The Next Step

There’s a lot of conversation happening in the sector. About everything. There’s certain circles that say you’re not valid unless you’ve got an opinion. I’ve had people say that being outraged is a necessary to being an artist. We have an Artistic Director of the State Theatre Company blogging through Facebook almost daily. There seems to be more forums than ever. More conferences, more meetings, just more talk.

It’s easy to inference from the discussion that this is a time of innovation in the theatre sector. Hopefully, it’s always a time of innovation in the theatre sector. If I was to try and summarise all of the talk that’s been happening in the last few days, and attempt to boil down my point of view, I stick by what I said in the video: for a truly diverse and economically strong theatre sector, we need a balancing of the scales between performance art style collaborative pieces and shows with a rigorous writing process. The trouble is, the nurturing of playwrights is getting more and more scarce in this town. We’re in danger of losing a generation of potential playwrights and not honing their skills.

Let’s do something about it. Tell me what you think of the following:

  • More support for formalised one-on-one mentoring, facilitated by theatre companies and production houses, specifically for writers. One of the most helpful models for assisting writers is one-on-one mentoring. It can be more expensive than holding classes, where an established writer teaches to a group of thirty for a couple of hours, but is way more effective. Writers, we need to be willing to split costs with the production houses and give up some of our expenses. After all, a mentorship will affect our entire career, not just the play we’ll write for that particular company. Theatre companies and production houses, you need to meet us halfway.
  • Is it too much to ask (a serious question, is it too much to ask?) for Queensland Theatre Company to commit to staging at least two new Queensland works a year that are part of their main stage program? QTC are doing a lot at the moment for developing writers, and are commissioning work for their youth sector, BUT, main stage shows are a deliberate and meaningful showcase. A commitment such as this shows that QTC are serious about showcasing and developing writers. La Boite have done this for two of their main stage shows this year, and I’d hope they would continue, as well as providing more writers in residence programs like their project this year. It would be fantastic if Metro could support a mentorship or writer in residence program. Hopefully this means more writers will pop up on their respective indie programs.
  • Writers, write good work. Learn to write to a brief. Listen to the market. Write work that’s responsive. Write work that, when pitched, you are able to designate to a clear and well-defined market.

In complete contradiction to my last point, next week I’ll be writing aboutDungeons and Dragons and Harry Potter fandom. But I’ll be bugging you all about this again soon, no doubt.