Contest by Emilie Collyer


A PLAY TO: Read, read aloud, study and perform

GENRE: Drama, non-naturalistic

THEMES: Female rivalry, gender, competition, disability, motherhood

SYNOPSIS: A suburban netball team. A new player. Cass says she wants to fit in but if she won’t play by their rules why does she bother coming at all? She claims to see something they cannot, a warning of sorts. All the other women want to do is play. But this player will push each of them to a point of furious revelation. A sweaty play about the petty and the profound, the mundane and the mythic, Contest asks how we might be with each other if we don’t have to win.

STAGING: The action takes place over one session. The women enter in their ‘ordinary’ state, warm up, do drills, play a short and heated game then cool down, and leave. Throughout this they are grappling with each other and themselves via a combination of short scenes and poetic monologues that shift between the everyday and the epic, revealing the best, worst, most tortured and most tender aspects of their true selves.

CASTING NOTES: The first production of this play was performed by five actors. It could also be adapted to be performed by different sized casts. Because the text is situational and poetic, multiple actors could play each role and / or a combination of solo voice and chorus could perform the work. In the first production this role was played by an actor who is a wheelchair user with an acquired disability. Ideally this would be the case in future productions. If attempts have been made to find an actor with a disability to play the role and no such actor is available, then the role can be adapted for a non-disabled actor. See notes in script to adapt for this instance.


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