Australian Plays Transform

2024 Erin Thomas Fund Recipients Announced!

APT is thrilled to announce the recipients of this year’s Erin Thomas Regional Playwrights Fund: Alexandra Edmondson, Sofia Abbey, and Gemma Betros.

These three emerging regional playwrights will be supported with a mentor over six months, and a $1000 travel bursary to further their career development.

Alexandra Edmondson
Alexandra Edmondson

Alexandra Edmondson is a playwright and filmmaker living and working on Larrakia country (Darwin). Her work primarily explores the intersection of Queer and Neurodivergent experience.

Alex studied at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School and began her career working for Baz Luhrmann’s production company Bazmark. Her film credits as writer/director include The Burnt Cork, which screened on SBS, and The Passenger, which screened on ABC. She produced the documentary Democracy Darling! which was broadcast internationally on Al Jazeera and is a story producer for SPUN: True Stories Told in the Territory, a live storytelling event and podcast. ‌

Alex recently began writing for theatre with the support of the Browns Mart Theatre Build Up Initiative. Her work currently in development, an immersive soundscape combined with live performance exploring Autistic female experience, will be performed as a live reading at Darwin Fringe Festival later this year.

Sofia Abbey
Sofia Abbey

Sofia Abbey is a professional playwright and key creative producer at Perseverance Street Theatre Company. Her recent professional works include Lizard, Grow Up and GRIT. Sofia’s talent in playwriting was recognized through the Queensland Theatre Young Playwrights Award at the age of 15. Since then Sofia has completed a Bachelor in Creative Writing and Honours in writing theatre for young people. Sofia has also been accepted into the Laboite emerging artists program, the Playlab Transmissions program and the Build Back Better dramaturg program with Jute theatre.

When not writing plays or directing or teaching drama in the Perseverance Street Academy, Sofia is working on her novel.

Gemma Betros
Gemma Betros

Gemma Betros is an historian, arts critic, and emerging playwright based in regional Queensland. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Queensland, has an M.Phil and PhD from the University of Cambridge, and has held academic posts in the UK, USA, and Australia.

Her arts criticism has appeared in publications ranging from Time Out (Paris) to the Sydney Review of Books. In 2022, she took part in Play Lab Theatre’s ‘Transmission’ program to work on her first play, which draws on her archival research in French history. Her writing seeks to uncover the hidden stories of the past in a way that privileges women’s voices and draws connections with the structures that define our world today.

Erin Thomas

Support the Erin Thomas Fund

Now in its 11th year, the Erin Thomas Playwright Fund honours the legacy of the late playwright Erin Thomas by supporting emerging regional playwrights to pursue their creative dreams.

Playwrights are supported with the opportunity develop their skills through mentorship with a seasoned dramaturg or development director as they work on a new play.

The Erin Thomas Playwright Fund is a tribute to Erin Thomas’ optimism, talent, and generosity, and is dedicated to helping the next generation of playwrights make their mark.

In 2025 and beyond we are hoping to expand the fund, offering greater and richer opportunities to connect regional writers with the wider Australian theatre community. Thanks to the Australian Cultural Fund, this year your support can help us do that and more: ACF are matching donations made to the Erin Thomas Fund this financial year, so you can double your impact! Read more at the ACF Erin Thomas Project page.


In 2024, APT received 19 applications to the Erin Thomas Regional Playwrights Fund program. As with all programs, applicants are given the option to self-report on certain demographics. These are not factored into assessment of applications, but help APT assess the reach of our programs.

For 2024 submissions, these demographics were as follows:

ERIN THOMAS 2024Number% of Total
Total Submissions19100%
Not identified00%
Other demographics  
CALD, PoC or non-Western421%
Australian First Nations00%
Experiencing disability211%


In 2024, The Erin Thomas Regional Playwrights Fund panel consisted of: Brendan Hogan, Mari Lourey, and Kathryn Ash.

We kindly ask that applicants do not contact the assessing panel to request feedback on their submissions.

Brendan Hogan is a multi-award-winning playwright and theatre-maker from Yackandandah, who is passionate about writing for young people and communities. He was the winner of the 2023 AWGIE for Best Theatre for Young Audiences for All The Shining Lights. He was the winner of the 2018 and 2019 Martin-Lysicrates Prize for his plays, Farewell Mr Nippy and The Incomplete Works of Willow Bakerformerly Play Number Four, both of which are currently in development. Gamers for Life was a finalist in 2022 and Arty Fyshal in 2023. The Incomplete Works of Willow Baker was highly commended for the 2023 Griffin Award, was a finalists for the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award (2021) and and long-listed for the Shane & Cathryn Brennan Prize. His most recent work, All The Shining Lights, was commissioned by HotHouse Theatre and had its world premiere in November, 2022. The Last Boy on Earth, was performed by the Yackandandah Young Players as part of HotHouse Theatre’s 2019 season .His published works for children include, Scaredy-Cat (MICF, 2015), How to Beat a Bully  (2016), The Last Boy on Earth (2019), all of which have been performed by youth ensembles in schools around Australia. In 2020, his monologue, Spiderweb, was one of fifty commissioned by Playwriting Australia as part of their Dear Australia project. He was part of Arena Theatre Company’s Bendigo Studio. Brendan has also worked with diverse groups to create original and inspiring theatre for regional communities. In 2016, he collaborated with Yackandandah Cemetery Trust and Yackandandah Museum to create and produce From Here To There. In 2017, he collaborated with the residents of a local aged-care facility to explore the themes of resilience and growing old to produce a new show, Living Memory. Brendan has featured in national print, radio and television media, including The Conversation Hour with Jon Faine and Back Roads (ABC TV). He has written and directed shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and presented at several conferences and festivals as a writer and an advocate for arts in the community, including the War Widows Guild of Victoria and the Writers, Readers and Poets (WRAP) festival.

Mari Lourey is a playwright, dramaturg, theatre maker and occasional actor, based between Broome WA and Melbourne. Over 25 years she has developed a practice of building work meticulously and collaboratively with innovative creative teams, creating dramatic works that push the boundaries of form and traditional narrative. She has a particular interest in working outside traditional methodologies of developing new work, particularly when it enables voices and stories beyond the traditional mainstream to be heard. Her critically acclaimed plays include: Dirty Angels (La Mama and Regional Victorian tour); Bare Witness (fortyfivedownstairs and Performing Lines national Roadworks tour 2012), and most recent work in development, Dirt Cloud, winner of the Rodney Seaborn and Ross Trust Script Development Awards. Between 2002-’07 she was researcher and playwright with innovative community arts and theatre company The Torch Project writing several plays with various Victorian communities, directed by Rachael Maza. Between 2007-09 she was Artistic Co-ordinator of the Big Issue arts project Homeless Not Artless, producing several shows in collaboration with director Adriano Cortese, and writers Arnold Zable and Alicia Sometimes. She is a popular freelance dramaturg, whose interest in sharing methods of skills development has seen her facilitate numerous workshops and master-classes over many years including: currently writer in residence with Union House Theatre, Melbourne University 2020 (‘Virtual WIR) and in 2018; coordinating Goolarri Media’s Writing Program in Broome WA since 2013 – current; co-facilitating Ilbijerri Theatre Company’s inaugural Blak Writers Lab between 2010/13; and has guest lectured at Charles Sturt, Monash, Swinburne and Victoria Universities. Starting out in music as a singer, she first trained in theatre, then studied writing at RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing Course 2000-’03, and an MA in Performance Writing, VCA, 2012.

Kathryn Ash is a Cairns-based dramatist and dramaturg, working on a variety of company writing development projects including JUTE’s Write Sparks writing development program. She has worked as playwright and writing mentor on an extensive Arts Festival program for Cairns City Council and Commonwealth Games in 2018 and in 2019 was co-writer of a highly acclaimed musical drama, Woven with AustraNesia Choir. She is also a published playwright, including an award-winning play Bag O’Marbles, winner of the New York Dramatist Exchange in 2002, and over 25 produced plays to date. Her most recent play La Bella Figura (co-written with Roz Pappalardo, Frank D’Angelico) produced by JUTE to sell out audiences (2021) and with an encore season in 2024 for the Cairns Italian Festival. She worked as dramaturg on the 2019 Matilda Award-Winning play The Longest Minute during its 2-year development process. During the pandemic, she kept busy with two national writing projects Dear Australia for Playwriting Australia and Come To Where I Am by Critical Stages, both of which resulted in online presentation of her work through those two peak playwriting bodies. Ash was also the driving force behind JUTE’s award-winning and highly respected dramaturgical script development program, Enter Stage Write, which operated for 16 years, before being reshaped into the current Write Sparks program, and opened up long-term career pathways for over 25 regional playwrights. She is a founding member of JUTE, and is delighted to continue her long relationship with a company that has grown to be a regional force in writing practice.

We acknowledge that we live and create on unceded lands. We pay our respects to the First Peoples of Australia, and to their elders past, present and future.

© Australian Plays Transform 2024