OUR SEASON 2020 PLAYWRIGHTS
Michael Olsen is the writer of ‘The Forgotten Return’ (The Metropolis Monologues) and ‘Sapling’ (The City Park Plays). When asked what inspired him to write each play:
SAPLING: When Mack and Andy told me their story, I couldn’t wait to share it with others. A garden without plants. A city short of water. I thought theirs was a tale from far away until I walked through Melbourne this year.
THE FORGOTTEN RETURN: What might love look like thousands of years in the future? Could the life of a lone young girl on a distant planet move you to think what matters in your own heart?
In 1993 Michael wrote, produced and directed Cannibals of the Heart. His work has 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, Footsteps in the River, Dig and The Butterflies are Sleeping have all won awards on the Victorian one-act festival circuit. Last year Comet’s Tale and Arriving Today were produced for MWT’s Season 2019 shows.
Lois Maskiell wrote ‘The Wave’ for The Metropolis Monologues.
Lois has a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and French studies, and a Master in Journalism from Monash University. Her passion for performance began in Montreal, where she trained in contemporary dance and physical theatre. Lois is also a passionate theatre reviewer and was the previous editor of the blog Theatre Press. She participated in this year’s In One Act playwriting development program, presented annually by Melbourne Writers’ Theatre and Yarra Libraries. ‘The Wave’ is Lois’ first script for an MWT show.
Louise Hopewell wrote ‘The Ministry of Cicadas’ for The Metropolis Monologues.
‘I wrote The Ministry of Cicadas because I wanted to highlight the issues of favouritism and institutionalised bullying in modern workplaces. While set in a future dystopia, I think many audience members will recognise the power structures facilitating and perpetuating abuse that lie at the core of my work.’
Louise Hopewell’s short stories and haiku have been widely published. After participating in the 2018 In One Act playwriting development program, Louise was thrilled to have her first short play, The future of organics, staged by MWT as part of Six Degrees at a Hot Melbourne Market (Gasworks, 2019). Since then, her plays have been performed at ARKfest (Westgate rising and Snakebite) and Bendigo TENX10 (Family business).
When not writing, Louise can be found playing ukulele or riding her bicycle.
Adele Shelley wrote ‘Just Go With The Flow’ for The Metropolis Monologues.
‘I wrote ‘Just Go with the Flow’ because I wanted to explore the common humanity to be found, even in combative situations. Often when we feel under attack and vulnerable, our perceived enemies feel exactly the same.’
Adèle is a passionate theatre-lover who has directed, acted and written for theatre over many years. Her plays have been produced for The Melbourne Fringe Festival (She’s My Baby), The Dog Theatre (Nothing to Lose), Madwomen Monologues (Fairytale Endings) and Melbourne Writers’ Theatre (Girls’ School Delights, Love is a Dish and The Singing Butcher). Adèle has won People’s Choice Awards at Short + Sweet Festivals for The Bee Charmer and Weeing on a Stick. She is delighted to have a script included in this show.
Alison Knight wrote ‘This Devil Ship’ for The Metropolis Monologues and ‘Elysium’ for The City Park Plays. When asked what inspired her to write these plays:
This Devil Ship
During the space race, the potential for tragedy was inherent in every launch. I wanted to explore the emotional costs of putting a man’s life at risk for the sake of national prestige.
In Elysium, I hope to challenge the audience to consider the ethical implications of advances in digital technology, particularly their capacity to exploit vulnerable people.
Alison’s work has been performed with Melbourne Writers’ Theatre, Peridot and Hartwell theatre companies, and in 1812 Board Shorts, Bendigo’s Tenx10 series, the Madwomen Monologues and Legends of the Skies. She won Best Playwright at the Monash OAP Festival 2019, while another play appeared in the UNESCO City of Literature Festival (Dunedin). Alison has also published two novels, Peter Stone and The Close, and has won a number of awards for her short stories. She is President of Peridot Theatre Company.
Gregory Vines wrote ’45K Magic Ringing’ for The Metropolis Monologues.
When asked what inspired him to write this script
‘Working with Leah, what struck me was the mature determination of this teenager. Paradoxically, it was her lack of life experiences that gave her doubt. Leah craved her own place. A safe place to close the front door and say to herself, this is mine, this is where I belong. Of course, Leah achieved this, and much more.’
Gregory writes scripts for stage, television and film. His credits include 53%, Counting, The Parliament of Ebrill Roberts, Looking for Jolene, Unclaimed and Georgia Beats. Gregory’s plays have been performed internationally as well as in Australia.
His scripts are character-led and reflect accessibility and growth – no barriers, and a
voice for those who live quieter, smaller lives but are no less meaningful or profound.
Belinda Campbell wrote ‘Another Day at the Office’ for The City Park Plays.
Belinda is a writer, actor, director, drama teacher and ukulele enthusiast. Trained at NASDA (National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art – NZ, 2008), she later co-founded Wit Incorporated theatre company (2014) and their children’s outreach drama program, Wit Kids (2016). Another Day at the Office is the seventh of Belinda’s plays to be performed in Melbourne. Her work has been a part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Melbourne Fringe Festival and the Midsumma Festival.
Mazz Ryan wrote ‘Under a Rock’ for The City Park Plays.
‘I want the audience to think about what they are doing with their life and what dreams we give up. Whether that be a compromise in a relationship, fear of taking a leap into the unknown, worry about money or security, a lack of confidence or anxiety around failure…But what is it that we really give up and how does that affect you as an individual, your desires and wants and the way you live your life. What is the real price paid?’
Mazz Ryan is an experienced playwright, performer and director. She endeavours to speak to a wide audience through her art and believes that Theatre can influence change, open minds, generate questions and initiate conversations. Her scripts have been performed widely, including in the MWT shows The Melbourne Monologues, Six Degrees in Melbourne, St Kilda Stories and Stark Dark Albert Park. In 2021 her play ‘This Way, That Way, My Way’ will feature in The Best, The Fairest, The First at Gasworks Arts Park.
Bruce Shearer wrote ‘Out of this World’ for The City Park Plays.
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).
RESIDENT DIRECTOR – Elizabeth Walley
Elizabeth is an actor, writer, director and dramaturge who works professionally in theatre, film, television and radio, and trained with Uta Hagen at the HB Studios in New York.
Living in London for almost a decade, Elizabeth’s first short play, Commodities was produced for the Covent Garden Fringe (London), and expanded for a second season at the New End Theatre (Hampstead). During this time she was engaged by Angus & Robertson to dramatise the book G’Day: Teach Yourself Australian for a UK book tour. She later optioned the book for television and produced a pilot for the BBC.
Other original works include Louder Than Words, which received a 3CR Best New Australian Play Award, and was produced at Chapel Off Chapel and La Mama Courthouse. Elizabeth’s most recent composition for theatre is The Trauma Project presented as part of La Mama Explorations 2017.
Directing credits include: Dark Stark Albert Park (Melbourne Fringe 2018), Madwomen Monologues (Butterfly Club, 2018), The Melbourne Monologues (2015 – 2018), St Kilda Stories (Fringe, 2017), Trash Goes Down The River by Clare Mendes (Bluestone Church Arts Space, 2017), Six Degrees in Melbourne (La Mama Courthouse, 2017), The World Without Birds by Christine Croyden (La Mama Courthouse, 2016) and The Agreement by Clare Mendes (La Mama Courthouse, 2015).
Elizabeth worked with Alec Gilbert to devise his cabaret show Smart Alec for the Butterfly Club and together they staged an outdoor production of Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure at the Northcote Amphitheatre. They wrote, directed and performed the touring cabaret homage to Noel Coward, An Evening With Noel, and in 2010 launched their production company Double Garage. Elizabeth has also written and directed a number of theatre works for the Double Garage drama studio ‘Confidence for Kids’. Her acting credits include regular appearances in theatre, television and commercials, most recently in Neighbours and Offspring.
Elizabeth’s role as Resident Director of MWT sees her providing ongoing dramaturgy and directorial support to the writers and performers involved in the creation of MWT’s annual seasons of new work. She also works with MWT’s writers in the development of their individual scripts, and in 2017/18 as facilitator for IN ONE ACT a creative partnership between Yarra Libraries and MWT. Elizabeth’s association with Melbourne Writers’ Theatre began in 2013, with the direction of a rehearsed reading of Sales Pitch by Clare Mendes. This went on to become the full-length play The Agreement, which she directed as the featured play in MWT’s 2015 season of new work, Page to Stage for which she also directed the inaugural season of The Melbourne Monologues.
Elizabeth holds an MA (Creative Writing) and a a B App Sc. (Speech Pathology) and is currently completing her PhD (Playwriting) at RMIT University.