News and opportunities for New Zealand Playwrights.

JULY 2016

A reading of Kathryn Burnett's new play at the Playmarket Retreat. Image: Stuart Hoar

When someone calls me a diverse writer, I often ask how can I be diverse if I’m only one person? Alison Whittaker

Kia ora <<First Name>>

Judging by the smiles on the faces of those bouncing into the office on their return from the Playmarket retreat last week, a good time was had by all. Perhaps more importantly, there’s evidence of solid work in the drafts of new plays that have already arrived in our inbox. We were pleased to have such a large number of applications for this year’s retreat and such a strong line up to consider. Joining the New Zealanders was Playwriting Australia exchange playwright Nicki Bloom who by all accounts had a productive time. It is terrific to have this partnership with Playwriting Australia (PWA).
In a few days Stuart Hoar and will I leave to attend our sixth PWA Play Festival and this year Playmarket will present a showcase of selected scenes from plays by Jamie McCaskill, Pip Hall, and Nathan Joe, who will also attend. This is an excellent opportunity to promote all NZ playwriting.
Sadly, this will be one of the last major roles Stuart will undertake in his full time position. Stuart is leaving Playmarket to teach and to concentrate more on his own writing. We will be very sorry to say goodbye to him when he finishes with Playmarket in early November. We are now recruiting for a Script Advisor to commence in October and have some handover time with him in the Auckland office.

Our 2016 Brown Ink and Asian Ink programmes will be announced soon. We’re pleased to be partnering with the Writers Guild on this programme this year.

Last month we joined Taki Rua Productions, Tawata Productions and The Conch as they blessed their collective new home, Te Hau Kainga, in Taranaki Street, Wellington. It is an exciting move for these companies to have a whare of their own.
The Kia Mau festival in Wellington was a huge success. Gathering Māori and Pasifika work from Auckland and Wellington made for a wonderful showing of the health of indigenous work. Premieres and revivals drew crowds in five venues and the Matariki Development Festival ran concurrently to Kia Mau. It was excellent to see the Matariki celebrations in full force at The Basement and Te Pou too.
One of our partner organisations, the Young & Hungry Arts Trust, is about to open this year’s three new plays at BATS. Elsewhere the theatre continues to be very active and lots of New Zealand productions are on stage, touring, and in preparation. It was great to see Angie Farrow’s play The Politician’s Wife mounted in Palmerston North then have a season at BATS in Wellington; Everest Untold is on tour in Te Waipounamu and That Bloody Woman is now in Christchurch after its Auckland season. Having a show seen in more than one centre is a bonus and should happen more often.
Keep on track with those submissions for the Plays for the Young competition and begin preparing your manuscript for submission to the Adam NZ Play Award – there are less than six months to go….

Nga mihi mahana
Murray Lynch - Director of Playmarket


Congratulations to John Broughton who was made Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori Health, theatre and the community in the Queen's 90th Birthday Honours 2016.

Congratulations to Mīria George who is the first Cook Islands artist to receive the Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer's Residency at the University of Hawaii.

Congratulations to Finnius Teppett who won the College Section of the Against the Grain Theatre Festival Student Playwriting Competition with his play My Dad's Boy. Finn will travel to Buffalo, New York where his play will be workshopped and then performed at a public reading. This year the competition received over 200 submissions from 17 countries.

You will have a passion for and extensive experience of dramaturgy, knowledge of New Zealand playwrights and playwriting, and the New Zealand theatre environment and its key personnel. You will be in charge of reading and assessing client scripts and competition submissions. You will be advising and encouraging playwrights of differing levels of experience. You will be Playmarket’s liaison person in Auckland. You are achievement and customer focused and have an eye for detail.
The position is full time, based in Auckland and commences late October 2016.
For a job description please contact Murray Lynch here
Applications close 5 August 2016

The Stand Up and Be Counted panel at Circa Theatre from the Writer’s week Spotlight on Playwrights held earlier this year elicited such an overwhelming response from those present that further discourse about the level of representation of women in New Zealand theatre is needed.
So what can be done to remedy this bias in our profession, our art, our careers?
Everyone interested in change – from actors, playwrights and board members, to audiences and would-be audiences - is invited to meet at Circa Theatre on Women's Suffrage Day 2016 to discuss what we want to achieve, and ways of moving forward to implement those changes. All welcome.
For more information see the Facebook event page here
Circa Theatre, Wellington on Monday 19th September from 2-5pm, then 6-8pm. (Come to one session if you can’t be there the whole time.)
RSVPs would be appreciated and can be emailed here

We are searching for the best new plays to inspire and excite young audiences.
Let your imagination run riot! It could be an original story or an adaptation of a classic tale, hilarious or heartfelt. It could be a play for adults to perform to children or a play for young actors to perform themselves.
We’re also keen to read any work created specifically for the classroom, whether by teachers or students themselves.
There are three categories and a winner will be awarded in each category.
Plays written for:

  • 3 - 8 year-olds
  • 8 - 12 year-olds
  • teenagers

See our website here for more details.
Submissions close 1 August  2016

Auckland Theatre Company’s Literary Unit is calling for submissions of full length plays, either original works or adaptations, for its annual national festival of new work.
The Next Stage is one of the most well-resourced professional play development processes in New Zealand. Selected plays receive a 10 day workshop followed by a season of 2 public presentations 18 - 20 November 2016.
Work by playwrights living in New Zealand and resident playwrights living abroad is eligible. Playwrights must be available to be in Auckland for the duration of the workshop 7 – 20 November.
For more details see their website here.
Submissions close 18 July 2016


Working Titles is Silo’s biannual incubator in which new writing and ideas are given dedicated development support under the guardianship of Silo’s creative team.
Artists are invited to pitch either an idea or script that will be developed over a week towards a public showing. Silo will assign skilled directorial and dramaturgical teams to each of the selected works and encourage a collaborative creative environment where the artist’s vision is celebrated and sharpened. 
Submissions are welcome from designers, directors and actors as well as writers.
The Working Titles workshops will take place in April 2017.
See here for more information
Submissions close 25 July 2016

Applications are open for the Copyright Licensing NZ and NZ Society of Authors 2016 CLNZ/NZSA Research Grants. Four grants of $5,000 are available.
See the CLNZ website here for more details
Applications close 29 July 2016

Ready to get that new writing project up and running? Maybe you're juggling a couple of ideas but can't seem to decide which one to commit to. This supportive writing workshop smashes procrastination. It is a fun, time-efficient way to get that idea out of your head and just start. 
31 July 2016 in Auckland.
See here for more information


The Victoria University of Wellington / Creative New Zealand Writer in Residence has been created to foster New Zealand writing by providing the appointee with the opportunity to write full-time within an academic environment.
Applications are invited from writers in all areas of literary activity.
Applicants should be authors of proven merit normally resident in New Zealand or New Zealanders currently resident overseas.
See here for more information
Applications close 30 September 2016


Open to writers of all nations, and offering a unique opportunity for the three finalist playwrights to see their new work performed on stage at the Noosa Arts Theatre One-Act Play Festival. The winner of Best Play will take home a prize of $5,000, 2nd place $2,000, and 3rd place $1,000.
See here for more information.
Submissions close 1 October 2016


NZ Book Council Booknotes Unbound
A few quick questions with playwright Nathan Joe about his relationship with theatre and playwriting.
Read more here

Mya Kagan for HowlRound
Mya Kagan wonders if perhaps womens submission habits differ from mens, and whether this affects production statistics.
Read more here

Matt Trueman for What’s on Stage
Matt Trueman explains how theatre can't be expected to help win elections or reform the law.
Read more here

Philip Olterman for The Guardian
180 directors, actors and stage designers associated with the Volksbühne Theatre in Berlin published an open letter in which they expressed “deep concerns” about plans for the future of the legendary avant garde theatre, which is due to be headed by Tate Modern’s outgoing director Chris Dercon from early 2017.
Read more here

Madeline Dore for ArtsHub
Women writers of colour called out the tokenism they often strike when discussing diversity at the Emerging Writers' Festival.
Read more here

Isaac Butler and Dan Kois for Slate
How Tony Kushner’s play became the defining work of American art of the past 25 years.
Read more here


That Bloody Woman
by Luke Di Somma and Gregory Cooper

The Court Theatre 2 – 30 July 2016
Suffragist, activist and cyclist Kate Sheppard transforms from a face on the $10 note into a feminist firebrand raising hell in this red-hot new rock opera. Leading the charge to win women the vote, Kate takes on the patriarchy, public opinion and even Prime Minister Richard “King Dick” Seddon. Take a fresh look at one of Christchurch’s favourite daughters brought to life: loud, proud and in your face.

Badjelly the Witch
adapted by Tim Bray from the book by Spike Milligan

Tim Bray Productions at The Pumphouse 4 – 23 July 2016
Spike Milligan’s all-time favourite story comes to life!. Share Tim and Rose’s madcap adventure through the great black forest and into Badjelly’s castle. Cheer as Tim and Rose set off to search for Lucy. Laugh with Dinglemouse, Mud-wiggle and Binkle-bonk. BOO at Badjelly, as she captures Tim and Rose. Will she turn them into sausages? Will they escape? Who will save them?

Dexter's Amazing African Adventure
by Darlene Mohekey and Jess Sayer

TAPAC 8 – 22 July 2016
Dexter loves animals. And he loves visiting the zoo. In fact, sometimes he wishes he could live there. So when a bratty baboon convinces him to swap places for the night, Dexter doesn’t need to think twice. But his wild night out isn’t quite what he bargained for… Enjoy hilarious family fun at this crazy pantomime show full of Hip-Hop Hippos, Elegant Elephants and Flaptastic Flamingos!

The Little Mermaid
by Hans Christian Andersen adapted by Allison Horsley

The Court Theatre 13 – 23 July 2016
The Little Mermaid has always dreamed of visiting the world above the ocean’s surface though her beloved granny Pania has warned her of some of the dangers – and when she finally embarks on her big AE (above-seas experience), she saves the life of a friendly swimmer and falls in love with him as well as his hometown of Christchurch. But there are a few things standing in the way...

Social Climbers
by Roger Hall

Cas’n’ova at Heaton Normal Intermediate, Christchurch 14 – 23 July 2016
A group of high school teachers and the reluctant daughter of one of them undertake a mid-term break tramping expedition. Matters become complicated when a bridge-washout maroons the unlikely group in a hut void of home comforts. Armed with wit and wine cask, they hunker down for a "girls-night-out" of a very different sort.

Bloody Hell Jesus (Get Your Own Friends)
by Lucy Craig

Young and Hungry at BATS 15 – 30 July 2014
Welcome to the jungle-gym; where an all encompassing primary school friendship meets religious fervour meets the need to find your own identity. Who are you without your BFFs? Geeks, freaks, god squad, pot heads, punks, and Hipster Jesus… Everyone needs to find their own rhythm.

Like Sex
by Nathan Joe

Young and Hungry at BATS 15 – 30 July 2014
Samantha wants to bang Ben, Ben is in love with Mandy, Mandy is dating James, James is flirting with Natalie, Natalie confides in Lisa, and Lisa is using Gary. Like Sex captures the awkward, hormonal and selfish nature of teenage relationships in a real and honest way. A play for anyone who has ever been young, horny and confused. Winner of the 2016 Playwrights b425 competition.

Dead Days
by Owen Baxendale

Young and Hungry at BATS 15 – 30 July 2014
Life. Death. Palmy. Meet Max; a misanthropic mortician’s apprentice who finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place - the rock being the paternal pressure at his embalming gurney, and the hard place being the freedom to follow his gut to get out. A situation not helped by a drop-kick flatmate, cliché joker dad, and dead-beat girlfriend. All he needs is a shock to the system.

The Emperor’s New Clothes
adapted by Gregory Cooper

The Fortune Theatre 16 – 23 July 2016
We all like to look good, however the Emperor likes to look GREAAAAT! But when he fires his tailor and has nothing to wear, he turns to two scoundrels to plan his new wardrobe with hilarious consequences. Fun for all ages! WARNING: This show contains horrible underwear.

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