Australian Plays Transform

La Mama Pathways

In 2023 we have partnered with La Mama Theatre on the La Mama Pathways Program

This program is aimed at emerging and mid-career theatre artists living in Victoria who are primarily but not exclusively, text-based theatre makers and playwrights. A series of 15 nuts-and-bolts weekly sessions on the craft of playwriting and contemporary theatre creation will be delivered from the end of February through to end of May, for 12 selected participants chosen by a diverse advisory panel.

The sessions will be delivered by experienced playwrights, educators, directors and leading theatre makers from Victoria’s theatre sector.

This program is targeted specifically for theatre artists with demonstrated potential who wish to further develop their craft.  Participants will receive up to 18 hours of dramaturgy or mentoring to develop their projects.

Writing for live performance requires a unique set of skills, tools, agilities and understandings. Theatrical spaces and audience demands are continually changing in response to new technologies, hybrid art forms, collaborative and co-making models and the challenges of the pandemic and post-pandemic environment. Organisations that once supported these kinds of endeavours can no longer extend their resources into artist development.  The number of unsolicited scripts that La Mama receives each year has increased exponentially, and we have identified a skills gap.

Our new Pathways program offers professional nuts-and-bolts training along with mentoring and dramaturgy tailored to individual needs.  Co-facilitated by La Mama’s Indigenous producer, playwright Glenn Shea with playwright/dramaturg/educator Mari Lourey, the first six sessions will be led by renowned performance writing teacher Peta Murray (RMIT University).  Further sessions will be facilitated by some of Melbourne and Victoria’s leading theatre practitioners.

This timely initiative is designed to cultivate and sustain Melbourne’s independent theatre culture, by supporting a diverse group of early and mid-career theatre artists to advance their practice and further develop the tools of their craft. The writers will be nurtured in a collegiate, supportive space where creativity and learning can flourish, with confidentiality prized.  Theatre visits will be subsidized and be part of the informal ‘curriculum’.

The nuts-and-bolts sessions will occur on Tuesday evenings between 5.30 pm and 9pm starting from late February through to early June.  Timely and regular in-person attendance is a pre-requisite of the program.  Mentoring and/or dramaturgy can commence halfway through these sessions, and continue after the sessions are completed, as determined by participants.  The program will culminate with readings of works-in-progress (where desired), near the end of the year.

The sessions will incorporate script workshopping, the study of play texts/theatre performances and writing exercises.  Topics will include: the mechanics of theatrical story-telling; story types and structures; character; plot, premise; voice and image, devising with a group, as opposed to solo writing; post- dramatic theatre; dramaturgies; composition, the many elements that create the theatrical experience; verse performance; working with actors and the director’s role; grant/submission writing & pitching.

Accessibility is a priority for La Mama.  Should there be any barriers in accessing this program, our outreach producer Myf Powell (myf@lamama.com.au) can discuss each individual’s requirements.

Applicants chosen will be expected to attend all sessions (illness notwithstanding); participate in as many of the theatre going activities as possible; and fully utilise the dramaturgy/mentoring sessions made available to them.

If you think this is for you, please apply!  We look forward to receiving your application.

Applications open on January 20, and close on Sunday 5th February.

See below for Key Criteria Questions:

In the application you will be asked to cover the following:

  • Your background and experience to date as a playwright/theatre maker to date
  • Any other writing and performance making experience you would like us to know about 
  • The reasons you want to participate in this program and why you’ll benefit.
  • The stage of career (early career playwright, mid-career playwright) that you feel are you are at.
  • A play or performance work you would like to work on if you are accepted into the Program? If so, what is it about? Where are you up to in the writing?
  • A short playwriting sample of any work (max 5 pages), or a link to a piece of your work, if it is not text based.
  • The nature of any assistance you may need.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

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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 2022