PAGE TO STAGE is a six-month intensive dramaturgical program offered by Melbourne Writers’ Theatre. From May – November 2022, the following MWT playwrights participated in this program:
ALISON CAMPBELL RATE ‘Knife Edge’
LOUISE HOPEWELL ‘Only Human’
RICHARD MEALEY ‘Mid-West Scouse’
MAG O’BRIEN ‘F*cking Michigan’
These playwrights met regularly with their partnering dramaturges – Brooke Fairley, Elizabeth Walley, Callum Dale and Cathy Hunt respectively – to develop their scripts through a process of collaboration and redrafting. They then further developed their scripts at The October Workshops, working with the Directors and Actors named below.
The scripts have been listed in the order in which they were presented at the THE STAGE DOOR READINGS. This public script reading event, the culmination of the Page to Stage program, was presented at THEATRE WORKS on 12th and 13th November. This event was free for the public to attend, and we were delighted by the audiences received at each event – a mix of participating artists, regular theatre-goers and interested members of the local community.
Each script reading concluded with a short Playwright Q&A. These are available for viewing below.
Saturday 12th November
KNIFE EDGE 11am – 1pm
Playwright: Alison Campbell Rate
Dramaturge: Brooke Fairley
Director: Natasha Broadstock
Actors: Brigitte Jarvis, Ross Larkin, Charmaine Gorman, Niniane le Page, Leon Durr
Playwright Q&A: https://vimeo.com/770655423
ONLY HUMAN 2pm – 4pm
Playwright: Louise Hopewell
Dramaturge & Director: Elizabeth Walley
Actors: Charmaine Gorman, Judith Gorman, Ian Ferrington
Playwright Q&A: https://vimeo.com/770952424
Sunday 13th November
MID-WEST SCOUSE 11am – 1pm
Playwright: Richard Mealey
Dramaturge: Callum Dale
Director: Emma Drysdale
Actors: Zach Anderson, Lachlan Cassidy, Madeleine Magee Carr, Gregory Caine, Rebecca Morton, Phil Evans
Playwright Q&A: https://vimeo.com/775581558
F*CKING MICHIGAN 2pm – 4pm
Playwright: Mag O’Brien
Dramaturge & Director: Cathy Hunt
Actors: Laura Jane Turner, Dennis Coard, James Shaw, Henry Kelly
Playwright Q&A: https://vimeo.com/775586498
THANK YOU to Theatre Works for providing venue and marketing support for this program.
PAGE TO STAGE 2022 was generously assisted with a grant from
the Rodney Seaborn Playwriting Support Fund,
2022 SCRIPT SELECTOR: KEZIAH WARNER
Keziah is a playwright and dramaturg. She is an alumna of Melbourne Theatre Company’s Women in Theatre Program, Malthouse Theatre’s Besen Family Artist Program, Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre’s INK Program, Playwriting Australia’s Post-Production Program, and Soho Theatre’s Writer’s Lab, UK. She has won Sydney Theatre Company’s Patrick White Playwrights Award, been shortlisted for the Griffin Award, the Martin-Lysicrates Prize, the Rodney Seaborn Playwright’s Award and the Max Afford Award, and longlisted for Soho Theatre’s Young Writer’s Award. Credits include Poona (Next Wave, 2021), Control (Red Stitch, 2019), Help Yourself (MTC’s Cybec Electric, 2019), LuNa (VCA, 2019), and Her Father’s Daughter (Hotel Now, 2018). She is currently under commission at Malthouse Theatre with an adaptation of FW Murnau’s vampire classic Nosferatu and developing a new play as part of APT’s Duologue program. Photo: Matto Lucas
2022 SELECTION REPORT
Only Human by Louise Hopewell
Ian’s Visit by Richard Mealey
Knife Edge by Alison Campbell Rate
Fucking Michigan by Mag O’Brien
How to Come Out (But Not, Like, In a Gay Way or Anything) by Gabriel Fallen
Last Time by Lily Hensby
One Hot Brick by Johnny Bolger
I was impressed by the range of submissions. There’s a full gamut of themes here and often with a
strong political engagement making the work feel timely.
The four scripts I selected stood out for a few reasons: understanding of dramatic action and
theatricality, skill with dialogue and an inherent voice or something to say. There’s a nice
range here across female and queer experience, family and romance, naturalism and more stylised
work. And addressing important themes of aged care, Covid, grief, financial hardship, divorce,
artificial intelligence – but all with moments of levity too. I was so pleased to find a sci fi! That take
felt really fresh and exciting.
Each of the scripts had something to recommend it and the faults were by no means consistent.
Perhaps the biggest area to improve was in the works that tended towards being discursive rather
than dramatic, without a propelling through line. I also noticed in the playwrights’ notes that they
were often hoping to be able to tie everything up neatly and I don’t think plays ever need to do that
– if I had one general note it would probably be to feel confident in making the bolder, darker
choices and letting audiences make their own judgements – Keziah Warner, May 2022.
TIMELINE for the 2022 PROGRAM
STAGE 1: Selection April
Submitted scripts are sent to our 2022 independent selector for reading, feedback and selection of scripts.
STAGE 2: Reading of scripts by Dramaturges May
Each playwright is paired with a dramaturge, with whom they will work closely on the further development of their script.
STAGE 3: Meeting between Playwright and Dramaturge June
The playwright and dramaturge meet for a one-on-one discussion of the script.
STAGE 4: Playwright submits 1st revised draft to Dramaturge July
Using feedback received at the Meeting, the playwright completes and submits a 1st revised draft of their script
STAGE 5: Feedback from Dramaturge July
The dramaturge provides feedback on the 1st revised draft.
STAGE 6: Playwright submits 2nd revised draft to Dramaturge August
The playwright completes and submits a 2nd revised draft of their script.
STAGE 7: Directors receive Scripts September
The scripts are sent to Directors, who cast and prepare them for reading at The October Workshops
STAGE 8: The October Workshops October
Closed workshopping of the scripts over four nights – attended by playwrights, dramaturges, directors and actors
3rd – 6th October 2022 7pm – 9pm each night
STAGE 9: Playwright submits 3rd revised draft to Dramaturge October
The dramaturge provides post-workshop feedback – the playwright completes and submits a 3rd revised draft.
STAGE 10: THE STAGE DOOR READINGS November
The scripts are presented to audiences at Theatre Works on 12th – 13th November 2022.
*This public presentation, which is free for audiences to attend, will include a Q&A with the playwright and dramaturge.