News and opportunities for New Zealand Playwrights.


"She doesn't have a phone in her car - it's not Star Trek"
From Hudson and Halls Live! by Kip Chapman, Todd Emerson and Sophie Roberts - Winner of the Playmarket Award for Best Line in a Kiwi Play at the 2015 Auckland Theatre Awards.

Kia ora <<First Name>>

The Playmarket Accolades are done and dusted which is the first signal of proximity to the year’s end. Christmas shows have opened; theatre awards ceremonies have been held in Dunedin, Wellington, and Auckland; the rate of progress in the Wellington Playmarket office is steadying, the Auckland office is strewn with scripts submitted for the Adam NZ Play Award as part of the huge reading programme that Stuart Hoar and two external judges undertake; the weather is warmer (mostly); we’re cleaning up those tasks that wait until there’s breathing space; and we close down for the holidays next Friday (re-opening 11 January).
Before then though there are clinics for Benjamin Teh’s Let’s Save the Universe, Tom McCrory’s Significance, James Nokise and Jo Randerson’s Rukahu, Miriama McDowell and Rob Mokaraka’s Cell Fish and Michelanne Forster’s The Gift of Tongues – Phew!
It has been a busy and productive year with the usual struggles but also with plenty of achievements.
We’re looking forward to the many arts and writers festivals around the country, Wellington’s includes a Spotlight on Playwrights programme at Circa; the myriad NZ works coming to our stages; and plenty of new work scheduled for development. A big task for 2016 will be our application for Creative NZ funding for the next few years. Playmarket’s current role has been re-articulated in the published results of the theatre review with the new title of Creative Development Services and includes different and wider responsibilities. What this might mean for us is not yet fully clear but we will be working on this once we return to work in January.
There have been other reviews and consultation happening such as the government review of copyright and registered design legislation in which I participated. Maori theatre practitioners held a national hui in Wellington which I hear was magnificent, and Te Pou held a hui on practice and process for taking care of each other in our work environments which Stuart and I took part in. This productive conversation was inspired by Playmarket’s cultural dramaturgy session at our Dramaturgy 2.0 conference. We have begun planning for 2017’s conference already.
Next year will be our biennial retreat year (June 21-28) and ten playwrights will be selected to spend a week in the country being fed and looked after while they write. Look out for the call for applications in March.
All of us here wish you the safest and happiest holiday season. Before we know it the deadline for our Playwrights b4 25 competition will be upon us so I advise all of you younger playwrights to use the holidays to draft or re-draft your entries…

Nga mihi mahana
Murray Lynch - Director of Playmarket



The Playmarket Award was presented to Jean Betts at the Playmarket Accolades and accepted on her behalf by her son Charlie.
The award was created to recognise a playwright who has made a significant artistic contribution to theatre in New Zealand, and grants a $20,000 cash prize. Jean’s body of work includes the acclaimed plays Ophelia Thinks Harder, Revenge of the Amazons, The Collective and The Misandrist. Jean began her career as an actor and director, graduating from the first class of the QE II Arts Council Drama School (now Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School) in 1970. She is a founding member of Circa and Taki Rua Theatres, Playmarket, Heartache and Sorrow Company, The Play Press, and the Women’s Play Press. Read more here.

The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award was presented to Jess Sayer. The award exists to recognise early success in the career of the winning playwright; to encourage their continued exploration of the theatre medium and grants a $10,000 cash prize. Jess Sayer is an actor and playwright living and working in Auckland and Rotorua. She has won the Playmarket b4 25 competition three times, and been shortlisted for the Adam NZ Play Award twice. She co-founded Junket Theatre Company in 2012 and has since staged four of her own works: Elevator, Wings, Crunchy Silk and Fix at The Basement Theatre in Auckland. Elevator has also been produced in the USA, while Wings has had seasons in Wellington, Dunedin and Palmerston North. Read more here.

Thanks to all those who came and helped make the afternoon such a success. You can see Philip Merry's amazing Accolades photos on our Facebook page here.


The offices will close at 5pm on Friday 18 December 2015 and reopen on Monday 11 January 2016.

Rex McGregor's one-act play Three Weird Mornings at the Library has been placed Runner-Up in the Sterts One-Act Play Competition in Liskeard, Cornwall, UK. It received a staged reading at the Sterts Theatre on December 5, 2015.

Elspeth Sandys has been awarded the eight-week Autumn Residency at the Michael King Writers’ Centre to work on her latest project; volume two of her memoir that will cover a period in the 1960s and 70s and will look at how time, place and historical events are agents of one’s personal story.

Congratulations to Helen Vivienne Fletcher who received the The Peter Harcourt Outstanding New Playwright of the Year Award for her play How to Catch a Grim Reaper. Also nominated were Jess Sayer for Wings and Cassandra Tse for Long Ago, Long Ago. (Image: Christopher Brougham)

Congratulations to Jamie McCaskill who received the Outstanding New New Zealand Play Award for Not in Our Neighbourhood. Also nominated were Pip Hall for Ache, Patrick Evans for Gifted, and Cassandra Tse for Long Ago, Long Ago. (Image: Christopher Brougham)

Congratulations to Philip Braithwaite who received the Robert Lord Award for Script/Narrative of the Year for The War Play at the Dunedin Theatre Awards.

Congratulations to our clients who have made the longlist!
The Antipodeans by Greg McGee (Upstart Press)
The Back of His Head by Patrick Evans (Victoria University Press)
The Villa at the Edge of the Empire: One Hundred Ways to Read a City by Fiona Farrell (Penguin Random House)
Shaggy Magpie Songs by Murray Edmond (Auckland University Press)

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

Set and realise your playwriting goals. 
For twelve years now Rebecca Mason, executive coach, the daughter of playwright Bruce Mason, has been offering a life coaching scholarship to playwrights who would benefit from setting and realising their goals. Rebecca works with playwrights remotely.
If you’re interested in receiving this coaching please apply in writing to Murray Lynch with your C.V and a short submission outlining your vision for playwriting and why you would benefit from the coaching.

Kathryn returns with her popular series of workshops in 2016. First up is a Kickstart Writing Workshop on 31 January. This supportive, dynamic writing workshop is a fun, time efficient way to get your idea out of your head and onto the page. Spend a designated writing day creating and expanding your story.
See her latest newsletter here for more information.

This fixed-term Residency at the University of Canterbury has been created to foster NZ writing by providing a full-time opportunity for a writer, or writers, to work on an approved writing project in an academic environment.
The position is full-time and tenable for up to twelve months at the University at the rate of $57,213 per annum.
The Residency may be split between two writers for a period of up to six months each.
See the website here for more information.
Applications close 13 December 2015

The NZ Society of Authors Mentor programme for 2016 seeks applications from writers and comic / graphic novelists looking for professional development, a safe space to discuss their work, intellectual community, role models, accountability and substantive feedback.

 This programme is open to financial members of the NZSA.
There are 12 full and 2 half mentorships available in 2016 including three mentorships for emerging writers identifying as Maori, Pasifika, and Asian.
See their website here for more details.
Applications close 5 February 2016.


This one-year intensive is for writers who are serious about making movies. Where other programmes limit you to a first draft, the MCW aims to take you from idea to second draft screenplay ready to present to film companies. See their website here for more information.


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 impassioned 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


Koraly Dimitriades for Daily Life
In theory, the arts should be a radical entity – but it's not. Radical art exists on the fringes, underground, while the safer and 'cleaner' art – which bores me – also tends to get promoted and reviewed favourably. The first time I understood this was when a publisher praised my unpublished manuscript for its well-formed characters, strong story, but had reservations about the 'literary nature of the book'.
Read more here

Natalie Gershtein for HowlRound
Independent producer Natalie Gershtein considers the playwright-producer relationship. Where she once thought that playwrights were waiting and hoping for a first production, she now comes across playwrights who want to hold out for a larger company.
Read more here

Steve Lyons for HowlRound
A good theatre review is one that helps readers determine if a play is one they’d be interested in attending.
Read more here

Dennis Abrams for Publishing Perspectives
The foundation that holds the copyright on The Diaries of a Young Girl by Anne Frank plans to extend it by adding her father as “co-author.”
Read more here

Deborah Vankin for Los Angeles Times
"The agenda is to create a trap — for the audience and myself, so that we can't get out of whatever problem the play is wrestling with … I'm trying to make work people can't so easily dismiss."
Read more here

Katori Hall for The Root
Playwright Katori Hall compares the casting of a white actor as Martin Luther King Jr. in a production of her play to the erasure of black bodies on the streets of America.
Read more here

Diep Tran for American Theatre
Two universities in the USA have been embroiled casting controversies; Clarion University cast two white actors in Lloyd Shuh's play Jesus in India while Kent State University cast a white actor as Martin Luther King Jr. in a production of Katori Hall's The Mountaintop.
Read more here
Lloyd Suh's statement on his Facebook page is available here.

Howard Sherman
Are some theatre programmes and theatrical groups at the college level advancing the belief that scripts can be altered at will, or elements ignored? Are schools teaching both the legal and ethical implications of artists’ rights and copyright law, not just to playwrights but to all of those who study theatre? Are there professors and program directors who believe that anything produced on a campus falls under the fair use exemption for educational purposes under the copyright laws?
Read more here


Hudson & Halls Live!
by Kip Chapman with Todd Emerson and Sophie Roberts

Silo Theatre at Auckland Live 5 November – 12 December 2015
And we’re live! The oven’s caught fire, David is drinking and Peter has bad news. In this immersive new work, we meet two of NZ’s trailblazing TV personalities at a pivotal point in their relationship and up to their eyeballs in cold cheese soup and melting cream castles. Before Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules there was Hudson & Halls - NZ’s original great gay love story.

Boys at the Beach
by Alison Quigan & Ross Gumbley

Centrepoint Theatre 7 November – 19 December 2015
In 1973, the New Zealand cricket team has lost to Australia, and a holiday for four young men is about to transform into a lifetime bond when, together, they buy a section at the beach. Spanning 23 years, we see the blokes (and later their families) drink, sing, play cricket, and hang around the barbie.

Flagons and Foxtrots
by Alison Quigan & Ross Gumbley

Fortune Theatre 14 November - 12 December 2015
Sid has been running the local dance hall for years but tonight will be unlike any other! Archie has big dreams of stardom but he has two obstacles: his hormone-ravaged brother Pinkie and the fact that Sid won’t even let them play! Throw in Jack and Jillian’s rocky romance, Rita’s pulse-racing twist lessons, a few sneaky pints and sooner or later someone’s bound to step on someone else’s toes...

Robin Hood
by Roger Hall. Lyrics by Paul Jenden, Music by Michael Nicholas Williams

Circa Theatre 21 November - 20 December 2015 and 2 - 9 January 2016
With loaded bow behind a tree you never know where he will be! (Behind You!)
He moves like velvet, sleek and svelte around the Wellington town belt!
His eye is quick, his aim is sure, he robs the rich to feed the poor!
He’s always on the side of good, the hero known as Robin Hood!
A pantomime for one and all!

Jesus Christ Part II
devised by Thomas Sainsbury, Gareth Williams, Jason Smith, Lara Fischel-Chisholm and Oliver Driver

The Basement Theatre 27 November – 20 December 2015
This is the second coming that you never saw coming. In a last ditch to save humanity, God sends Jesus back for another go at it. This time Jesus is determined to nail it, without getting nailed. Will he succeed? Each night the audience will decide…

Christ Almighty!
by Natalie Medlock and Dan Musgrove

Bella Union, Melbourne 4 – 6, 9 – 10 December 2015
A promiscuous archangel, a wise man with multiple personality disorder, a psychotic King, a desperate donkey, a smitten shepherd, one dodgy innkeeper, and some knocked-up virgin and her baffled fella. Eight versions of the greatest story ever told, by those who were there, in monologue ... up close and personal. This is no silent night – It’s Christ Almighty!

The Santa Claus Show
by Tim Bray

Tim Bray Productions at The Pumphouse 7 – 22 December 2015
A magical Christmas story for the whole family. Santa helps reveal the pleasure of giving. Kelly and Alana are best friends and decide to write to Santa Claus. But Kelly sends the longest list of things that a child wants for Christmas that Santa has ever seen. Santa flies Kelly to the North Pole so she can learn for herself the true meaning of Christmas.

Nga Puke
by John Broughton

Te Pou Theatre 10 – 12 December 2015
Angela Duncan is a nurse and an artist. Waru Thompson finds her painting on his farm, and a friendship develops. The second act is set in Crete, 1941, and Angela and Waru, now nurse and wounded soldier, meet again.

Mrs Merry's Christmas Concert
by Geraldine Brophy

Nextstage at Little Theatre Lower Hutt 15 - 19 December 2015
Mrs Merry is a relief teacher for Room 7 whose usual teacher, the beloved Mrs Dawson, has suddenly gone into labour on the Hutt motorway. It is the eve of their end of year school concert and Mums, Dads, and family members are gathered to see their six-year-old darlings explain the meaning of Christmas through song and dance . . . and mayhem! A feel good, family comedy.

A Scene from The End of the Golden Weather
by Bruce Mason
Takapuna Beach Reserve, 10am Christmas Day 2015.
This Christmas day tradition celebrates it's 10th anniversary! Stephen Lovatt performs the Christmas Day scene from The End of the Golden Weather.

Badjelly the Witch
adapted by Alannah O'Sullivan from the book by Spike Milligan

The Court Theatre 20 – 30 January 2016
Tim and Rose are looking for Lucy the Cow in the big, black forest when they are captured by Badjelly the Witch. Help! Will Binklebonk the Tree Goblin, Mudwiggle the Worm and Dinglemouse rescue them from Badjelly? Or will they be turned into sausages?

The Road That Wasn’t There
by Ralph McCubbin Howell

Trick of the Light at Fringe World, Perth, Australia 27 January – 6 February 2016
In New Zealand, there are some 56,000 kilometres of paper roads – streets and towns that exist only on surveyors' maps. Or do they? A young woman strays from the beaten track and finds herself in a paper world. It seems to be a land of possibility, but she soon discovers that things that happen in the fictional world can have frighteningly real consequences.

Winston’s Birthday
by Paul Baker

The Court Theatre 6 – 27 February 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.

by Dean Parker

Auckland Theatre Company at the Maidment 11 February – 5 March 2016
Auckland's A-List clusters in Clevedon for a glorious weekend of passes and pony shots. And a little polo. Saddle up for a raunchy, riotous ride on the wild side. Dean Parker lifts the lid on Auckland's outrageously fortunate and filthy rich in a glossy summer satire with stick and balls. No one who's anyone can afford to miss the world premiere scandal-fest of Polo!

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