From the Desk – April 2021

Let’s throw caution to the Wings


The Best, The Fairest, The First was not only MWT’s first production for 2021 – it was in a group of bold, risk-taking and quite special productions that in future may well be remembered as the first shows to emerge in the wake of the pandemic. But MWT also presented a full Season 2020The Metropolis Monologues followed by The City Park Plays – a week before Christmas, when our future, and our present, were less certain than they are now. The recent arts media has been heavy with coverage of the re-opening of theatres and the plays heralding this, but it took a brave company to open a show – well, two – before 2020 had finished. So years from now, when you look back with sad fondness at the re-awakening of theatre in Melbourne in ’21, don’t forget to remember MWT’s contribution to this re-awakening.

Looking forward, there is a lot to look forward to. When you mount two theatrical seasons during a period of great uncertainty – unsure of how you will rehearse, how many patrons will attend your show, and whether your show will go on at all in the event of an Outbreak – it goes without saying that you develop resilience, as all human beings did in the second decade of this century. But you also become more adept at mounting a show, running a program, starting projects that will lead to bigger projects. The hiccups that once slowed you down are resolved fairly quickly. Obstacles are addressed, overcome. What once seemed impossible was in fact always, you now see, possible. You just weren’t looking at it the right way before. Back then, you didn’t have the calmness or clarity that you have now, and you didn’t realise that theatrically surviving a pandemic in the way that you did would leave you feeling more energised than ever, and ready to not just leap back into the process of theatre-making but to throw whatever caution you have left to the Wings.

For MWT, the year ahead is purposeful and goal-driven but it is also adventurous, carefree. Our annual program for emerging playwrights, In One Act, will run at the same time as our intensive development program for full-length plays, Page to Stage. Our monthly workshops will be offered in a room but also on Zoom; they feature script readings and writing craft workshops, but at our next one on 4th May we will explore the intricate beauty of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun – just because we want to, but really because we entered 2021 with a spring in our step. We have a little energy to burn.

We look forward to doing this with You.

Clare Mendes
Producer, The Best, The Fairest, The First
Company Manager
Melbourne Writers’ Theatre