From the Desk – September 2019



If you missed Virginia Proud’s excellent talk on 2nd September, you missed a great deal. If we could offer Plays You Need to Read again, we would, and we will – we look forward to presenting a sequel to this illuminating workshop in 2020. Until then, in no particular order and of course with space permitted for any works that You feel deserve a place on a must-read list, here are Virginia’s recommendations:

Samuel Beckett – absurdist. Puts people in confined situations that reflect Universalism. Considered ‘the father of modern theatre’. Read Endgame, Waiting for Godot, Happy Days.

Edward Albee – anything. Specific to note: ‘Albee’s characters say one thing and mean another.’

Ibsen – because he gave birth to realism

Chekov – fundamental reading, because he examined the fundamentals of society

Tennessee Williams – anything

Yasmine Rozar – everything she says in her stage directions is critical to the play, essential for the action. Read Art and God of Carnage.

Ben Elton – Breathe

Joss Weedon – Firefly

Patricia Cornelius – anything

Harold Pinter – absurdist. Famous for pauses and silences. Sees scripts as music. Read The Homecoming, The Birthday Party, Betrayal.


Supplement your reading with these favourites:

Aphra Behn – The Rover

Lorraine Hansberry – A Raisin in the Sun

Tony Kushner – Angels in America

Caryl Churchill – Top Girls

Tom Stoppard – Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are Dead

Bertolt Brecht – Caucasian Chalk Circle

Sophocles – Oedipus Rex


Enhance your knowledge with:

Kristen Kelly – 100 Australian Plays In 100 Days

Dave Edgar – How Plays Work

Timothy Daly – 21st Century Playwriting


Settle down for the afternoon and read more plays at:

The Redmond Barry Reading Room (State Library of Victoria)


Many or most of the above plays are available online as PDFs.  Also remember to search for and watch the plays you love on film and on YouTube.

And don’t forget to follow your favourite plays, and brand new plays that may one day prove to be your favourites, off the page and into the theatre.


Happy Reading!


Clare Mendes
Company Manager
Melbourne Writers’ Theatre