FIRST SEEN 2021 – Creative journeys to the stage

The Street MILK Dylan Van Den BergFIRST SEEN: NEW WORKS-IN-PROGRESS – The Street’s annual program for theatre-makers, returns in 2021 with the first showing of playwright Katie Pollocks’ People Inside Me on Friday 12 March 2021.

Now in its tenth year, FIRST SEEN promotes the creation of high quality, original performance work, encouraging debate on issues and relationships central to the reality of Canberran lives.

From March to June, three writers, David Atfield, Rebecca Duke and Katie Pollock, progress their works to production ready stage through creative development with directors, dramaturgs and actors. As part of the program, audiences are invited to be a part of the creative process and provide their feedback on new plays via online showings.

“Delivering our First Seen new work showings online through the pandemic increased audience engagement and feedback enabling us to work beyond Canberra with ease,” said The Street’s Artistic Director, Caroline Stacey.

“To connect ACT-based artists and our work with artists, companies, and communities nationally is critical to the development of our sector here in Canberra. We’re very happy continue to invest in and contribute to in the digital theatre space in all we do.”

FIRST SEEN is an important part of The Street’s planning as it seeks to produce and present original and diverse Australian stories on its stages. 2021 works-in-progress were chosen from applications by Wollongong-based director Anne-Louise Rentell (Charcoal Creek, Dead Man Brake) in consultation with FIRST SEEN Program Coordinator Shelly Higgs and The Street Artistic Director Caroline Stacey.

“All three works jumped off the page and stayed with us after reading; a sure sign that they would also make a confident transition from page to stage in the future,” said Rentell.

The 2021 season brings works immersed in isolation, purpose, light, dark, loss and hope with the plays selected for development each having theatrically strong voices, compelling characters and curious playwrights at the helm grappling with all it means to be human. All are text based narrative pieces with interwoven moments of comedy.

“We all agreed that the lens of the artist shows us what’s relevant to now and the issues that have arisen through such a period of uncertainty and change,” said Higgs.

Commencing in March, People Inside Me by Katie Pollock confronts death and loss and attempts to find a way to carry on after devastations; in May, Church Sweet Church by Rebecca Duke goes to the heart of small town community and what it means to belong; and in June, Just Wrong by David Atfield explores how to make a living being an artist in our times whilst celebrating all things Eurovision.

Previous FIRST SEEN seasons showcasing new plays from remarkable talents have resulted in a significant number of works being produced by The Street and other companies. In June, Dylan Van Den Berg’s play, Milk, a work-inprogress from 2020 and 2019 FIRST SEEN seasons will have its world premiere at The Street Theatre. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Dylan Van Den Berg to star in Milk in June – photo courtesy of The Street