Introducing Home Grown’s The Grassroots Initiative

HomegrownHelping Australia’s emerging writers get it right, Home Grown’s The Grassroots Initiative is dedicated to supporting, developing and promoting Australian musical theatre.

Founded by local songwriting duo Ben Nicholson and Nick Hedger, Home Grown firmly believes that the success of original Australian content like Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Boy from Oz and Women in Black indicates that now is the time for emerging writers to step up, and learn from their peers.

Passionate about the vital importance of grassroots creation, Nicholson and Hedger through Home Grown are advocating for the changing needs of writers and the challenges they face in writing their our stories and music, and bringing them to life on the stage.

“The way to a strong industry of Australian made musical theatre is to pay due focus to development of writers and the skill of writing in this country, not just the development of a piece for production,” says Nicholson and Hedger.

The Grassroots Initiative will provide a series of opportunities for writers to hone their craft and skill, while developing a piece of work. With continued support from the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), who have a long history of developing Australian works, The Grassroots Initiative brings together the authentic voice that Home Grown has established for emerging writers, with the expertise and wonderful resources of the college.

“VCA is delighted to partner with HomeGrown in the Grassroots Initiative as a part of our commitment to fostering new Australian music theatre and the talents of local writers and composers,” says Margot Fenley, Head of Music Theatre and Lecturer in Acting, Victorian College of the Art. “Support and mentorship of emerging creative artists is essential to the development of vibrant, diverse and culturally relevant works of quality and we are excited to see what may emerge from this new program.”

The first stage of  The Grassroots Initiative will be a series of rehearsed readings, designed for writers who are ready to take their work to the next level. Successful applicants will then be invited to present a rehearsed reading of the first 30 minutes of their musical to a select audience of home grown supporters and a panel of industry experts.

A private feedback session then follows, where the panel examine the writer’s work purely based on its merits as a piece of writing. Writers will then be offered help and constructive advice on how to improve their work, all without cost.

“It’s the perfect way to develop the quality of their writing before proceeding to stage a workshop production, or working towards rehearsing a public showing,” saus Nicholson. “It is also a useful process for productions which may have already undertaken a workshop and would like to receive feedback on the work’s further development.”

The Grassroots Initiative is providing a support network for emerging Australian writers in musical theatre, and a unique opportunity to gain feedback and guidance from their peers,” added Hedger. “I’d encourage anyone who is writing to apply now and start the process of bringing your work to life!”

Applications for the first The Grassroots Initiative intake close on Monday 13 June 2016. Readings are set to take place on 25 July, 3 Octoberand 28 November. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Performers at Home Grown (supplied)