Good morning Australia. Who are our playwrights?

It was time for an update and a special place to create a listing of Queensland playwrights. You will find them here and via the link in the side-bar to the left – Directory. Thanks for assisting.

I have been approached by David Loehr a theatre colleague in the US in a follow-up to a post you may have seen on the networks last week. Howard Sherman wondered why Canadian playwrights weren’t as well-known or produced in the US as they might be. It wasn’t long before Canadians responded with an introduction to writers in their various cities. Which brings us to this post.

Dave asked me if I would do a similar response introducing published and produced playwrights in my city and organise others round the country to do the same. Given the focus in this country on states rather than on cities, I’m going to suggest a state by state lineup, beginning with Queensland. I’ll then collate the submissions from interstate for a final post. This will find its way to the US-based 2amt blog (2am Theatre). 2amt gets lots of traffic and will be another way to get the word out to our American (and Canadian) chums. If you are reading this in New Zealand, get in touch with Greenroom and let’s set the ball rolling. Also, if you are in another Australian state, please send me though your submissions marked with the state. I am ashamed to say I can’t name any playwrights from SA, WA, TAS or the NT. I’ll learn something from the exercise too! Anyway …

So, I’ve started with some published playwrights in Queensland (below). There are many more who have not been published but whose work has been produced. In the interests of providing a context for the introduction to their work, I will mention only those whose work is accessible either in print or on line.

These names are literally off the top of my head and no offence is meant to anyone I’ve left off this very first scribble down. Could I ask you to add additional names in the comments section below. Also add plays and any link to a writer’s website which might help.

Quite an impressive bit of talent here, don’t you think?

  • Elaine Acworth
  • Lorna Boll
  • Bille Brown
  • David Burton
  • Stephen Carleton
  • Felicity Carpenter
  • Philip Dean
  • Daniel Evans
  • Wesley Enoch
  • Michael and Margery Forde
  • Murray Foy and Kate Wilson
  • Michael Futcher
  • Michael Gow
  • Elise Greig
  • Helen Howard
  • Sasha Janowicz
  • Nelle Lee
  • Hugh Lunn
  • George Landen-Dann
  • Katherine Lyall-Watson
  • Errol O’Neill
  • Deborah Mailman
  • Sean Mee
  • Sue Rider
  • Steele Rudd
  • Matthew Ryan
  • Jill Shearer
  • Sven Swenson
  • Barbara Stellmach
  • David Williamson

I’d like to catch the momentum on this particular matter so feel free to link and share with your networks.  As soon as you can would be wonderful.

Cheers dears!


13 Replies to “Good morning Australia. Who are our playwrights?”

  1. Here from Kris, a reader in NZ is a listing with information and links to New Zealand playwrights. Wonder how many of these Australian theatre goers are familiar with? (Ed).

    More information about each playwright and their plays, can be found on the Playmarket website Also some are on the NZ Book Council website Reviews of productions can be found on the Theatreview website (professional productions only)

    I wasn’t sure how much information you wanted – I’ve put a * next to the playwrights who’ve had productions this year in various places around NZ, along with the titles.

    Dave Armstrong* The Motor Camp
    Albert Belz
    Jean Betts
    Lynda Chanwai-Earle
    Ken Duncum
    Michelanne Forster
    Dianna Fuemana
    David Geary
    Miria George* Sunset Road
    Briar Grace-Smith
    Roger Hall* A Shortcut to Happiness
    Gary Henderson* Peninsula
    Eli Kent * The Intricate Art of Actually Caring, Black Confetti
    Hone Kouka * Tu, (I, George Nepia,about an All Black, premiered last year.)
    Robert Lord
    Anthony McCarten
    Greg McGee
    Bruce Mason * Awatea (revival coming up later in the year)
    Arthur Meek
    Dean Parker * The Tigers of Wrath (premiere coming up later in the year)
    Jo Randerson
    Victor Rodger
    Mervyn Thompson

  2. Published South Australian playwrights:
    Nicki Bloom (from Sydney, but based in Adelaide)
    Andrew Bovell
    Finnegan Kruckmeyer (now based in Tasmania)
    Verity Laughton (recently returned to Adelaide from Sydney)
    Sean Riley

    Available on
    Kit Brookman (now based in Sydney)
    Rosalba Clemente
    Tahil Corin (now based in Sydney)
    Duncan Graham (now based in Sydney)
    Caleb Lewis (now based in Sydney)
    Fiona Sprott

    Bovell and Kruckmeyer are the most well published and produced of the group: up there nationally with the most produced both in Australia and internationally. Kruckmeyer has had over 50 commissions from around the world. Bovell’s latest, When The Rain Stops Falling, toured the country in its first production; has gone on to several new productions here; a production in London; and several productions in the USA, including the Lincoln Centre.

    Bloom only has one original script (Tender) and one adaptation (Ibsen’s Ghosts) published so far, but with the number of commissions she’s working on and awards she’s been nominated for I can’t imagine she’s far off really becoming a national name. Tender has been produced or read in Sydney, Aubrey, Brisbane, Melbourne, NYC and London.

    Riley is quite prolific, and I’m very surprised his work isn’t published more, but Also A Mirror was just recorded for the ABC. I’m not sure how he fairs outside of South Australia.

    The four writers now based in Sydney with works on AustralianPlays are all on the way up and are people to watch; also joining them is Phillip Kavanagh, who is yet to be published but just won the Patrick White Award.

  3. Okay understandable. Andrew Bovell, Finegan Kruckemeyer, Reg Cribb, Daniel Evans, Linda Hassall, Marcel Dorney, Angela Betzien and David Megarrity are all published and you can find them on

    Also you can count Lucas Stibbard as he co-wrote boy girl wall with Matthew Ryan.

  4. Hi Anna and thanks so much. I am not sure all of these playwrights are published. In the interests of a fuller ‘introduction’ to a particular writer’s work, I will probably submit those whose work has been published in order to provide context.I’ll clarify the original post to assist.

  5. Off the top of my head I can think of two playwrights from SA:
    Andrew Bovell who wrote When the Rain Stops Falling and Speaking in Tongues, as well as some excellent films like Lantana.
    Finegan Kruckemeyer (who currently lives in Tasmania) is probably one of the most produced contemporary playwrights in Adelaide.

    And one playwright from WA:
    Reg Cribb, who wrote The Return and Last Cab to Darwin. is an excellent resource for finding playwrights and plays from all over the country.

    More QLD playwrights that come to mind:
    Daniel Evans (Holy Guacamole)
    Anna McGahan (He’s Seeing Other People Now)
    Linda Hassall (Post Office Rose)
    Marcel Dorney (Fractions) – though currently living in Melbourne
    Angela Betzien (Hoods) – though I think she is based in Melbourne
    David Morton (The Harbinger, co-written with Matthew Ryan)
    David Megarrity (The Empty City, Qld Premier’s Drama Award finalist)
    Rebecca Meston (Tracksuit Girl)
    Michelle Miall (Locard’s Principle, in development at QTC)

  6. In South Australia – Sean Riley. Fantastic. He has won all sorts of awards over the years. And there have been some memorable productions of his works including Beautiful Words, The Time of Ashes, Also a Mirror, Sad Ballad of Penny Dreadful, My Sister Violet, The Angel & the Red Priest, Significant Others and many more. He deserves more national recognition.

  7. And Shaun Charles

    Stace Callaghan has written a number of shows – still raw, when i was a boy, Between Heaven and Earth. Information online is a bit limited (references, reviews, etc – Stace’s online presence is predominantly in relation to her work as a healer).

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