About Melbourne Writers’ Theatre

Meet Our 2023 Committee

Clare Mendes

Company Manager

Clare’s novels include Drift Street, The Curtain RaiserA Race Across Burning Soil (HarperCollins) and The Unvoiced Consonant  (Little Owl Press). Her radio plays have been produced by ABC Radio National. The Agreement, her first full-length stage play, was performed at La Mama Courthouse in October 2015 and her play Trash Goes Down The River was performed at Bluestone Church Arts Space in June 2017. A Flower for Moses was presented at Gasworks in May 2021. In May 2023 her latest play ‘Skating in the Clouds’ was further developed with dramaturgy and workshopping through the generous support of the Malcolm Robertson Foundation, and will be presented at Theatre Works from 4th – 14th Dec 2024 as part of their Season 2024. Clare is currently writing a new play called Sin Hombres.

As a producer, Clare has produced MWT’s annual Season of New Work since 2015. with recent theatrical seasons including The Melbourne Monologues, Six Degrees in Melbourne and Stark. Dark. Albert Park (2018), Beachside Stories and Daring Dog Monologues (2019), the double-bill season The Metropolis Monologues & The City Park Plays (2020), The Best, The Fairest, The First (2021), Tales from the Jetty, and Hostage (2022). In May 2023 she produced
The Critical Marriage and in August 2023 she produced How to Save a Tree, both presented at Gasworks Arts Park. From 9th – 17th August 2024 she will produce JENNIE! Rebel. Radical. Revolutionary by B. W. Shearer, for Gasworks’ Arts Park’s Moving Parts season.

Clare began her career as an advertising copywriter before working as a storyliner and scriptwriter for the TV soap “Neighbours”. She was Executive Director of the Fellowship of Australian Writers for over a decade. Clare has an Honours degree in Literature, is studying a Master of Theatre and Performance and in April 2022 completed a peer mentorship with Theatre Network Australia’s ‘Creating Out Loud’ program. She is the recipient of an Angus & Robertson Fiction Prize, an Asialink Literature Fellowship, an Ian Reed mentorship, a Varuna residency and a Malcolm Robertson Foundation grant.

Barbara Yazbeck (1)

Barbara Yazbeck

Events Assistant

Barbara is new to writing for the stage but has always been passionate about theatre and performance, having acted, directed and produced plays in a variety of settings. As an undergraduate she was an active member of the Melbourne University Theatre Department and performed with St. Martin’s Youth Theatre and later with the Brunswick Women’s Theatre. She was the recipient of the Louise Humphreys Award for Best Performance in 1995. She is interested in depicting historical biographies on stage and is currently working on several monologues of famous women.

Barbara joined MWT during the lockdown and has been a regular participant at workshops and readings. She was the Stage Manager for The Critical Marriage, presented at Gasworks Arts Park from 3rd – 13th May. 2023. She was a participant in the In One Act program 2021. The resulting script, ‘Therapy’ was performed by Quiet Roar as part of their Softly, Softly season 2023. In 2023 her first full-length play ‘Immodest Acts’ received further development through MWT’s Page to Stage 2023 dramaturgical program.

Barbara works in higher education where she teaches academic writing. She is a co-author of the book chapter ‘Is plagiarism a learned sin? Textuality, meaning and the rules of the academic game’ and co-editor of the 2022 Springer publication, Connecting the Library to the Curriculum. Barbara brings experience in education, the arts and community sector to her MWT committee role as Events Assistant.

 

 

MJ Wilson (square)

MJ Wilson

Chair

MJ Wilson is a graduate of the University of Melbourne’s Master of Arts and Cultural Management degree. His background includes an established track record as a performing artist, with highlights including playing a lead role in the Australian cult classic film Welcome to Woop Woop (from the makers of Priscilla Queen of the Desert) and performing in the film Dead Letter Office. He toured  nationally with the Melbourne Theatre Company in David Hare’s Skylight and has performed at independent theatres such as La Mama and on television, for five years playing a semi-regular role on high -rating Blue Heelers.

MJ is an emerging independent producer. In 2016 his self-devised work Homage to Bricolage, a performance art piece, was presented at Testing Grounds for Melbourne Fringe. In 2019 his show SBSQ was staged at the Butterfly Club before touring to Adelaide Fringe, where it was directed by Maude Davey at The Bakehouse Theatre.

MJ joined MWT in early 2021. His first full-length play was selected to receive dramaturgy through the Page to Stage program. The play, ‘Agenda Conversation’, emerged from a writers-in-residency program at Union Theatre.

MJ brings to the MWT committee a diverse experience and qualification in the performing arts, is a proud member of the queer community and a cancer survivor. His show Cabaret Night Fever was presented at The Butterfly Club from 19th – 24th June 2023, and he is currently working on a new creative piece.

https://mjwilson.au/

 

 

Karyn Lee Greig B&W photo

Karyn Lee Greig

2024 Resident Director

Karyn Lee Greig began her artistic career as a dancer, with a full training in classical ballet, contemporary and other
dance styles. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and English at the Australian National University, Karyn graduated from NIDA with a Bachelor of Dramatic Art in Acting. She then worked as an actor and jazz singer for 8 years in theatre, film and television.

Working as a secondary school Head of Drama, Karyn has mounted a range of productions whilst teaching senior Drama, English and ESL. She has also worked as an assessor of Year 12 VCE Drama and Theatre Studies examinations. In the past decade, Karyn has written and directed diverse community and independent theatre productions, mounting shows at La Mama, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the University of Melbourne and elsewhere.

For Melbourne Writers’ Theatre, Karyn has directed the Amethyst Award-winning play The Critical Marriage by Mark Andrew at Gasworks Arts Park from 3rd – 13th May 2023. In 2023 she also directed the script reading of the new play ‘Immodest Acts’ by Barbara Yazbeck at The Stage Door Readings (Page to Stage 2023) at Theatre Works on 18th November 2023, In 2024, Karyn will direct JENNIE! by B. W. Shearer at Gasworks Arts Park from 9th – 17th August 2024.

Karyn is delighted to join Melbourne Writers’ Theatre as Resident Director.

Nicole Wong headshot

Nicole Wong

Treasurer

Nicole Wong is a Chartered Accountant with more than 5 years of professional experience in the finance industry. Arriving in Melbourne in 2015 with just a suitcase, Nicole’s initial vision was to gain exposure to the Australian culture and to graduate from Monash University with a Bachelor of Business. 7 years flew by and she has now worked with professionals across different industries including retail, tax and IT, and is loving the life down under!

Having started learning to play the piano from a young age, Nicole holds her Grade 8 Piano certificate with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) along with teaching experience back in her home country, Malaysia. She is excited to embark on this journey as the Treasurer of Melbourne Writers’ Theatre! Nicole will serve on the Finance Sub-Committee.

Bruce Shearer

Life Member

Bruce’s plays have been performed in Australia, Europe and the US. His monologues and short plays have been performed in a range of Melbourne Writers’ Theatre productions, including St Kilda Stories (2017), Stark Dark Albert Park (2018), The Melbourne Monologues (2018.), Beachside Stories (2019), Six Degrees at a Hot Melbourne Market (2019), Tales from the Jetty (2022) and How to Save a Tree.

The Treasurer of Melbourne Writers’ Theatre from 2006 – 2023, Bruce is a Life Member of the organisation.

 

Christine Croyden

Life Member

Christine Croyden is a Melbourne-based playwright, lyricist and novelist. www,christinecroyden.com Her produced plays are licensed and available through Australian Plays Transform.

Christine ran Melbourne Writers’ Theatre from 2008 – 2016 and is a Life Member of the organisation.

Melbourne Writers’ Theatre – a rich history

The Melbourne Writers’ Theatre was founded in October 1982 by a group of Melbourne playwrights who included Jack Hibberd, Jack Opie and Merle Thornton. Its vision was to develop Australian plays and playwrights, with the goal of maintaining an Australian repertoire. In 1987, through the auspices of the Victorian Government and under the management of the Department of Conservation and the Environment’s Historic Buildings Council, the MWT was allowed the use of the former Carlton Courthouse, a neo-gothic building adjacent to the site of the old Pram Factory in Drummond Street, Carlton. This building was converted into a small but versatile 80-seat theatre space. In 1995, La Mama took over the management of the Courthouse as a theatre. Over the years, MWT presented many acclaimed seasons of new theatre at La Mama Courthouse, and since 2018 we have broadened our audience by celebrating the new writing of MWT playwrights in theatrical seasons presented at Gasworks Arts Park.

In recent years, the growth of Melbourne Writers’ Theatre and demand for our comprehensive range of services has seen our calendar of monthly meetings and end-of-year theatrical season expand into an exciting, all-year-round program of theatre-making. Our annual offering now features skills-based workshops for MWT playwrights, on-line and on-site script reading events that showcase their new writing and, new in 2023, Gasworks Script Lab, a community playwriting program presented by MWT in partnership with Gasworks Arts Park and supported by Cybec Foundation. In 2023 our Page to Stage program, now in its third year and generously supported again by the Rodney Seaborn Foundation, has again provided sustained, intensive dramaturgical support for a collection of new full-length plays by MWT playwrights.

In 2022 Melbourne Writers’ Theatre became a registered charity and in 2023 the organisation was granted DGR status. A significant provider of paid employment for Victorian playwrights, actors and creatives, we are based at Our Community House. As we move into 2024, we remain proud of our rich contribution to the Australian theatre landscape. We welcome and embrace partnerships with allied organisations, theatre companies and patrons of the arts.

Jack Hibberd - Melbourne Writers' Theatre

Jack Hibberd

Our Goal

Since 1982, the primary objective of Melbourne Writers’ Theatre (MWT) has been to source, identify and spread awareness of cost-free, accessible, equitable opportunities for the development and presentation of new plays written by playwrights living in Victoria. We also create new opportunities – workshops, dramaturgical programs and theatrical seasons – that will benefit these playwrights. As a member-based organisation intentionally powered by volunteer labor, 100% of our members’ subscription fees are used to fund the implementation of these opportunities, which we then promote to MWT playwrights and diverse and under-represented Victorian playwrights, encouraging them to apply, submit, participate and achieve.

Our Mission

Melbourne Writers’ Theatre exists to foster new theatre writing in Victoria, to support new, emerging and established playwrights in the creation of new plays, and to provide free opportunities for the further development of their playwriting skills, interests and careers.