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. The first three scenes may be read here.

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 will produce How to Save a Tree, both presented at Gasworks Arts Park.

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, a Playworks Script Award 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 is the Stage Manager for The Critical Marriage, presented at Gasworks Arts Park from 3rd – 13th May. 20223. 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. 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

Giving & Relationships

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 latest theatrical creation Cabaret Night Fever will be presented at The Butterfly Club from 19th – 24th June 2023.




Elizabeth Walley Headshot 1 1

Elizabeth Walley

Resident Director

Elizabeth is a Naarm-based actor, writer, director and dramaturge, and the Resident Director of Melbourne Writers’ Theatre. She holds a PhD (Playwriting) from RMIT University, a Master of Arts (Creative Writing) and studied Advanced Acting Technique with Uta Hagen at the HB Studios in New York City.

Elizabeth’s most recent original work The Trauma Project premiered at fortyfivedownstairs earlier this year, supported by La Mama Explorations (2017). Her earlier plays include: Louder Than Words (Chapel off Chapel and La Mama Courthouse) and Commodities (London Fringe and the New End Theatre, London). Directing credits include: The Best, The Fairest, The First (Gasworks Arts Park), Metropolis Monologues (MC Showroom), Beachside Stories (Gasworks Arts Park), Madwomen Monologues (Butterfly Club), Stark Dark Albert Park (Gasworks Arts Park), The Melbourne Monologues (2015-2018), Trash Goes Down The River (Bluestone Church Arts Space) and The World Without Birds (La Mama Courthouse). In May 2022 she directed the MWT season Tales from the Jetty, presented in association with Gasworks Arts Park, and in October 2022 she directed the Fringe season of Hostage, written by Cerise de Gelder, at Gasworks. Recent acting credits include: Where There’s a Will (2023), The Trauma Project (‘E’ – 2021), Saudade (‘Louise’ – 2021), D-Baby (‘Tess Taranto’, 2019), appearances in Neighbours, Offspring and numerous TVC’s.

Elizabeth is co-founder of Double Garage Productions and her current creative work explores autoethnographic methodologies, patriarchal violence and a theatre of lived experience.

Nicole Wong headshot

Nicole Wong


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 – Origins and Mission

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 calendar now features skills-based workshops and events for MWT members, a number of innovative on-line and on-site theatrical productions that showcase the new writing of MWT playwrights and, new in 2023, The Yarra Monologues, a script reading series presented by MWT in partnership with the City of Yarra. In 2023 our Page to Stage program, now in its third year and generously supported again by a grant from the Rodney Seaborn Foundation, will again provide sustained, intensive dramaturgical support for four new full-length plays by MWT playwrights.

In 2022 Melbourne Writers’ Theatre became a registered charity. A significant provider of paid employment for Victorian playwrights, actors and creatives, we move into 2023 with a new address at Our Community House. We are excited by the opportunities this may open up for the further development of our services to Victorian playwrights, and also the artists we engage for our programs and theatrical seasons. As we enter our 41st year, 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.

Melbourne Writers’ Theatre is a registered charity.
Jack Hibberd - Melbourne Writers' Theatre

Jack Hibberd

Our Goal

Our goal is to be a provider of resources, information and skills development for Victorian playwrights. We seek to support and promote theatre networks, the craft of playwriting and the diverse writing culture that exists right across Victoria and in its capital city, Melbourne – a UNESCO City of Literature! Our members range from experienced playwrights to those just starting out. We became a membership organisation in order to survive, and we still view hands-on script development and workshopping activities as integral to the development of new plays. The members of the MWT Committee are all experienced playwrights who bring a wealth of industry experience and career accolades to their roles, As we are a writers’ organisation, Full Membership is open only to playwrights and aspiring playwrights. Our Associate members include playwrights who are yet to attain production credits, actors, directors, and patrons of the arts.