News and opportunities for New Zealand Playwrights.

MARCH 2016

Playwrights enjoying lunch at the 2014 Playmarket Retreat. 2016 Applications are open now.

Fans tend to think of artists as "stepping into some pure divine state, and occasionally there is transcendence involved, but almost every artist is a mass of neurosis and self-doubt, petty concerns, strange competitive urges and feelings of dissatisfaction... I still get them..." Neil Finn

Kia ora <<First Name>>

This weekend is a big one for playwriting. On 11 and 12 March, Circa Theatre with Playmarket and NZ Festival Writers Week support have put together Spotlight on Playwrights. There are several panels, a reading of Anthony McCarten’s terrific new play funnygirl which has just premiered in Salzburg (click here to see their trailer), and a playwrights’ brunch. Circa are offering $10 tickets to all of the panels. Just mention you want the Playmarket discount.
Playmarket has the presentation of the Adam NZ Play Award on Sunday morning 13 March. In association with Writers Week we also have the Roger Hall Roast on Sunday afternoon. This event sold out within a few days. This is part of our celebrating 40 years since the premiere of Glide Time which opened in the same year as Circa.
The 2016 Adam NZ Play Award had 76 entries and the standard was so high we shortlisted 20, and even then some terrific plays missed out. The announcement and presentation of the winners this year will be in the new format we introduced last year. There will be a showing of scenes from some of the shortlisted plays followed by announcement of the winners. No-one yet knows (not even the judges) who has won any of the categories so the excitement is high. There are some seats still available so it is not too late to join us. Just email us before the end of the week.

Playmarket staff have managed to catch some of the New Zealand work appearing in the current Auckland and Wellington mainstream and fringe festivals. A great range of excellent well worked-in productions were/are on offer as well as development showings.
The quality and range on stage reflects the standard of the 70 or so works pitched at PANNZ this year. By all accounts, including their own, the international visitors on the CNZ Te Manu Ka Tau programme were impressed with the work on offer. This year’s PANNZ was universally praised for the organisation and the collegiality of the event.
We have held three clinics for new work already this year and there’s some really promising work in development there too.
Elsewhere in the bulletin you’ll see the call out for applications for our biennial retreat at Strathean June 21-28. Ten playwrights will be selected to spend a week in the country being fed and looked after while they write. This is a wonderful opportunity and several notable scripts that have been generated during our retreats have gone on to full fruition and production.
Not much time left before the deadline for our Playwrights b4 25 competition. We are partnering with Auckland Live again this year for the presentation of awards and scenes and there’s a cash prize for the winner donated by the Foster family in memory of Nathan Foster. So get your submission in good shape…

Nga mihi mahana
Murray Lynch - Director of Playmarket


The Adam NZ Play award celebrates the best new writing for the theatre. We are excited to announce the shortlisted plays and playwrights for 2016.

Te Pō by Carl Bland
The Atom Room by Philip Braithwaite
Lucky by Kip Chapman with James Milne, Sam Berkley and Chris Parker
The Politician’s Wife by Angie Farrow
The Vultures by Miria George
The Devil’s Half-Acre by Ralph McCubbin Howell
Anahera by Emma Kinane
Smiley by Tom McCrory

12th Round by Suli Moa
A Love Like Ours by Joseph Musaphia
Tumanāko by Olga Nikora
Fool to Cry by Steven Page
Ports of Auckland by Dean Parker
Scarlet & Gold by Lorae Parry
The Property Developer by Vivienne Plumb
Tan-knee by Maraea Rakuraku
Rogues and Vagabonds by Elspeth Sandys
My Dad’s Boy by Finnius Teppett
Sean Penn is in His Boat by Josephine Stewart-Tewhiu
Te Puhi by Cian Elyse White

Winners will be announced at a presentation at Circa Theatre, 11 am, Sunday 13 March 2016. If you'd like to attend the presentation please email us here. The award is generously funded by the Adam Foundation. Playmarket is also very grateful for the support of Circa Theatre, and major funders: Foundation North and Creative New Zealand.


Circa Theatre and the 2016 New Zealand Festival Writers Week in partnership with Playmarket present a series of events, conversations and readings.

Friday 11 March 11am - 12 noon
Chaired by Emily Perkins with panelists Lorae Parry, Lynda Chanwai-Earle, Miria George, Jess Sayer
The Guardian UK’s list of the 101 Greatest Plays in any western language included only one woman (Caryl Churchill). Are New Zealand’s women playwrights as invisible?
Book here.

Friday 11 March 12.30pm – 1.30pm

Chaired by Dave Armstrong with panelists Pip Hall, Hone Kouka, Nancy Brunning, Carl Nixon.
Reflections of Kiwis on stage both challenge and entrench our unique lifestyle. From Foreskin’s Lament to Waiora; from Middle Age Spread to The Motor Camp; from Wednesday to Come to Hikoi – are we representing our nation honestly on stage?
Book here.

Friday 11 March 2 – 3pm
Chaired by Allison Horsley with panelists Roger Hall, John Smythe, Alison Quigan.
Too few plays get repeat showings. Some gather dust, few go on forever. Even Bruce Mason and Roger Hall, who are household names, have not had all of their plays staged. Some plays are studied, some seen often, some are devised and some forgotten.
Book here.

Saturday 12 March 10 – 11am

Anthony McCarten in conversation with Miranda Harcourt.
What are the keys to Anthony McCarten’s success? From Ladies Night to The Theory of Everything; Wellington to Hollywood – Not only is Anthony an internationally successful writer and producer for stage and screen, nominated for Academy Awards, and winner of BAFTA awards, he has also written several best-selling novels translated into 14 languages.
Book here.

Saturday 12 March 2pm
Anthony McCarten has dramatised his explosive novel; pleading for tolerance, the freedom of individuals, and the freedom of art. Azime is 20 years old and shy. She is Kurdish but grew up in London. She lives in two different worlds. She secretly visits a comedy course, and later slips into a niqab and becomes the world’s first Muslim comedian. Her appearance is explosive: her family is against her, the British press celebrates her as a sensation, and the Internet is hot with death threats.
Book here.

All sessions are at Circa Theatre. (Writers Week multi-passes are available).

The 2015 Playmarket Annual
Email us here if you'd like a copy or view it online here.



For this competition Playmarket is interested in writers under 25 who take risks and throw care to the wind, as well as those who write strong, conventional plays. Write about anything you like that matters to you in any way you like, for any kind of audience you like.
Submissions close 1 April 2016
Visit here for more information

21 - 28 JUNE 2016

The Retreat is a chance to focus on your writing in a distraction free, comfortable and inspiring environment. There will be no cooking or cleaning to do, no television or internet to distract, nothing to organise or prepare and no deadlines to meet.
It is just a time to write.
We are again returning to the beautiful Strathean in Otaki (just north of Wellington) and meals and accommodation are provided at no charge to you. Also, if travel to the retreat is an issue for you please let us know as we may be able to help, both with costs or arranging lifts.
The meals will be healthy and made from local produce and you will have your own room.
We are now accepting submissions from Playwrights.
Please email us with a brief bio and some details about what you hope to work on and/or achieve if accepted on to the retreat.
Submissions close 30 April 2016
Successful applicants will be notified by Monday 9 May 2016.

Script to Screen's FilmUp offers up to eight writers, directors and producers a place on the eight-month programme. Participants receive 20-hours of one-on-one mentorship with an established filmmaker, regular Hub Days including workshops and round tables with guest speakers, and tailored additional support from Script to Screen.
Preference will be given to those filmmakers highly likely to get a feature film off the ground in the near future.
Applicants will need to demonstrate how mentoring at this stage in their career will be valuable and be in a position to reflect on and advance their work during the programme which runs from April to December.
Applications close 14 March 2016
See their website here for more detail


Congratulations to Rose Kirkup who received the Residency Award presented by NZ Pacific Studio at the NZ Fringe Festival Awards for her play I Am Tasha Fierce. Rose began writing her play while on the Playmarket Retreat in 2014. Congratulations also to Sarah Delahunty who was a finalist for the same award for her play Where She Stood and also to Jo Randerson who was a finalist in the Outstanding Performer category for Banging Cymbal, Clanging Gong.


8 Plays by Award-Winning NZ Writers

A tantalising reflection of contemporary Aotearoa, bursting with the best of current New Zealand Theatre.
The Intricate Art of Actually Caring by Eli Kent
Manawa by Jamie McCaskill
Sheep by Arthur Meek
Rewena by Whiti Hereaka
The Road that wasn't There by Ralph McCubbin Howell
Fix by Jess Sayer
Riding in Cars with (Mostly Straight) Boys by Sam Brooks
Eloise in the Middle by Emily Duncan
Available here.

The Plays of Bruce Mason: A Survey

by John Smythe
This is the first comprehensive survey of Mason’s dramatic works. In capturing particular times, places and people with eloquent insight, humanity and wit, his plays invariably distil timeless and universal themes with distinction. In this critical overview, John Smythe interrogates each text to reveal the artistry of a master craftsman at the edge of socio-political awareness.
A co-publication with Victoria University Press. Available here.

Children of the Poor

by Mervyn Thompson
Now back in print, Mervyn Thompson's deeply moving and immensely powerful adaptation of John A. Lee's autobiography. A stirring impassi
oned reworking of a forgotten part of our own history and one of our most popular plays for schools. With new study notes by Susan Battye. Available here.

1 April  - Playwrights b4 25 submissions close
1 June - Brown Ink and Asian Ink submissions close
1 August - Plays for the Young submissions close
1 December  - Adam NZ Play Award submissions close for 2017


Ira Gamerman for HowlRound
Ira Gamerman reports on Australian playwright David Finnigan's new play Kill Climate Deniers that has been funded through an arts grant from the Australian government and called out as a waste of government arts spending although it hasn’t premeried yet.
Read more here

Patrick Gabridge for HowlRound
Playwright Pat Gabridge describes the experience of seeing the same production of his play in Massachusetts and Maryland.
Read more here

Queensland Theatre Company’s new Artistic Director Sam Strong is thinking nationally with a new approach to artistic direction.
Read more here


by Anthony McCarten

Salzburger Landestheater, Salzburg, Austria 5 February – 24 April 2016
After a terrorist attack on the London underground, Azime, a shy twenty year-old from a Kurdish family realises that she must speak out. In her own way. She secretly signs up for a comedy acting course, slips on a burka and gets on stage…. as a world-first muslim female comic. Her appearance is dynamite.

The Ballad of Jimmy Costello
by Tim Balme

De Noorder Smederij, The Netherlands 12 February - 30 April 2016
In the 1960s New Zealanders began cheering on a car thief-prison-escaper and inadvertently promoted a small town kiwi boy from petty criminal to multi-prison escapee to National folk icon... A hero who ran rings around the police in his many bids for freedom. Inspired by a true story.

The ACB with Honora Lee
by Kate De Goldi, adapted by Jane Waddell

Circa Theatre at the NZ Festival 27 February – 26 March 2016
A charming exploration of kindness, patience and acceptance, it follows the relationship between young Perry and her eccentric Gran, Honora Lee, who’s losing her memory. As more and more words slip from Gran’s grasp, Perry furiously gathers them up, turning them into an illustrated and disorderly alphabet book, which becomes a gift of love to her grandmother.

The Underarm
by David Geary and Justin Gregory

Silly Mid On Productions Australian Tour 4 March – 2 April 2016
Two Brothers. One Ball. So Much Lost. It’s just not cricket This is the story of two brothers ripped apart by the most infamous act in trans-Tasman sport. As adults, they are reunited at another test clash in Wellington. What results is a tumultuous ride through sport, politics and the ugly side of broken families and, of course, the perennial sledging match that is Aussie-Kiwi relations.

Bill Massey's Tourists
by Jan Bolwell

Handstand Productions at Hamilton Fringe 9 - 11 March 2016
Bill Massey’s Tourists tells of the experiences of Jan Bolwell’s grandfather in World War One. The solo play is peppered with dance sequences set to raunchy WW1 soldiers’ ditties and poems, giving an instant flavour of the time and summing up the feelings of the soldiers.

The Devil’s Half Acre
by Ralph McCubbin Howell

Trick of the Light Theatre, NZ Festival 9 – 13 March 2016
Set in the slums of gold rush-era Dunedin, when the powerhouse of New Zealand lay south of the Waitaki River rather than north of the Bombay Hills. Conjuring a landscape of brothels, gaming houses and opium dens; a melting pot of immigrants from all over the world — prostitutes, prospectors, beggars and conmen, the newly rich and newly broke, perhaps even the devil himself…

Winston’s Birthday
by Paul Baker

Fortune Theatre 12 March - 2 April 2016
Secrets are revealed, resentments released and new understandings formed in this fresh and funny perspective on an iconic and larger-than-life family. It’s 1962 and Randolph Churchill is holding a luncheon party to celebrate the 88th birthday of his admired but estranged father. Sir Winston is a fading force and there is unfinished business in his loving but dysfunctional family.

Miss Jean Batten
by Phil Ormsby

Flaxworks Theatre at The Basement 29 March – 9 April 2016
Jean Batten’s 1936 flight from England to New Zealand in a single engine plane made of wood and fabric navigating with just a compass and a watch is one of the extraordinary feats of the last century. Jean Batten – Flying in the face of danger and convention. A new solo show from Flaxworks.

The Seven Sons of Suppararth
by Uther Dean

My Accomplice at BATS 29 March – 9 April 2016
The War of the Nine Veils is over! The seven sections of the state of Supparath must decide how best to punish the dastardly dark demonlord Krunk! A council is called, a fellowship is formed. Now the Seven Sons of Supparath must assemble the legendary Winch of Fate!  Wizards! Orcs! Trolls! Elves! Short people!

You Can Always Hand Them Back
by Roger Hall, music and lyrics by Peter Skellern

Auckland Theatre Company 31 March – 16 April 2016
Maurice and Kath's kids have left home; the nest is finally empty and a life of gin, golf and overseas jaunts awaits. That is, until the grandchildren arrive. With grace and good humour (and a little song and dance), old rhythms are given new life as they embrace the delights and demands of bath time, babysitting and bundles of joy. Roger Hall puts the grand into grandparenting.

Stag Weekend
by Dan Bain and Brendon Bennetts

Centrepoint 1 April – 14 May 2016
A stag party hunting trip to the Tararuas for four overconfident and under-qualified city boys becomes increasingly dangerous - and hilarious - as they fumble towards discovering what it means to be a Kiwi bloke in 2016. It's an unwise combination of boys, beer and bush. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong. The hangover from this stag weekend will stay with them forever.

Joyful and Triumphant
by Robert Lord

Circa Theatre 2 April – 7 May 2016
This outstanding award-winning New Zealand play returns to celebrate Circa’s 40th birthday Anniversary. Spanning forty years of Christmas Days from the 40s to the 80s in the lives of the small-town Bishop Family, as they struggle and cavil and cuddle.

Beards! Beards! Beards!
by Ralph McCubbin Howell

Trick of the Light Theatre at BATS 5 – 9 April 2016
'Beatrix didn’t want a tiara. Beatrix wanted a Beard!' From Charles Darwin to Abraham Lincoln, Karl Marx to Mr Twit, it is said that the secret to power and greatness is all in the size and shape of the beard. A tale of one young girl’s increasingly inventive efforts to grow the world’s most magnificent beard.

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