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Calling all playwrights!

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Fancy your ability to conjure a dramatic story or theatrical idea?

Canberra Youth Theatre has announced two initiatives that will support and inspire young emerging playwrights—the Emerging Playwrights Commission and the Young Playwright Program.

The commission is for an emerging playwright or writing team to create a new full-length work that brings young voices and stories to the stage.

The commission offers a successful emerging playwright or writing team $16,200 to develop a full-length script suitable to be performed by actors aged anywhere between seven and 25.

Canberra Youth Theatre’s goal is to nurture an emerging playwright’s professional growth by investing in their artistic development at the early stages of their career.

The commissioned playwright will receive dramaturgical support and a creative development workshop on their script in Canberra with the Artistic Director and Resident Artists.

The successful writer will also have the opportunity to collaborate with other young artists across Canberra Youth Theatre’s Emerging Artists Program, and participate in activities and conversations that contribute to their artistic vision.

Canberra Youth Theatre’s Artistic Director and CEO, Luke Rogers, said “We are committed to investing in the creation and development of new works for young people. The intention of this commission has two main purposes: to commission a new Australian play written especially for young people, but also to nurture and invest in the professional development of an emerging playwright.”

Canberra Youth Theatre Artistic Director and CEO Luke Rogers

These writers could be someone under 35 who is in the early stages of their career and created some work in the independent sector, but not yet professionally produced by a major theatre company.

“This commission is open to young emerging playwrights from around the country who have something urgent to say about how they see the world, and are wanting to create works that are challenging, intelligent, theatrically adventurous. We’re looking for stories and ideas that are authentic to the experiences of young people, and to develop a work that will challenge audiences expectations about what theatre created by young people is capable of.”

Meanwhile, the Young Playwrights Program is for 16 to 25-year-olds looking to develop their skills in writing for performance, working with professional playwright, Mary Rachel Brown.

Young writers will be guided through a series of workshops, discussions and practical exercises to create imaginative worlds, build narratives, develop characters, strengthen their writing and unlock new creative possibilities.

This program offers young emerging playwrights an exciting opportunity to be part of a collaborative network, learn new skills, discover their creative voice, and create new works for performance.

Playwright, Mary Rachel Brown.

When asked about her expectations for the program, Mary said “I am looking forward to the Young Playwrights Program. Moving feelings, visions, and desires from the mind to the page is a dynamic experience. Moving from the expanse of a new idea to the essence of what you want to say is a process that requires rigour and a leap of faith.”

The program will provide young playwrights with several frameworks to help build ideas into stories and stories into a theatrical form. Mary said she loved working with younger writers.

“In most cases, I find they have an innate economy and point of view that is not tied to rusted-on rules. New voices making new work is an opportunity to investigate new forms and structures. It is a privilege as an older writer to witness this and be a part of ushering it in.”

Applications for the Emerging Playwrights Commission are open now and close Monday 19 April. To view the guidelines, visit canberrayouththeatre.com.au/commissions

Enrolments for the Young Playwright Program are also now open. For more information and to sign up, visit canberrayouththeatre.com.au/ypp

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