50 fearless and inspiring new short works from some of Australia’s best playwrights will be simultaneously livestreamed by more than 30 performing arts organisations from across Australia between 2 – 5 July 2020. Dear Australia will be an extraordinary national moment led by Australian playwrights.
At a time when a pandemic has forced reflection and change, these playwrights have responded to questions that get to the heart of where our nation is and where it might go.
What is happening right now? What is being revealed about us? What are we not paying attention to? Where do we want to go next? These stories are postcards addressed to Dear Australia.
Playwriting Australia (PWA), the national body for the development of Australian plays and playwrights, invited 25 theatre organisations from across Australia to each nominate two playwrights. PWA then commissioned these 50 playwrights to each write a short monologue, which were then filmed by 50 extraordinary actors, many in their own homes.
These moving and sometimes provocative stories will be grouped over three nights and live streamed by the partner theatres, along with major performing arts centres such as Arts Centre Melbourne, Sydney Opera House, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Canberra Theatre Centre and Darwin Entertainment Centre.
David Berthold, the interim Executive Chair of Playwriting Australia, said that this was a project that “not only elevates the voice of playwrights, but also demonstrates the huge diversity of voices this nation enjoys.”
“Recent months have exposed and prised open many cracks in our society. These 50 micro works address major questions, allowing us to see into some of those cracks, but also inviting us to see light ahead. These stories are, in turn, confronting and comforting. Together, they are a revelation and unique celebration of Australian voices,” said Berthold.
Participating playwrights include Richard Frankland, Nakkiah Lui, Anchuli Felicia King, Suzie Miller and Jada Alberts, along with actors such as Jack Thompson, Miranda Tapsell, Helen Thomson, Danielle Cormack, Peter Carroll and Tasma Walton – see full list below!
A Dear Australia panel discussion will be broadcast from the Joan Sutherland Theatre by the Sydney Opera House on Saturday 4 July at 7.00pm as part of its Digital Season.
The scripts of the Dear Australia monologues will published by Australian Plays and will be available Monday 6 July on their website. These snapshots will be a unique account of these times and a striking moment of national celebration and reflection.
Inspired by a project of the Abbey Theatre, Ireland, Dear Australia is presented in partnership with Adelaide Festival Centre, Arts Centre Melbourne, Canberra Theatre Centre, Darwin Entertainment Centre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Sydney Opera House.
With the participation of Australian Theatre for Young People, Barking Gecko Theatre Company, Contemporary Asian Australian Performance, Blue Cow Theatre, Brink Productions, Brown’s Mart, Griffin Theatre Company, HotHouse Theatre, Ilbijerri Theatre Company, Jute Theatre Company, La Boite Theatre Company, La Mama, Merrigong Theatre Company, Monkey Baa Theatre Company, Moogahlin Performing Arts, NORPA, PlayLab, Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre, Riverside’s National Theatre of Parramatta, South Australian Playwrights Theatre, The Street Theatre, Terrapin Puppet Theatre, Theatre Works, Windmill Theatre Company, and Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company.
Dear Australia livestreams over three nights on multiple Facebook pages and on Playwriting Australia’s YouTube channel. Thursday 2 July and Friday 3 July 2020 – 7.00pm (NSW, VIC, QLD, TAS, ACT) / 6.30pm (SA, NT) / 5.00pm (WA). Sunday 5 July 2020 – 5.00pm (NSW, VIC, QLD, TAS, ACT) / 4.30pm (SA, NT) / 3.00pm (WA). For more information, visit: www.pwa.org.au for details.
Image: Dear Australia – courtesy of Playwriting Australia
The Dear Australia playwright-performer line-up:
Thursday 2 July 2020
1. Nakkiah Lui with Miranda Tapsell
2. Elena Carapetis with Elena Carapetis
3. Willoh S Weiland with Kris McQuade (Puppet by Noah Casey)
4. Ellen van Neerven with Elaine Crombie
5. Sam Nerida with Helen Thomson
6. Morgan Rose with Emily Goddard
7. Claire Christian with Megan Wilding
8. Dan Giovannoni with James Majoos
9. Bumpy Favell with Jessica Window
10. Diane Stubbings with Jennifer Hagan
11. Mark Rogers with Steve Rodgers
12. Emele Ugavule with Anthony Taufa
13. Ross Mueller with Marco Chiappi
14. Eric Gardiner with Kevin Hofbauer
15. Finegan Kruckemeyer with Glenn Hazeldine
16. Anchuli Felicia King with Catherine V?n-Davies
17. Bjorn Stewart with Bjorn Stewart
18. Mary Anne Butler with Roxanne McDonald
Friday 3 July 2020
19. Glenn Shea with Kelton Pell
20. Jada Alberts with Tasma Walton
21. Stephen Carleton with Belinda Giblin
22. Chris Beckey with Mémé Thorne
23. Aanisa Vylet with Alaa Sukkarieh
24. Merlynn Tong with Fiona Choi
25. Brendan Hogan with Connor David Skillicorn
26. Tasnim Hossain with Arka Das
27. Catherine McKinnon with Jane Phegan
28. James Taylor with Kyle Morrison
29. Kathryn Marquet with John Batchelor
30. James Elazzi with Sam Khatib
31. Kathryn Ash with James Frecheville
32. Rachael Chisholm with Shaka Cook
33. Julianne O’Brien with Greg Stone
34. Peter Cook with Stephen Phillips
35. Susan Rogers with Peter Carroll
Sunday 5 July 2020
36. H Lawrence Sumner with Shakira Clanton
37. Donna Abela with Helana Sawires
38. Barbara Hostalek with Rayma Morrison
39. Gretel Vella with Harriet Gordon Anderson
40. Liv Satchell with Belinda McClory
41. Lucy Combe with Kate O’Reilly
42. Janis Balodis with Jacek Koman
43. Suzie Miller with Emma Jackson
44. Kylie Coolwell with Angeline Penrith
45. Nathan Maynard with Richard Green
46. Matt Hawkins with Pontsho Nthupi
47. Tariro Mavondo with Carly Sheppard
48. Kamarra Bell-Wykes with Danielle Cormack
49. Future D Fidel with Pacharo Mzembe
50. Richard Frankland with Jack Thompson