Page to Stage 2024

Page to Stage 2024 logo


PAGE TO STAGE is an intensive six-month dramaturgical program offered every year by Melbourne Writers’ Theatre. Submissions open on 1st March and close on 30th April. Four MWT playwrights are supported through this program. Between June and November, these playwrights meet regularly with their partnering dramaturges to develop their scripts through a process of collaboration and redrafting. The scripts then receive workshopping in The October Workshops and final polishing at The November Rehearsals prior to public presentation in The Stage Door Readings. These Readings, which were held at Theatre Works in 2023, are the theatrical outcome for the program.

In 2024 PAGE TO STAGE will again be administered with the generous support of the Seaborn, Broughton & Walford Foundation through a grant from the Rodney Seaborn Playwriting Support Fund.

This program is now underway, with our participating playwrights working with their dramaturgs to refine and redraft their new plays. We look forward to sharing these with audiences in November!">Image by katemangostar</a> on Freepik
to everyone who submitted an EOI for Page to Stage 2024.
We are pleased to announce that the following playwrights
have been selected for participation in this year’s program.


HANNAH FLANNERY    ‘Katabasis’
SHARYN HENDERSON    ‘Querencia Calling’
LOUISE MENTOR   ‘The Protea Plantation’

*To find out more about these playwrights, visit our Playwrights & Dramaturgs page.



Compressed Naomi Sumner Melbourne Writers Theatre2024 SCRIPT SELECTOR:   N A O M I   S U M N E R   C H A N

Naomi Sumner Chan is a Manchester based writer, dramaturg and facilitator fuelled by salt and vinegar crisps and mugs of tea. In 2021 she was Virtual Writer in Residence with Melbourne Writers Theatre as part of UNESCO Cities of Literature. Her work has been performed at theatres across the United Kingdom including York Theatre Royal, Birmingham Hippodrome, Arcola Theatre and Theatre 503.  Her play DOLLARS AND SENSE was shortlisted for The Women’s Playwriting Prize 2021. Recent projects include working with Tamasha and Coney to create smartphone audio adventure Ten Thousand Heartbeats: A Local’s Guide to Liverpool Chinatown and leading the Young Company Writers’ group at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre. She is currently a guest writer for Channel 4’s Hollyoaks. Naomi also works as a freelance script reader for theatre and TV. Previously she has read for The National Theatre, BBC Writersroom, The Royal Court, Traverse, Liverpool Everyman, Papatango and Theatre 503.





Katabasis by Hannah Flannery
Querencia Calling by Sharyn Henderson
Vagabond by Louise Hopewell
The Protea Plantation by Louise Mentor

The Hatchet by Cassandra Magrath

Transfusion by Stephen Najera


Reading this year’s submissions I was genuinely surprised at the range of genres and themes the writers had chosen to explore. There was sci-fi, horror, period pieces, crime drama, coming of age stories and feminist political pieces. Each script was distinctly different from the rest, not only in terms of subject matter but also in terms of form and storytelling style.  It felt like each writer was writing WHAT they wanted HOW they wanted which is brilliant! And while many of the plays had an Aussie flavour, most if not all contained universal themes or questions relevant to those living elsewhere.

Reflecting on the scripts overal,l I’d encourage writers to consider what’s unique about theatre and ask themselves WHY they’ve chosen to tell this story live on stage. Many of this year’s submissions felt more or equally suited to TV or film. Suzanne Bell, Dramaturg at the Royal Exchange Theatre and winner of the Kenneth Tynan Prize for Dramaturgy, has a mantra, “Theatre isn’t Real” – it’s a magical space relying on symbolism, metaphor and suspension of disbelief from an audience who are literally in the same space as the actors. Lean into this world of imagination. The selected plays and those rated Highly Commended and Commended were the ones I found to have strong theatrical elements.

You probably already know the maxim SHOW DON’T TELL. During the writing process it’s easy to forget that theatre isn’t just about words but pictures  – theatre is where the word becomes flesh. (Can you tell I have an MA in Theology?) Give your characters things to do other than just talk, and keep the images on stage constantly moving. In each scene decide: what does each character want and how do they use what they say AND do they get it? Before submitting your script to theatres or competitions, find some people to read it out loud so you can hear how it sounds –  this will be an illuminating/ excruciating exercise that helps you identify clunky dialogue as well as discovering rhythm & pace.

With all opportunities like this there are “winners” and “losers” and naturally some will be disappointed with the outcome. However, ALL the writers who submitted to this year’s Page to Stage program should be congratulated and recognised with due respect – it is a brave thing to write a play and send it out into the world. You have done something most people NEVER will, so don’t stop now. Keep writing plays, keep reading plays and keep watching plays and who knows what will happen?                                                                                                             – Naomi Sumner Chan, May 2023




STAGE 1: Selection        April
Submitted scripts are sent to our 2024 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 2nd draft to Dramaturge     July
Using feedback received at the Meeting, the playwright completes and submits a 2nd draft of their script

STAGE 5: Feedback from Dramaturge     July
The dramaturge provides feedback on the 2nd draft.

STAGE 6: Playwright submits 3rd draft to Dramaturge    August
The playwright completes and submits a 3rd 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
1st – 4th October 2022    6pm – 9pm each night

STAGE 9: The November Rehearsals    November
A rehearsal of the final scripts, in preparation for The Stage Door Readings
11th – 14th November 2022    6pm – 9pm each night

STAGE 10: Playwright submits 4th draft (Final draft) to Dramaturge    November
Based on feedback received from the Workshops and Rehearsals, the playwright completes a Final’draft.

The scripts are presented to audiences in rehearsed readings on dates to be confirmed.


Below: Images from The Stage Door Readings 2023, presented at Theatre Works on 18th – 19th November. For details of the 2023 program, click here.


PAGE TO STAGE 2024 will be administered with a grant from the Rodney Seaborn Playwriting Support Fund.
We gratefully acknowledge the ongoing support of The Seaborn, Broughton & Walford Foundation for this program.