From the Desk – April 2023


Watch, listen and learn from the writing of others

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A lot can be learned by watching and listening to the writing of others, and an immeasurable amount of pleasure derived. At MWT we have two such spectator opportunities coming up in May – we encourage you to invest in both. The first of these is The Critical Marriage, which starts with a Preview on 3rd May at Gasworks and showcases the divine Janet Watson Kruse (pictured), and the second is The Yarra Monologues, a showcase of brand new monologues on 2nd May at the Richmond Theatrette. A polished theatrical season versus an evening of live script readings – to upskill, choose both. Listen to the writers’ words, word by word. Bounce them off your own, comparing them with what has come, has gone, or is currently sitting on your desktop. When the dust settles, talk to the writers. Ask them why they wrote what they did and as they did, and think about the things you loved about their script. During the season of the The Critical Marriage, come to the special Playwright Q&A on Wednesday 10th May and talk to Mark Andrew on stage and afterwards. Before you leave The Yarra Monologues, ask the actors about their experience of reading these new scripts. Talk to the director. Look around at the audience – if they have been moved by a line of dialogue, why? What made those three words sing?

Watching the writing of others doesn’t have to be an educative experience, but if are watching and listening carefully it always will be. The benefit of using a Melbourne Writers’ Theatre event as your lamplit evening classroom is that you are always going to be watching new work. Some of it will be created by established playwrights, but a lot of it will be new, raw, untested. So there will be correlations with your own new writing, script elements that resonate, and others that touch a nerve, These are your MWT writing peers, and they’ll be doing some things like you do but other things better – be ready to be taught something by a writer who is putting forward their first script. Importantly, be ready to take your cue from this writer. Watching and listening to the work of others can also be a validating experience, and this is the second reason why we need to do it. The third is to support the new work, with a ticket, a drink, a seat in the front row, and the future success of that writer in the process.

We have two creative development programs starting in the second half of 2023 – Page to Stage and Gasworks Script Lab – but May is shaping up as the month for Learning by Attending.  We hope that you will indeed take yourself along to The Critical Marriage and The Yarra Monologues – here are the ticket links respectively:

The Critical Marriage – details and tickets

The Yarra Monologues – details and tickets

And note that you need to secure your Yarra Monologues ticket before 28th April. Tickets for The Critical Marriage will be on sale until 13th May, the day of the last show, but will perhaps sell out before then.

Happy writing!


Clare Mendes
Company Manager
Melbourne Writers’ Theatre