Lachlan comes to Playwriting Australia after a long and celebrated career as a writer, dramaturg, teacher and mentor with companies and festivals around the world, with recent projects at The American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, La Comedie Francaise in Paris, Outburst in Belfast, Australian Theatre for Young People, Malthouse, Merrigong Theatre Company, and Red Stitch with his long-term creative collaborator Alyson Campbell as part of their queer collective wreckedallprods.
He was also the Artistic Director/CEO of Tantrum Theatre, Newcastle and led Australian Theatre for Young People’s emerging writers’ program between 2008 and 2011, establishing one of the companies’ most successful and enduring programs, the National Studio for emerging writers.
Lachlan’s output as a writer has been prodigious, with wide production of his work in Australia and internationally and 15 plays published to-date. In 2018, Oberon Books will publish two anthologies of his most recent works.
“It is with great enthusiasm and pride that we welcome Lachlan as the new Artistic Director and CEO of Australia’s national company for new writing for theatre,” said Peter Wilson, Chair of Playwriting Australia. “Above all else, Lachlan is a playwright, and his experience as a teacher, his vision for the place of playwrights and playwriting in our culture and his deep engagement with our community have formed him over many years to lead Playwriting Australia.”
“At a personal level, I am excited to start working with Lachlan throughout PWA’s next chapter and into its second decade. Lachlan is without doubt one of Australia’s most courageous and inspiring contemporary theatre artists, and I am delighted that we are coming together at this time.”
“I particularly want to thank our staff and hard-working voluntary Board for their dedication and superb ongoing management of our company, together with all of our government, private and not for profit supporters. We remain the best place in Australia to spend a dollar on new writing for theatre because of the awesomeness with which you have joined us to put playwrights at the heart of our national life.”
Widely respected for his generous and insightful mentorship of emerging artists and his vocal leadership as an advocate of new Australian plays and playwrights, Lachlan has mentored over 100 emerging writers in Australia. He was lead tutor of Interplay Africa  and a recent tutor at American Conservatory Theater, Edinburgh University, Kansas State University, NIDA, The University of Southern Alaska, UOW and VCA.
Lachlan facilitated The Lotus Asian writers’ initiative and Outposts regional writers’ programs for Playwriting Australia.He has been writer in residence at Keesing Studio at The International Cite des Arts Paris, The American Conservatory Theater, Newington College, Griffin Theatre Company, The Playwrights Foundation, and Red Stitch and was part of The Traverse Fifty at the Traverse Edinburgh.
In 2013 he was awarded an Australia Council Cultural Leadership grant to study new play development models in several countries. Lachlan was the inaugural Australian Professional Playwright Fulbright Scholar in 2014-15. He was also Chair of the Australian Writer’s Guild Playwrights’ Committee between 2011 and 2014.
Lachlan recently received professional development funding from The Australia Council to undertake work in Europe. He will work closely with Maison Antoine Vitez on new play translations, as well as the creation of two LGBTIQ community works in Belfast and Rijeka.
“I am thrilled to bring my skills to the terrific team at Playwriting Australia and have been fortunate throughout my career to build a deep knowledge of contemporary Australian theatre writing,” said Lachlan. “I bring a profound respect for writers and a rich understanding of play development practices.”
“I am a passionate advocate for new Australian plays with strong connections to writers and theatre artists nationally and internationally. It has been my privilege to mentor many artists who are part of an exciting rising new generation.”
“I have also been honoured to work with many of our leading mid-career and senior writers who continue to care for the extraordinary legacy of Australian playwriting that they have helped to create, and whose best work is undoubtedly yet to come. At this time, we need to unite and work as a community to interrogate the role live theatre plays in our evolving society.”
“Under my leadership, Playwriting Australia will continue to focus on writer-centred play development and we will strengthen our connection to the writing community working with them to build confidence, interest and pride in Australian theatre-making.”
Lachlan’s first day as Artistic Director and CEO is today, Wednesday 4 July, commencing on a part-time basis while fulfilling his commitments in Belfast and Paris over the next several months, before assuming the role full time later in the year. For more information, visit: www.pwa.org.au for details.
Image: Lachlan Philpott (supplied)