PAGE TO STAGE 2022
Meet our 2022 Playwrights and Dramaturges
Melbourne Writers’ Theatre was excited to support the following Playwrights & Dramaturge teams in 2022:
MAG O’BRIEN & Cathy Hunt
ALISON CAMPBELL RATE & Brooke Fairley
RICHARD MEALEY & Callum Dale
LOUISE HOPEWELL & Elizabeth Walley
These creative teams met regularly from May – November, developing the playwrights’ scripts through collaboration, redrafting and workshopping with actors. The program culminated in the public script reading event The Stage Door Readings, presented at Theatre Works on 12th & 13th November. Our 2022 independent selector was Keziah Warner. You can read Keziah’s selection summary at Page to Stage 2022. Also visit that page if you’d like to see the Timeline for the 2022 program. The 2023 program will be modelled on this, with applications opening in March. Details will be posted on this website.
PAGE TO STAGE 2022 was supported through the generous assistance of the
Rodney Seaborn Playwriting Support Fund.
Script ‘Fucking Michigan’
DRAMATURGE Cathy Hunt
While amidst an anticipated move overseas, Nat’s father, a retired performance artist, receives a dire diagnosis prompting Nat and their partner to temporarily relocate to the conservative northern border of the US. Set against the height of the 2020 presidential election and escalating COVID crisis, “Fucking Michigan” explores one family’s evolving relationships as they navigate cancer, queer identities, the climate crisis, addiction, extremism, and the unrelenting Michigan winter.
Mag O’Brien (they/them) centers their work on the minutia of intimacies, grief, mental health, and the expansive nature of queer love. Their prose, poetry, and tiny zines explore how we create and sustain systems of care while combating the isolating effects of late-stage capitalism. Since 2011, they have served the global climate justice movement as a campaigner and strategist dedicated to forging structural change through storytelling. Mag is a nonbinary, queer femme New Yorker with a BA in Sociology from Dickinson College currently living on unceded, stolen land in Naarm/Melbourne.
To watch Mag and Cathy in conversation about this play at The Stage Door Readings. please open this link in your browser: https://vimeo.com/770655423
Script ‘Fucking Michigan’
WRITER Mag O’Brien
Cathy Hunt is a director and dramaturge who trained at the VCA. Recent work includes: Phantasmagoria, Theatre Works, A Flower for Moses, Gasworks, (I’m Going to Die in This Bracket), nominated for Best Theatre, Melbourne Fringe. What Every Girl Should Know at 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, Prahran Council Chambers, Tiny Remarkable Bramble, KXT and Steppe by Grace Pundyk, a site specific work, Newport Rail Yards. Cathy was dramaturge on LuNa by Keziah Warner, which won the Patrick White Playwright’s Award in 2020. Les Mamelles de Tiresias, which Cathy directed, won a Green Room Award for ‘Contribution to the Development of Opera in Victoria’. Upcoming works include She Wrote the Letter at La Mama HQ and Little Brother, Big Sister at La Mama Courthouse, both drawn from lived experience.
Script ‘Mid-west Scouse’
DRAMATURGE Callum Dale
‘Mid-west Scouse’ is a coming-of-age story about a young boy dealing with school, bullying, divorce, and all the other joys we inherit from our families. It explores how lost we can feel as a child, and how that feeling doesn’t necessarily dissipate as we get older.
Richard Mealey is an actor, writer, and comedian originally from Chicago, Illinois. Since moving to Melbourne in 2013, he has been involved in numerous community and independent productions, primarily as an actor. Selected for the 2021 In One Act program with MWT, Richard developed the short play Jenny 9000, which he is producing for the 2022 Melbourne Fringe Festival. A graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, he holds a BFA in theatre, and is heavily involved with the Improv Conspiracy in Melbourne.
To watch Richard and Callum in conversation about this play at The Stage Door Readings, please open this link in your browser: https://vimeo.com/775581558
Script ‘Mid-west Scouse’
WRITER Richard Mealey
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.
ALISON CAMPBELL RATE
Script ‘Knife Edge’
DRAMATURGE Brooke Fairley
Every day comes down to moments. Moments of decision, or change. Moments that fall between ‘before’ and ‘after’. Moments where you’re balanced on the edge of who you are and who you might be. Do you reach for it or don’t you? ‘Knife Edge’ explores pivotal moments in life, in relationships, and in self-discovery as the characters dissect, carve up and attempt to cut through to a deeper understanding of themselves and each other.
As an actress and writer, Alison is interested in what makes people tick and pursues this across the genres of playscript, short story and biography. Playscripts include The Peppercorn Tree, 2 Act drama (pub. APT) produced by Ellis Productions, 2010, starring Alan Hopgood and Kevin Harrington; Counting Sparrows, 2 Act drama (pub. APT); Hats Off!, 2 Act comedy; It’s All in the Timing, 1 Act comedy. Her short stories have appeared in literary journals Island and Wet Ink, The Age Short Story Competition, 2007 (3rd) and the My Brother Jack Literary Awards, 2008 (3rd). She ghost-wrote the biography of Australian singer Diana Trask, Melbourne Publishing, 2010, shortlisted for the 2012 Recorded Music Memoir Award for Excellence, USA.
To watch Alison and her team in conversation about this play at The Stage Door Readings, please open this link in your browser: http://vimeo.com/770655423
Script ‘Knife Edge’
WRITER Alison Campbell Rate
Brooke Fairley is a writer and dramaturge. 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 an 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. Brooke was a dramaturge for the Page to Stage 2021 creative development program, and is looking forward to her involvement with this year’s program. In 2020 Brooke became involved with the Theatre Works She Writes Collective as a dramaturge. This year she remains in the program as a writer.
Script ‘Only Human’
DRAMATURGE Elizabeth Walley
Ruth’s aged care facility is nothing like the glossy brochures promised. Her daughter, Jody, tries her best to help her mum settle in, despite facing her own personal and professional struggles. When new management takes over, Ruth is assigned a charming personal care robot to cater for her every need. Jody has to admit that Ruth’s day-to-day care has improved dramatically, but at what cost?
Louise Hopewell’s playwriting journey began with MWT’s In One Act program in 2018. Since then, her short plays have been performed as part of Six Degrees at a Hot Melbourne Market (The Future of Organics), ARKfest (Westgate Rising and Snakebite), Bendigo TENx10 (Family Business), Madwomen Monologues (The Unicorn Prophecy and River God), Metropolis Monologues (The Ministry of Cicadas) and Theatia Podsie (Silver Tongue). Louise also writes poetry, and her haiku, senryu and haibun have been widely published. Her awards include first place in both the inaugural John Bird Dreaming Award for Haiku, 2021 and the H. Gene Murtha Memorial Senryu Contest, 2020. When not writing, Louise can be found playing ukulele, singing loudly (but badly!) or riding her bicycle.
To watch Louise in conversation with Clare Mendes about this play at The Stage Door Readings, please open this link in your browser: http://vimeo.com/770952424
Script ‘Only Human’
WRITER Louise Hopewell
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’, 2022), 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.