2023 Program

Welcome to APT’s 2023 Program

I am proud to announce the Australian Plays Transform Program for 2023. We enter 2023 excited about our programs providing support and opportunities in new writing. Retreats, dramaturgical support, professional development and digital publishing will reach artists across the country and the career spectrum.

It is a big year for Australia; a nation-defining referendum is on the horizon. It is a big year for the Arts and artists of Australia; a new arts policy and vision that restores the respect and funding that was eroded for a decade.

In this context, our goal to discover new voices for new times that will develop stories that reflect and shape Australia is more important than ever. 

Onward into 2023 with thanks to our program partners, donors and the hard work of our predecessors. 

See you in 2023.

Erin Taylor, CEO Australian Plays Transform


La Mama Pathways Program

PROGRAM DATES: Feb – June 2023


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.

APT is proud to partner on this program including the support of two participants with carers costs to access the program.




Duologue 2023


APPLICATION PERIOD: Wednesday 8 March 2023 – 11:59pm AEST, Monday 3 April 2023

PROGRAM DATES: April – October 2023


Duologue has a long history of supporting the vital partnership between Playwright and Dramaturg- it continues in 2023. Over six-months playwrights can develop their ideas either in person or remotely with paid support for their chosen partnership. Your words, your way, your collaborator.


OPEN: Nationally, priority focus on mid-career and established playwrights. 6 playwright/dramaturg partnerships will be supported.

The Erin Thomas Regional Playwrights Fund 2023


APPLICATION PERIOD: 9 am AEST, Friday, 10 March 2023 – 11:59pm AEST, Monday, 3 April 2023

PROGRAM DATES: March – December 2023


The Erin Thomas Playwright Fund honours the legacy of the late playwright Erin Thomas by supporting emerging regional playwrights to pursue their creative dreams. Commemorating its 10th year, the Fund has been expanded with the support of the Thomas family and playwright Andrew Bovell to offer even greater opportunities. Playwrights will develop their skills through mentorship with a seasoned dramaturg or development director as they work on a new play. This year the Fund will also host three playwriting masterclasses and a travel bursary which had paused during COVID allowing writers to connect with the wider Australian theatre community .
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.


OPEN TO: Playwrights living in regional and remote areas, nation-wide. 3 playwrights will be supported in 2023

Untold Stories Lab


APPLICATION PERIOD: Closes 11.:59pm AEST, 1 May
RETREAT DATES: 18th-25th May
DEVELOPMENT DATES: July-December 2023


The Untold Stories Lab offers a unique opportunity for playwrights to come together for a 7-day residential retreat at Shark Island in Kangaroo Valley. Participants will collaborate with two experienced dramaturgs, concentrate on their writing, and receive mentorship. The ultimate goal is to connect the plays with presenting companies and provide ongoing mentorship and support to the playwrights. The plays will be published as part of the newly established ‘Untold Stories Collection’.


OPEN TO: Playwrights identifying as CaLD & PoC, nation-wide . 7 playwrights will be supported in this program.


Philanthropic support for this program from the Shark Island Institute.


Funded by the The Australia Council. The Australia Council is the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body.

Developing the Dramaturg NSW


PLACEMENT DATES: April-December 2023


Developing the Dramaturg aims to increase diversity in the field of dramaturgy through a comprehensive story lab, mentorship opportunities, and placement in producing organisations. Six early career dramaturgs from underrepresented communities will receive training and support to play a vital role in shaping the future of the theatrical landscape. The program is open to NSW-based dramaturgs who identify as First Nations, CALD, or PoC. By fostering a more inclusive and dynamic community of dramaturgs, this initiative will help to expand the range of stories and perspectives that are brought to the stage.


OPEN TO: NSW-based dramaturgs identifying as Australian First Nations, CaLD, PoC


This project is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW

lutruwita/Tasmanian Voices: Dramaturg and Playwright Development Initiatives

PROGRAM DATES: June – September 2023 


APT is addressing the urgent need to deepen the professional practice of lutruwita-based theatre makers that identify as First Nations, culturally and linguistically diverse, and/or people of colour.  

Led by Creative Producer Jennifer Rani, this unique program will create space and guidance for emerging storytellers and dramaturgs to develop their voices. The participants will explore process and practice and investigate the principles of playwriting and story-making from various cultural and dramaturgical perspectives. APT is committed to creating stories of difference and diversity on our stages.  

Established artists from across Australia will lead creative discussions, workshops on craft, research, and cultural critique, and provide tailored and group mentorship. Skills workshops and ‘in conversation’ sessions with leading theatre practitioners will provide the cohort with professional connections to develop their practice and thrive in a changing industry.  

APT will work with the artists of the program on career planning beyond 2023.  


The work of APT in lutruwita/Tasmania is supported by: 

the Malcolm Robertson Foundation

and the Tasmanian Government through Arts Tasmania

 Venue support by the Theatre Royal & UTAS

Martin-Lysicrates Prize


EVENT DATE: Tuesday, 31 November 2023. Riverside Theatre, Parramatta.


The Martin-Lysicrates Prize is a competition for plays written for Young People, it encourages the development of new work for this audience. The first 15 minutes of three short-listed plays will be performed for a live audience and live streamed into schools Australia wide and overseas. The audience of young people then vote for the play they would like to see further developed. The winning playwright will receive a full commission to complete the play and $30,000 towards the production of the play by a professional company.

APT will partner with the Lysicrates Foundation on this event, connecting with an education/teacher audience, and will publish the script commissioned for a young audience.

OPEN: Nationally


In 2023 APT will publish the Lysicrates and Martin-Lysicrates prize winning scripts.

Australian First Nations Retreat & Development Program 2023


RETREAT DATES: 1-10 September
DEVELOPMENT DATES: September-December 2023


Central to the program is a 10-day retreat at Bundanon, with Dramaturgs on site to support playwrights. Selected works will then enter further development after the Retreat.
Moogahlin, Ilbijerri, and Yirra Yaakin are partners in this National Program.


OPEN TO: Australian First Nations playwrights, nation-wide. 7 playwrights will be supported in 2023.



Funded by the The Australia Council. The Australia Council is the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body.

Australian Performing Arts Forum - Theatre Network Australia (TNA)

EVENT DATES: September 13-15 2023, Brisbane Powerhouse


The Australian Performing Arts Forum (APAF) is a biennial gathering for the Australian theatre and performing arts community, offering a platform for lively discussions and critical debates amongst practitioners, producers, and cultural thought-leaders. With a focus on the new play and playwriting, APT will co-curate insightful conversations and panels to address some of the industry’s critical challenges on Day 1 of APAF.

The 2023 APAF will be held in Brisbane and is expected to bring together over 350 participants from across the country.

Visit apaf.com.au to stay updated.

Max Afford Playwrights Award 2024


PROGRAM DATES: Opens in December, judged and announced in early 2024


The Max Afford Playwrights’ Award is an initiative established to honour the memory of Max Afford and recognize talented young playwrights across Australia. The award, offered by Perpetual as Trustee and Australian Plays Transform, includes a $15,000 cash prize for the winner, as well as a $15,000 development workshop for the winning play. This workshop will provide the playwright with the opportunity to work with experienced professionals such as a director, dramaturg, and actors, and will take place between April and November 2024.


OPEN TO: National playwrights aged 18 to 40 years old.

Check out 2022 winner Frieda Lee’s “Brightside of Bumtown” in development 

Program partner: Perpetual Logo


In 2023 APT will continue to grow our digital catalogue of Australian plays.

To celebrate World Pride we will launch our Pride Collection. Supported by the Pride Foundation, this will feature the publication of new works and education resources to support teachers in the classroom to stage, discuss and cast plays that go beyond the binary.

The Of the Island lutruwita/Tasmanian Collection of Playwriting will continue to grow

The Mooghalin “Yellamundie” festival will return in 2023. We are proud to extend this collection of Australian First Nations playwriting. Check out the existing collection here


Four playwrights are currently under commission working with APT and our partner orgnisations to deliver new plays in the coming months.
Pride Foundation Commission: Zac Callaghan and Dr. Margi Ash Brown- Wanderings
Performing Lines x APT Co-Commission
Nick Atkins- Party Bot
Jordy Shea- Diwa

This organisation is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.


APT has a focus on expanding the presence of Australian plays on the world stage.

Our developing International Strategy will involve expanding the international reach of APT’s definitive online catalogue of Australian plays and forming productive partnerships with organisations in other parts of the world.

Some of our plans include:

International Catalogues

We are developing partnerships with two key international digital platforms:

  • New Play Exchange, the world’s largest digital library of scripts by living writers.
  • Drama Online, the leading UK digital collection of plays.

Submitting for Publication

APT‘s catalogue is the world’s largest online showcase and searchable database of the best Australian playwriting. The plays of the catalogue are either published by one of our partnering publishers or by APT itself.

Unsolicited scripts will not be read.

From 1 January 2022, APT’s publication slate will focus on scripts developed through APT’s play development programs and our key partnerships will be considered for publication.

APT lacks the core funding and resources required to facilitate a public submissions call out and will not be calling for Submissions in 2023.

If my play is published, what about distribution?

Distribution through APT involves a simple agreement authorising APT to sell the script and associated photocopy licences. Full copyright ownership rests with the playwright.

What about production enquiries?

APT does not offer Production Licensing Services. If you are a Producer seeking a License, you can click on the Production Enquiry tab on the play you are looking at and an email will be sent to the Playwright, their Agent or their Estate manager. A response will be provided to you directly from the playwright or their representative.

What is the royalty structure?

Playwrights receive the following royalties and payments from APT:

  • Script sales – 30% of the selling price
  • Copy licences – 50% of the fees received

Royalty payments for script sales and copy licences are calculated annually and paid in the first quarter of the following year. If $25 is not reached in one year, the amount is carried forward into the next year.

APT does not handle Production Licensing or Production Fees. 

Awards and Prizes

Here is an evolving list of awards and prizes available to Australian playwrights. If you know of others, please let us know.

  • Max Afford Young Playwrights Award is a $30,000 biennial award and development workshop for a playwright under 40. The Award is managed by APT. A call for entries will be in late 2021 for the 2022 Award. The Award is funded through Perpetual Fund Managers for the Thelma Afford Trust.
  • The Erin Thomas Fund supports emerging regional playwrights to take up opportunities that will assist their artistic development. The Fund was established by the Thomas Family and Playwriting Australia to commemorate Erin’s optimism, creative talent, and to further her generous contribution by supporting emerging writers.
  • Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award – this annual $20,000 award provides financial assistance for playwrights during the writing or development of a play or a project, and might include workshops, dramaturgical support, production costs, publishing or touring.
  • The Rodney Seaborn Playwriting Support Fund – provides grants for up to $5,000 to assist playwrights and others working in the area to advance knowledge and appreciation of play writing as an art form.
  • The $30,000 Mona Brand Award is presented every two years to an outstanding Australian woman writing for the stage or screen. An Early Career Writer Award of $10,000 for a female writer who is in the early stages of her career is also offered.
  • The Patrick White Playwrights Award offers a cash prize of $7,500 for a full-length unproduced play of any genre written by an Australian playwright over 18 years of age. The readers and judges assessing the scripts seek a work that is original and ambitious with strong theatrical potential.
  • The Patrick White Playwrights Fellowship is a position for an established Australian playwright whose work has been produced professionally in Australia within the last four years. The winning playwright receives a total prize package of $25,000 which includes a year-long Fellowship in recognition of their excellent body of work, and a commission to write a new play.
  • The Griffin Award recognises an outstanding play or performance text that displays an authentic, inventive and contemporary Australian voice, with the winner receiving a $10,000 prize.
  • The Philip Parsons Writers Lab for Early-Career Playwrights is offered by Belvoir.
  • The Balnaves Foundation Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fellowship is offered by Belvoir.
  • The AWGIES – the Australian Writers’ Guild offers numerous awards for produced and unproduced scripts across multiple genres and formats.
  • The AWG’s David Williamson Prize is comprised of: (i) a $20,000 prize awarded to the playwright of the most outstanding theatre script of the given year; and (ii) an $80,000 grant awarded to the theatre company which staged the winning theatre script, for the purposes of commissioning, developing and staging a new Australian work.
  • The Martin-Lysicrates Prize – a competition for plays written for adolescents that are modelled on the ancient Greek tradition, but with a modern twist. Australian playwrights submit the first act of a new play and the three finalists’ entries receive a staged reading.
  • The Noosa Arts Theatre National One-Act Playwriting Competition – offers a total prize pool of $8,000 cash.
  • Canberra Youth Theatre’s Emerging Playwright Commission offers an emerging playwright a professional commission to develop a full-length work that brings the voices and stories of youth to the stage. Playwrights under 35 from across Australia are eligible to apply for the $16,500 commission, supported by Holding Redlich. The successful applicant will develop a full-length script suitable for performers aged seven to 25.
State based
  • The Nick Enright Prize (part of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards) – this annual $30,000 prize is offered for a play or a work of music drama given its first production in Australia during the prize period.
  • Prize for Drama, Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards – this $25,000 annual prize is administered by the Wheeler Centre on behalf of the Premier of Victoria.
  • Queensland Premier’s Drama Award – an initiative of Queensland Theatre with the support of the Queensland Government, open to all Australian citizens and permanent residents who have an unproduced live-performance text requiring further development towards its production debut. The eventual winner receives a full professional production in Queensland Theatre’s mainstage season.
  • Queensland Theatre’s Young Playwrights’ Award – annual award for high school aged writers (years 9 – 12).  The winner receives an all-expenses paid trip to Theatre Residency Week (valued up to $1500), dramaturgy sessions with Queensland Theatre and a professional reading of their work.
  • Jill Blewett Playwrights Award – $12,500 is awarded for an unproduced play of any genre written by a professional South Australian playwright.
  • The Flinders University Young Playwrights’ Award – State Theatre Company South Australia’s major award for the encouragement and support of new writing talent.
  • University of Tasmania Prize (The Premier’s Literary Prizes) – this $5000 prize is for the best new unpublished literary work by an emerging Tasmanian writer.
  • The Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship – this $60,000 Fellowship is designed to assist a Western Australian writer, of any style or ​genre, to develop their writing practice and give them the time to create new work in a one year time period.
  • The Premier’s Prize for an Emerging Writer – this $15,000 is for the first published work of prose, poetry or narrative nonfiction, in any genre, by an author or authors residing in Western Australia.
  • ATYP Foundation Commissions – two Foundation Commissions, one for 10-13-year-old performers and one for 14-17-year-old performers, are awarded each year to playwrights of any age. Both plays are published by Playlab and produced as part of ATYP’s season.
  • The annual Queer Playwriting Award is a collaboration between Melbourne’s Gasworks Arts Park and Midsumma Festival, is part of the Midsumma Presents Program.
  • The Silver Gull Play Award is for a playwright resident in New South Wales. The total prize money for the award is $5000.
  • The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. The UK’s biggest prize for playwriting. An International Award of £8,000 is open to international playwrights invited to anonymously apply via their named international partners, which in Australia include Belvoir Theatre and Melbourne Theatre Company.
  • Susan Smith Blackburn Prize – given annually to recognize women who have written works of outstanding quality for the English-speaking theatre. The Prize currently awards $70,000 annually to the Finalists. Each year, a specified list of professional theatres throughout the English-speaking world is invited to submit plays for consideration.
  • Theatre503 International Playwriting Award – the winner receives £6,000 and a world premiere production at Theatre503 after a year’s support and development, with their play published by Samuel French Ltd. For emerging playwrights.
  • The Yale Drama Series Prize – annually invites submissions of original, full-length, English-language plays by emerging dramatists from across the globe. In addition to the publication of the winner, the play is given a professional staged reading at a prestigious venue, and the playwright receives the David Charles Horn Award of US$10,000.
  • The Australian Theatre Festival NYC New Play Award – celebrates two new plays or musicals with distinct Australian voices. The award offers a total cash prize of $20,000 USD for two unproduced, full-length plays or musicals written by Australian writers, over the age of 18, with the winner receiving $15,000 USD and the runner-up receiving $5,000 USD. Along with the cash prize, the winning play or musical will be developed with ATF Co-Artistic Director Mark Barford and presented as an elevated staged reading in New York City as part of the Australian Theatre Festival NYC.

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