Meet our 2021 Playwrights and Dramaturgs

In 2021, Melbourne Writers’ Theatre was pleased to support the following Playwrights & Dramaturg partnerships in PAGE TO STAGE 2021. From 15th – 18th November, we shared the four full-length plays that were developed through this program with audiences in the The Salon Readings. These were presented online nightly and featured a Q&A with the Playwright and Dramaturg. For more information about this program, visit Page to Stage 2021.

To learn about each writer and their play, watch these 15-minute Q&A sessions:
MICHAEL OLSEN talks about The Jasmine Suite
INNA TSYRLIN talks about Tatiana, Dragon and Friend
MJ WILSON talks about Agenda Conversation
BRUCE SHEARER talks about Blackspot Hotspot

If you are interested in READING/COMMISSIONING any of these scripts, or would like to get in touch with individual playwrights, please contact




Script    ‘Tatiana, Dragon, and Friend’
DRAMATURG    Cathy Hunt

“TATIANA, DRAGON, and FRIEND, is my attempt to understand cult-like mentality when it comes to authoritarian rule. Our times are seeing an attack on truth and decency, and I wanted to explore what it would take to challenge power and fear. The play is structured like a fairytale, as often those stories show us what is imperative for our survival.”

* Watch this 15-min Q&A with playwright Inna Tsyrlin and dramaturg Cathy Hunt.

Inna Tsyrlin’s work responds to ideas of political freedom through the lens of historical and current events, society’s responsibility to the natural environment, and identity in a diaspora. She received a Graduate Fellowship (Ohio University) for STITCHED WITH A SICKLE AND A HAMMER, and the play was the 2019 Renaissance Theaterworks New Play Festival finalist (Milwaukee, WI) and 2020 Alliance/Kendeda Playwriting Competition finalist (Atlanta, GA). Her work has been presented in New York City at The Rising Sun Performance Company, Emerging Artists Theater, HB Playwrights Theatre, and Manhattan Repertory Theater. She holds an MFA from Ohio University and is currently living in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia. More about Inna:



‘Tatiana, Dragon, and Friend’ by Inna Tsyrlin

Cathy Hunt is a dramaturg and a director, who trained at the VCA.  She completed a Dramaturgy mentorship with Playwriting Australia through MTC. Work includes: Little Brother, Big Sister: La Mama, (I’m Going to Die in This Bracket), nominated Best Theatre, Melbourne Fringe. What Every Girl Should Know: Brunswick Mechanics, Love/Chamberlain: Theatre Works, All the Locks are Solid & Tight (adapted / directed) La Mama Explorations, The Superqueer Murderess Show (adapted / co-created), Arts House: Melbourne Fringe, Her Father’s Daughter: Prahran Council Chambers, Tiny Remarkable Bramble: KXT and Steppe: Newport Rail Yards. Cathy was dramaturg on LuNa by Keziah Warner, which won the Patrick White Playwright’s Award. She was Assistant Director on Lorelei, Victorian Opera and Associate Artist on Dybbuks, Chamber Made. Les Mamelles de Tiresias, which she directed, won a Green Room Award for ‘Contribution to the Development of Opera in Victoria’. Upcoming work includes She Wrote The Letter, St Martins’, drawn from lived experience.




Script    ‘The Jasmine Suite’
DRAMATURG    Brooke Fairley

“The DNA of The Jasmine Suite started dividing and reassembling itself when I wanted to see if I could write a play similar to Pinter’s Betrayal (not showing off much LOL).  If you know the play you’ll know the particular structure Pinter used, so you can probably guess at the particular challenge I set myself.  Would it work?  Could two characters in one setting keep an audience both enthralled and guessing right up to the end — even if they think they knew what “the end” was? Like all works of art involving assassins I had to put some part of myself into it, and for that advice (along with a great deal else, as well) I will be eternally grateful to Brooke Fairley.  If we’re not there in our writing, where else can we be?  What view of the world can we communicate?  I hope that you enjoy the intrigue of The Jasmine Suite, even if you only need to watch it once to appreciate Mr Pinter’s inspiration.”

*Watch this 15-min Q&A with playwright Michael Olsen.

Recently Michael discovered that 30 years had got behind him and he’d spent nearly all of it in community theatre, writing, directing and performing.  His one-act plays have been performed across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Europe, Africa and the US.  Two Women & A Chair has been performed at the Edinburgh and Prague Fringe Festivals.  The Last Dance of the Plum Sisters, Cleanskin, Double Tap, Dig, Footsteps in the River, The Butterflies are Sleeping and many others have won awards on the Victorian one-act festival circuit.  Over the last two years MWT has produced his monologues Comet’s Tale and The Forgotten Return, as well as his short plays Arriving Today and Sapling.



‘The Jasmine Suite’ by Michael Olsen

Brooke Fairley is a writer and dramaturg. For MWT, her scripts have been produced in ‘Daring Dog Monologues’ (Fringe 2019 at Gasworks) and ‘Beachside Stories’ (June 2019, Gasworks). Brooke has been involved in theatre since she was a kid. After graduating with a Bachelor of Theatre, she worked professionally as an actor in stage and on screen. She has participated in many festivals as an actor, writer, producer and script assessor. She was also the co-founder and co-director of a much loved and somewhat experimental independent theatre company named Pretty Penny Productions. Further study undertaken by Brooke in recent years includes Writing and Editing at RMIT and Master of Dramaturgy at VCA.



Script    ‘Blackspot Hotspot’
DRAMATURG    Callum Dale

Blackspot Hotspot is a black comedy about two homeless and unemployed women who take a traffic blackspot on the corner below their derelict squat and turn it into a money making enterprise as they throw caution to the wind and skate closer and closer to disaster. The play just came out of no-where, part nightmare and part premonition.”

*Watch this 15-minute Q&A with playwright Bruce Shearer and dramaturg Callum Dale.

Bruce’s plays, prose and poetry has been performed and published in Australia and overseas. His works for the stage include Esla and Frinz Go Partying, The Absolutely Awesome Giant and Everything and The Big Bang. His scripts have been performed in the MWT productions St Kilda Stories (2017), Stark Dark Albert Park (2018), Six Degrees in Melbourne (2018), The Melbourne Monologues (2018.), Beachside Stories (2019), Daring Dog Monologues (2019) and Six Degrees at a Hot Melbourne Market (2019) and The City Park Plays (2020).





‘Hotspot Blackspot’ by Bruce Shearer

Callum Dale is a Melbourne based theatre maker with a passion for new writing, Australian stories, and the development of young artists. Callum has Bachelor of Arts in Theatre & History and a Master of Dramaturgy. As the Production Manager at St Michael’s Grammar School, Callum manages seven major productions annually while also assisting with student learning and development. Callum has been an Ensemble Member and Associate Artist with Nuworks Theatre for over 10 years and has toured the United Kingdom (2014) and attended the 2018 and 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festivals as a performer, musician, and technician. A genuine ‘jack of all (theatre) trades’, Callum enjoys learning new skills and assisting the growth and development of other artists, makers and creators.





Script    ‘Agenda Conversation’
DRAMATURG    Elizabeth Walley

“I was inspired by the off-Broadway play Afterglow, by S. Asher Gelman and Declan Green’s Homosexuals and or Fagots. I was interested in examining how queer relationships are depicted on stage and striving for authenticity in dialogue. At the time, I was a member of a writer-in-residence program at Union Theatre. ‘Agenda Conversation’ started as a few pages of dialogue from a verbatim writing exercise.”

*Watch this 15-min Q&A with playwright M J Wilson and dramaturg Elizabeth Walley.

MJ Wilson’s background in the performing arts was established as a professional actor in the 1980’s. Wilson’s performance background informs his writing practice.  More recently, MJ has crafted performance works and emerging practice as an independent producer. This includes the performance works Homage to Bricolage, SBSQ directed by Maude Davey, performed at the Butterfly Club, Testing Grounds and toured to Adelaide Fringe at the Bakehouse Theatre. His other works include Y Kan’t I be Tori as part of Mudfest at Union Theatre and Which E, What Tag produced through Footscray Community Arts Centre. Wilson is a proud queer writer and performance artist, a cancer survivor and a recent graduate of the Master of Arts and Cultural Management from the University of Melbourne.



‘Agenda Conversation’ by MJ Wilson

Elizabeth is a Naarm-based actor, writer, director and dramaturge, and the Resident Director of Melbourne Writers’ Theatre. She holds a PhD (Playwriting) from RMIT University, a Master of Arts (Creative Writing) and studied Advanced Acting Technique with Uta Hagen at the HB Studios in New York City. Elizabeth’s most recent original work The Trauma Project premiered at fortyfivedownstairs earlier this year, supported by La Mama Explorations (2017). Her earlier plays include: Louder Than Words (Chapel off Chapel and La Mama Courthouse) and Commodities (London Fringe and the New End Theatre, London). Directing credits include: The Best, The Fairest, The First (Gasworks Arts Park), Metropolis Monologues (MC Showroom), Beachside Stories (Gasworks Arts Park), Madwomen Monologues (Butterfly Club), Stark Dark Albert Park (Gasworks Arts Park), The Melbourne Monologues (2015-2018), Trash Goes Down The River (Bluestone Church Arts Space) and The World Without Birds (La Mama Courthouse). Recent acting credits include: The Trauma Project (‘E’ – 2021), Saudade (‘Louise’ -2021), D-Baby (‘Tess Taranto’, 2019), appearances in Neighbours, Offspring and numerous TVC’s. Elizabeth is cofounder of Double Garage Productions and her current creative work explores autoethnographic methodologies, patriarchal violence and a theatre of lived experience.