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So when life gives you lemons, you’ve got a choice.
You can either sit there staring at the lemons wondering what it means to be given a lemon, or wishing it was different: a cumquat perhaps… perhaps a bicycle or a love letter…


You can start making lemonade.


Because people are thirsty.
Lemons are delicious.

So often we are swamped in a cycle of development. Concerned people furrowing their brow and questioning new writing… people who aren’t the writer.

What if we put the writer in the drivers seat and said: you want it? Bring it.
What if all writers were given the guarantee of a production within a month to write on whatever they choose in a non competitive way.
What if we asked the theatre community to sit up, join in and get at it: the work.

Yes its about work.

Hard work.

It’s hard work and rarely are all the talented artists afforded a spontaneous and hot task of bringing their passion, their skills, their ideas to the table.

Where is our risk in theatre making? Must everything be so risk adverse, careful and full of permission? Where is the daring? Where is putting money where our mouths are?

Let’s get on this.

So we call out to the writers, the directors and actors of Sydney to fill a void – to give people a reason to walk out of their house and to share in an experience of the unexpected, the new the daring… because this is what artists do. It is what artists must do…It’s amazing what can happen in three weeks.

And three weeks ago Jeremy Waters and I approached Australia’s playwriting community to come together to create a three week festival featuring 16 playwrights, 9 directors, 3 composers and 19 actors…


It’s been a busy time.
(No I haven’t been keeping up with my blog responses as promised. Sorry.)

The Mayday Playwrights Festival was named a month ago, was programmed three weeks ago and Just over 2 weeks prior to this one I started rehearsal for a show I’m closing tonight.

Why haven’t I blogged about it?
Well not because I’m not in love with this project: just due to time really… I had to knock together a website:

I also had to do a bunch of rehearsal:
35 hours of rehearsal with 6 actors over 2.5 weeks

And tech:
5 hours in total

And some logistical producing of the festival:
Pairing up actors, directors, writers.
Arranging rehearsal space and schedules.
Spending time with 2 different composers as they develop the pieces
Writing Program notes as producer and director:

PRODUCERS NOTE – Augusta Supple
“Although I’ve known Jeremy for some time (we as energetic youngsters at Sydney University, we had leap-frogged working on productions whilst in SUDS) – it was for over a decade before our paths crossed again. It was 2010, I was heading a residency program for Queen Street Studio (developed new full-length Australian plays) Jeremy had leapt into working on Melita Rowston’s play Crushed. Jeremy, fresh back from living in New York, was keen to get amongst Sydney’s theatre scene again… and I had been hard at work creating opportunities for local writers to see their work developed and produced.

Last year I approached Jeremy to join a team of actors workshopping a suite of work with the 7 On Playwrights at NIDA called Platonic: a multi-playwright project based around differing notions of friendship. It was a beautiful experience pulling together writers and actors from across my career and working with them.

This year when Jeremy told me of the “empty space” which had opened up, I didn’t hesitate to jump on board. There was (and still is) no good reason, in my mind, why an artist when given a space, doesn’t rise to the challenge of filling it. And, artists should fill it with ideas and moments and fragments that they are inspired by – or stories they need to tell – by performers who genuinely want to express a beautiful, confronting or reassuring reminder of the fragile robustness of the human condition.

Perhaps it was the challenge of “filling the void” that excited me. And within an impossibly short period of time we started to formulate a beautiful idea: the notion of creating an epic festival in a small space, harnessing the brave and brightest talent we could find – right here and right now.

We approached the 7 On playwrights, some of our favourite playwrights and threw open the doors to some unknown and emerging writers to see what would happen – we called Mayday! And the call was answered. Yes, indeed it was answered!

Mayday Playwrights Festival is result of the mobilisation of over fifty artists – all with unique perspectives and backgrounds to work together to create a festival which showcases Australian writing in all its complexity, multiplicity and beauty.

Over the course of three weeks, Mayday Playwrights Festival has become more than just a desire to fill a space, it’s become a platform for artistic introduction, a framework for creative exchange, a means of developing works and developing writers, and an active demonstration of the creative swell of people supporting Australian playwrights and playwriting as it is, here and now.”

And doing some media:
ABC Radio 702:

with Melita Rowston & Ava Karuso
(yeah, It was early on a Sunday – and for SOME reason I was up for a fight?!?!)

And The Daily Telegraph:
(Which used a photo from 2010 and made me sound overly antagonistic of Jeremy… I actually love that guy!)
Photo on 11-05-13 at 3

WEEK 1 : No Nudity, Weapons or Naked Flames by 7 On Playwrights.
Read About them here:

DIRECTORS NOTE – Augusta Supple
No Nudity, Weapons or Naked Flames
“This suite of monologues by 7 On Playwrights – taken from their recently published collection of works published by Federation Press – charges through familiar and unchartered territories: the wondrous duality inherent in new Australian playwriting.

Like a posy of wildflowers or blooms snatched from the gardens of neighbours, this bouquet of ideas presents six unique perspectives: all of them equal, while all being different centred around intimacy in its many incantations.
Within the suite, historical portraits sit alongside violent and emotional confessions, a wild twist on a nature documentary, a terribly pointed high school health and development class, and a re-invented fairy tale to create a cross section of stories highlighting ideas around intimacy – paralysis within, resilience from, fatal attractions, delusions formed during acts of intimacy.

Nothing could highlight that more than the solo performer regarding the audience – as lover or student or friend. The strength of this space is in its proximity to the performers: it is an “intimate space.” So it is neither by accident nor neglect, (nor budget constraints) that there is no set to clutter the space (or context of each piece) nor distract the eye.

The simple connection between people in one space at one time – that connection which starts when we are children and told bedtime stories and which continues through our adult lives with the stories we tell our selves and each other about who we are, where we are from and where we are headed.

For me, the focus is on the story and the storyteller. This suite of intimate stories is by its nature intimate: starting with a beautiful invitation for a writer to place words in the mouths and bodies of actors – and in turn – actors placing sounds and sights in the ears and eyes of the audience. This subtle, delightful, welcome invasion is intimacy in its purest form.”

The World’s Tiniest Monkey by Vanessa Bates,
performed by Megan Drury

Ella by Verity Laughton,
performed by Alice Ansara

A Cleansing Force by Donna Abela,
performed by Suz Mawer

iSpiderman by Noelle Janaczewska,
performed by Stephen Wilkinson

Delia’s Clothes by Hilary Bell,
performed by Kate Skinner

Sex-Ed by Ned Manning,
performed by Jennifer White


Director: Augusta Supple
Composer: Mark Baartse
Lighting Designer: Kim Straatemeier
Stage Manager: Courtney McDonald

Mayday Playwrights Festival
Wednesday, May 8- Saturday, May 25
Festival Directors: Augusta Supple & Jeremy Waters
Lighting:Larry Kelly & Kim Straatemeier
Stage Manager: Courtney McDonald
Publicist: Emma Jones
Graphic Designer: Gavin Woodhouse