Last year, the NSW Premier made a terrible mistake. Terrible. The decision was made not to award a literary award for playwriting. Terrible. And yet… wonderful.

Around my neck hangs a necklace weighted by a small silver spiral – a gift from my designer and dear friend in Canada who gave it to me from her travels in the States. It’s a Hopi Indian emblem signifying destruction and creation as the one act. And this speaks largely to how I think and what I believe – something that Newton also knew (his third law, I think) – that “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” And in the theatre and the arts this is very true. We often sit on a knife edge like Hamlet – teetering between action and inaction… between love and hate… we all sit in the balance waiting to see which way the coin lands. Every act of destruction to the arts, has the potential to create a wonderful creation. I firmly believe that.

And this is one such example.

A decision not to award the Playwriting Award could have easily sent the message that playwrights are not deserving of an award.

But, there was one thing that wasn’t considered – the emerging colleagiate force of playwrighting collectives in contemporary Australia.

Not content to be silenced, ignored, or put in the too-hard basket, the playwrights mobilized. lead by a collective (known to me at that time as “The Emerging Writer’s Studio” and later “Every Second Monday” and now known as “ISM”) booked the Raval at The Macquarie Hotel near central, and started publicising through Joanna Erkine’s Cluster blog – attracting playwrights, critics, artistic directors, publishers, literary managers and new play supporters
from across Australia and the world – outraged that playwriting could be ignored or non-awarded. And my write up can be read here: https://classic.augustasupple.com/2010/05/please-dont-piss-offon-the-playwrights-premier/
The result of that $30,000 prize was then given to playwriting Australia for their Kicking Down the Doors program… to air some unhidden playwrights in a showcase of slivers of new works at Carriageworks…

But the other result of the Premier’s Literary Award cultural malfunction has been much deeper and more significant than that –

It has mobilised and focused a group of passionate playwrights.

So much so that this passion and focus continues this year with the support of Griffin Theatre Company who has provided time and space to writers to come together to be a part of the Festival of New Writing. And more info about that can be found here: http://www.griffintheatre.com.au/whats-on/between-the-lines/festival-of-new-writing/

And as an avid and passionate supporter, director, producer, creator (and advocate) of new plays – there is no where else I would rather be next week than celebrating with playwrights at the Griffin.

Perhaps I’ll see you there…


A year on from , we congratulate this years winner Patricia Cornelius for her beautiful play ‘Do Not Go Gentle’ as well as other shortlisted playwrights Jonathan Gavin, Jane Montgomery Griffiths, Melissa Reeves, Sue Smith and Anthony Weigh.

This year, Griffin Theatre has invited us to use their space to conduct a fabulous follow-up event, now as part of their Festival of New Writing (6-12 June).
So, in this spirit of community, and in celebration of all playwrights and those who love them, you and your guests are invited into the Stables to celebrate (and interrogate) the year that was in writing. This year we’re pleased to have a keynote speech from three of the playwrights’ collective 7-ON, Hilary Bell, Verity Laughton and Vanessa Bates. They will present a fun and sometimes fierce year in review: The Seven Deadly Sins of Playwriting in 2010.

June 6th from 7pm @ Griffin Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross. Attendance is free, but RSVP essential to australianplaywrights@gmail.com.

Featuring more playwrights than you can poke a stick at, this could become one of the annual “not to miss” playwrights’ events in Sydney! Good things happen when we get together. Please feel free to post, blog and pass on the invitation.

See you there.
(Kit Brookman, Tahli Corin, Rebecca Clarke, Joanna Erskine and Rick Viede)