The inaugural ‘In-One-Act’ Program, a workshop series developed by Yarra Libraries in partnership with MWT, proved to be a success, with participants from a wide range of backgrounds and levels of experience enjoying the opportunity to develop their playwriting skills at the beautiful new Bargoonga Nganjin, Nth Fitzroy Library. Facilitated by MWT’s resident director Elizabeth Walley (pictured here with Mare Maticevski, Community Programs Librarian), In-One-Act consisted of two writing workshops followed by two Performance Readings.

       Actors: Alec Gilbert, Clare Larman, Rhys            James, Isabella Gilbert and Emma Cox

The first of these was presented at La Mama Courthouse on 10th July, with the second at Nth Fitzroy Library on 12th July. At each Reading, 5 – 6 scripts by workshop participants were read by MWT actors: Emma Cox, Sean Paisley-Collins, Alec Gilbert, Clare Larman, Isabella Gilbert and Rhys James. The writers were then invited onto the stage for a feedback session, in which the audience, the actors and the writers themselves discussed aspects of their works-in-development and explored directions for future drafts.

Elizabeth Walley commended the participants, some of whom were writing for theatre for the first time, for ‘their creativity, their breadth of ideas, and their willingness, within the workshop timeframe, to first start and finish a script – by no means an easy feat! – and then to offer up these scripts for critical reading by, and discussion amongst, their peers’. At each of the Performance Readings that followed, MWT company manager Clare Mendes observed that ‘the audience seemed really engaged with the texts … writers and audience alike appeared to enjoy the process of seeing these new works lifted off the page and brought to life theatrically’. Of the overall program, one participant writes:

‘As someone who has taken to writing for the theatre through the program really for the first time, it has been a satisfying and fruitful experience. I have been able to develop an idea and write a short play based on it; and have the play performed professionally. The program has allowed me to develop confidence through seeing my work performed and given me a better understanding of writing for theatre and performance. ‘

Melbourne Writers’ Theatre would like to thank Yarra Libraries for the opportunity to be involved in this year’s In-One-Act program.

Mare Maticevski with Elizabeth Walley