PAGE TO STAGE 2023
Meet our 2023 Playwrights and Dramaturges
Melbourne Writers’ Theatre is excited to support the following Playwrights & Dramaturge teams in 2023:
BARBARA YAZBECK & Enya Daly
LEO TAYLOR & Michael Olsen
NATALIE FRIJIA & Cathy Hunt
BOB TYERS & Brooke Fairley
PETER FARRAR & Elizabeth Walley
These creative teams will meet regularly from May – November, developing the playwrights’ scripts through collaboration, redrafting and workshopping with actors. Our 2023 independent selector was Keziah Warner. You can read Keziah’s selection summary, and an overview of the program, at Page to Stage 2023.
The program will culminate in the public script reading event The Stage Door Readings, to be presented at Theatreworks on Saturday 18th & Sunday19th November. *To see the script Running Order for this weekend event, click here.
We can’t wait to share these brand new plays with you in November!
Script ‘Immodest Acts’
DRAMATURGE Enya Daly
In the summer of 2011, I was reading an account of the trial and persecution of Sr. Benedetta Carlini, a Renaissance nun accused of indecent acts. At the time, I was abroad at my mother’s family estate in a little village in Greece. There, I discovered a series of paintings completed by a vaguely remembered ‘spinster’ aunt from my mother’s maternal line, who died tragically by “falling down a well”. That is all that anyone remembers of her. This script attempts to bring these two stories together. This play would be appreciated by audiences who like historical dramas that explore gender-related issues, including same-sex attraction.
Barbara joined MWT during the lockdown and has been a regular participant at workshops and readings. She was a participant in the In One Act program 2021. The resulting script, ‘Therapy’ was performed by Quiet Roar as part of their Softly, Softly season in February 2023. Her short monologue ‘Juana Regina’ will be performed as part of the Yarra Monologues to be held at the Richmond Theatrette in September. Barbara recently joined the MWT Committee as Events Assistant ,bringing experience in education, the arts and community sector. Barbara works in higher education where she teaches academic writing.
Script ‘Immodest Acts’
WRITER Barbara Yazbeck
Enya Daly is a dramaturg and actor based in Naarm. She is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts (Master of Theatre- Dramaturgy) and National Institute of Dramatic Art (Bachelor of Fine Arts – Acting). Enya is a member of Theatre Works’ She Writes Collective dramaturgy cohort. Other recent dramaturgy credits include SLUTNIK™ (Melbourne Fringe & Theatre Works) and Antipodes Winter Lab. Enya recently appeared in the premiere season of House of Sand’s new contemporary performance work, That Was Friday, at Belconnen Arts Centre. Other acting credits include Realish (MTC Cybec Electric. Dir. Jess Arthur), the title roles in The Gruffalo’s Child and Spot – Live on Stage (CDP. Dir. Liesel Badorrek), The Moors (Siren Theatre. Dir. Kate Gaul) and Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again (House of Sand. Dir. Charley Sanders).
Script ‘Ken and Brenda Make a Baby’
DRAMATURGE Michael Olsen
The play evolved from workshops I was running for young actors. Saving the planet was a major concern, and the idea of physically disadvantaged heroes quickly became embedded, leading to the concept of cloning and immortality, which led to the immortals and the idea of a benevolent dictatorship and finally, revolution. Baddies were needed so an inept CIA agent was invented. Finally the idea of making the whole thing a film script wrapped up the workshops. I enjoy the ideas and would welcome constructive feedback. 18-25 plus is the targeted demographic. Hopefully it will generate debate.
Leo Taylor has been a professional actor since 1969, both in Australia and in the UK. As an actor Leo has appeared in over 40 plays, 15 films, 40 TV shows, voiced hundreds of commercials, and the occasional Video game. “Ken And Brenda Make A Baby” was his first play, written over 23 years as he learned about the craft. Leo has recently had a reading of two of his new works at La Mama: “Hans Loves Tom But There’s A Problem”, and “Peter And The Priest”. His latest piece, “What’s A Friend For?” recently won best script at the WOMPA Playwriting Festival. Leo currently has another short play in workshop mode …
Script ‘Ken and Brenda Make a Baby’
WRITER Leo Taylor
Michael Olsen wrote, produced and directed his first play, Cannibals of the Heart, in 1993. His work has been performed across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Europe and the US. Two Women & A Chair has been performed at the Edinburgh and Prague Fringe Festivals. Such plays as The Last Dance of the Plum Sisters, Cleanskin, Double Tap, Dig, Footsteps in the River and The Butterflies are Sleeping have all won awards on the Victorian one-act festival circuit. His work is published by Maverick Musicals and Plays. Michael’s latest play, The Jasmine Suite, was further developed through MWT’s Page to Stage 2023 program and was presented at Club Voltaire in Jun – July 2023.
Script ‘The Great Kelleys’
DRAMATURGE Cathy Hunt
‘The Great Kelleys’ is a story of grief, hope, and family, told through a darkly comic farce, for mature audiences. When Pat Kelley dies, his wife sends him to bed with a hot bowl of soup and a firm belief that he will rise again. The kids are less certain. Their neighbours are nosey. Their friends know no boundaries. It’s only a matter of time before someone outside these four walls learns too much. Two weeks later, these are the Kelleys, waiting. One praying, one plotting, one killing time. And one rotting in the upstairs bedroom.
Natalie Frijia is a Melbourne-based writer, arts manager, and circus creator. She has a PhD in Drama and Environmental Studies from University of Toronto. Her plays have been produced in Canada, the US, UK, Iceland, and now Australia. She has been a writer-in-residence at The Freezer (Rif, Iceland), and Lademoen Kunstnerverksteder (Trondheim, Norway). As an arts manager in the Australian circus industry, Natalie works for Highwire Entertainment, and the National Institute of Circus Arts. Outside of the arts, Natalie is an avid cyclist who once spent a summer biking across Canada.
Script ‘The Great Kelleys’
WRITER Natalie Frijia
Cathy Hunt is a director and dramaturg who trained at the VCA. Recent work: Ms Beige Brown Goes Beyond, QVWC, Melbourne International Comedy Festival; Little Brother, Big Sister and She Wrote the Letter, both La Mama; Phantasmagoria, Theatre Works; A Flower for Moses, Gasworks; What Every Girl Should Know, Brunswick Mechanics; Love/Chamberlain by Bridget Mackey, 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 by Keziah Warner, a new Hedda Gabler at Prahran Council Chambers; and Steppe by Grace Pundyk at Newport Rail Yards. Les Mamelles de Tiresias, which Cathy directed, won a Green Room Award for ‘Contribution to the Development of Opera in Victoria’. Cathy was dramaturg for LuNa by Keziah Warner, which won the Patrick White Playwright’s Award. A work co-created with Shannon Loughnane (I’m Going to Die in This Bracket), performed in their backyard, was nominated for Best Theatre, Melbourne Fringe.
Script ‘All Fall Down’
DRAMATURGE Brooke Fairley
‘Life on the Edge’ is about climate change and what is going to happen to our planet, what that will mean to its inhabitants, and how we seem to be unwilling or unable to do anything about it. I would like the play to be read with a view to performance, and then to be performed, so that I can find out what works dramatically and what does not, and how the audience experience can be enhanced. Above all, although the intent is serious, I want this play to be entertaining.
Bob was introduced to theatre when he was an engineering student at RMIT. Since then he has participated on a fairly regular basis in productions by amateur, university, and semi-professional groups in various roles, including acting, directing, lighting, sound, set construction, etc.. Three of his previous plays have received public rehearsed readings by amateur actors.
Script ‘Life on the Edge’
WRITER Bob Tyers
Brooke Fairley is a writer, dramaturg and teaching artist. She holds a Master of Theatre Dramaturgy from Victorian College of Arts, an Advanced Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing from RMIT and a Bachelor of Theatre from JCU. Brooke has been a member of the She Writes Collective with Theatre Works since its inception in 2020, initially as a dramaturg and currently as a playwright. She has participated in national and international theatre festivals as an actor, writer, producer and script assessor, and was co-founder and co-director of an independent theatre company named Pretty Penny Productions. Brooke currently works as a teaching artist for NIDA Open Melbourne leading courses in the principles of writing for stage.
Script ‘Who I’m Doing This For’
DRAMATURGE Elizabeth Walley
Just before the pandemic I was in Paris. I witnessed the passionate and at times violent activism expressed by people there. I compared how Australians react to unpopular government decisions and how we can seem complacent towards laws and change, including those that restrict our rights and freedoms. I decided to write a play that explored when one person was no longer able to contain their anger towards government and chooses an extreme approach for how they respond. I believe the play would appeal to a broad audience.
Peter Farrar is new to theatre writing after abandoning his corporate career since deciding writing fiction offered more job satisfaction (although less income) than corporate life. Peter’s short fiction has been published in a number of Australian journals including several prize winning entries. During July 2023 he will have a short play performed at the Board Shorts festival at the 1812 Theatre in Ferntree Gully. When not writing Peter can be found in the kitchen conducting an autopsy on his latest attempt at mustard sauce. Two greyhounds provide his writing muse.
Script ‘Who I’m Doing This For’
WRITER Peter Farrar
Elizabeth Walley 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 in 2021, 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: Tales From the Jetty (2022), 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: Where There’s a Will (‘Karen’, 2023), 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.