From the Desk – November 2020

Results are in, and Writers will win.

While they didn’t incite outrage, denial or civil unrest, the results of MWT’s own recent poll What Do Members Want? were nevertheless of great interest to us, and will influence our 2021 program. Quite a few of the anonymous responses were what we had expected, but there were more than a few surprises. We will view the former as assurance that we are doing a number of things right, and study those surprises to see how they might lead to more services, and ultimately more wins for our Writers.

It was no surprise that a lot of MWT playwrights were able to attend our monthly workshops this year by virtue of Zoom. But it was a surprise that so many of you would like the option of doing future workshops via Zoom. For some respondents, this is for geographical or practical reasons – the distance required to travel to the city from home, difficulties with public transport, and driving and parking at night – while some members just enjoy the convenience of Zoom. Still others commented that they were able to feel the same connectivity to others within a Zoom workshop as they would in a bricks-and-mortar event.

Plenty of respondents said they would prefer to attend workshops in a physical space, but there was a clear interest in MWT offering a mix of online and physical workshops. It’s unclear whether this is because participants feel they can receive the same workshop benefits – feedback on scripts, other support to improve as playwrights, the camaraderie of their creative peers – in a Zoom as they would if sitting together in a physical space, or if this preference is again based on factors relating to time management and convenience. Covid-related safety concerns were not cited by any respondents as an issue, which doesn’t mean they won’t exist as issues for us in 2021, and it’s possible that, given that most of us have now become used to conducting a range of activities online, we are more amenable to this mode of meeting now than we would have been 12 months ago, hence our preparedness to tick ‘online’ as an option.

Interestingly, some respondents expressed an interest in workshops and other MWT events being held at a range of different times. Monday night workshops have generally served MWT well in the bricks-and-mortar past, but the feedback received in this Survey will encourage us to consider a range of days and timeslots when we map out our 2021 Calendar, which will also contain several new creative events that we hope you will all enjoy and benefit from.

Until then, thank you to everyone who completed our What Do Members Want? survey – and if you didn’t complete it before but would like to do so now, we’d appreciate your feedback. Here is the survey link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T6G2M2Y

 

Happy writing!

 

Clare Mendes
Company Manager
Melbourne Writers’ Theatre