? What do you want audiences to know?
Knife Edge explores what can lie under the surface of our relationships and what may be required if we are to get down there and work things out. I wanted to try out a different structure from the linear narrative I’ve used previously. In Knife Edge the focus shifts between two sets of characters, building separate stories that should ultimately meet and complement each other. The challenge became finding the right points to bring the characters and stories together in ways that didn’t compromise the individual story arcs and wasn’t too obvious, and which also revealed the shared, or meta narrative. The semi fractured style created by shifting focus from one couple to another is intended to reflect the difficulty we all face in getting to the heart of our own story, let alone the story of another.
Thinking back to your earlier produced plays The Peppercorn Tree (2010) and Counting Sparrows (2017), how has your writing style evolved over the years? Can you pinpoint any specific factors or experiences that have shaped your development?
I’ve been fortunate to have 4 plays produced but still feel as though I’m a beginner when I’m at the start of a new piece because it takes a long time to find what I call my ‘through line’. As already mentioned, for this play I deliberately tested myself by moving away from the linear structure which was a comfortable way to work when I first started writing plays.
I’m not prolific. I usually begin with an image or metaphor in mind. The writing process is then a long drawn out search for characters who can uncover that image or metaphor and grow because of it – not always willingly. Writing short stories has helped me with the ‘show don’t tell’ essentials and I’ve also done a lot of acting and feel comfortable slipping into the actor’s mind when writing for the stage. I’m often inspired by conversations I have with people or by what I observe, in myself and in others. I’ve also worked around counsellors for 3 decades and their insights into human behaviour have been invaluable.
You are also a short story writer and biographer. Does playwriting bring you any special feeling or ‘reward’ that you don’t receive from these other forms?
The immediacy of live performance is like no other. Witnessing an audience reacting to a story you have crafted is the ultimate reward, like being present at the birth of a child. It’s also the best test of your script because it reveals what is working and what needs tweaking.
Alison Campbell Rate (photo supplied by playwright). Counting Sparrows, Malvern Theatre Company, 2017 – Genevieve Ryan as ‘Fran’ (photo by Lorraine Bell).
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Melbourne Writers’ Theatre
Melbourne Writers’ Theatre respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land, the Bunurong Boon Wurrung
and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation, and pays respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.
Melbourne Writers’ Theatre is a registered charity.
MWT would like to acknowledge the recent generous donation by Simon and Heather McKeon to our ACF fundraising campaign.