I’ve known Van Badham for a few years- first encountering her name in a newspaper article in 2006 about Australian Plays and then commissioning her in 2008 for the inaugural Brand Spanking New at New Theatre where she delivered a horrifyingly beautiful crass masterpiece directed by current VCA directing student Mark Pritchard. She has launched and promoted more artists from Wollongong than is possible to mention and she is a playwright with unparalleled distinction and energy… and one who’s movements in the world and in theatre I lovingly track through the medium of Facebook.

This morning’s emails revealed a press release sporting the name of one of Australia’s most prolific writers- Van Badham- had scored the job of literary manager at the Finborough Theatre in London. Best known in Oz as the unrelenting powerhouse of opinion and political theatre- Van Badham is a force to be reckoned with and 2010 is a big year for her- scoring a major book deal with Pan MacMillan, and this new position as a literary manager in one of London’s most prestigious theatre’s which discover and promote the writing of the best undiscovered talent.

Van’s 2009, from what I can tell, was peppered with nominations for every conceivable award in theatre writing in the country and was compelled overseas by opportunity and demand. Where are the women? They might just well be overseas. And it their gain is again our loss… but one thing is for certain- Van is a force to be reckoned with- hard working passionate and focussed and I wish her all the best for a HUGE 2010!

Here’s the press release below.

Following the appointment of our former Literary Associate Titas Halder as Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse, the Finborough Theatre has appointed a new team to manage its acclaimed Literary Department, working closely with Artistic Director Neil McPherson. The new team are Literary Manager Van Badham, Literary Assistant Daniel Burgess and Senior Reader Laura Jessop. The first fruits of their work will appear in Vibrant 2010 – An Anniversary Festival of Finborough Playwrights , celebrating the 30th year of the Finborough Theatre with 30 new plays by 30 UK and international playwrights, discovered, developed or championed by the Finborough Theatre including world premieres of brand new work from some of the hundreds of playwrights who began their careers with us.

Despite remaining completely unfunded, the Finborough Theatre has an unparalleled track record of discovering new playwrights who go on to become leading voices in British theatre. Under Artistic Director Neil McPherson, it has discovered some of the UK’s most exciting new playwrights including Laura Wade, James Graham, Mike Bartlett, Sarah Grochala, Jack Thorne, Joy Wilkinson, Simon Vinnicombe, Geoff Thompson, Alexandra Wood, Al Smith, Nicholas de Jongh and Anders Lustgarten. It is the only theatre without public funding to be awarded the prestigious Pearson Playwriting Award bursary (2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010) as well as twice winning Pearson’s Catherine Johnson Award for Best Play written by a bursary holder.

The Finborough Theatre Literary Department was founded in 2005 and was originally run by Alexandra Wood who went on to write The Eleventh Capital at the Royal Court Theatre which won her the 2007 George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright.

Neil McPherson, Artistic Director, says:
“We are very sorry to lose our former Literary Associate Titas Halder, but are also very happy indeed that other theatres and organisations such as the Donmar Warehouse and the Bush (with the huge success of James Graham’s The Whisky Taster) are recognising the talent that we have discovered and nurtured. We are sure that he will be a valuable addition to their team, and will be returning to the Finborough in the future.
And we are very happy indeed to welcome such a vibrant new team to work in our Literary Department, and to take the opportunity to remind everyone of the work that they do – as so much of their work happens behind the scenes. The Finborough Theatre’s mission remains to devote its time and energy to developing full-length plays from writers with exciting and original talent. We concentrate on giving new writers (of any age) what they need: experience and encouragement – without gimmicks.”

Literary Manager Van Badham is the award-winning writer of more than forty internationally-produced plays for stage, musical theatre and radio, and has just signed a three-book deal as a first-time novelist with Pan Macmillan Australia. Her play The Gabriels received its world premiere at the Finborough Theatre in January 2006, and subsequently became the first play by an Australian writer to be selected for New York City’s annual Summer Play Festival. She has had plays and musical theatre staged at seven Edinburgh Festivals, two Adelaide Festivals, in London at venues including the Royal Court Theatre, the Bush Theatre (for Paines Plough) and LAMDA (where she was Writer-in-Residence), on UK tour, and across her native Australia at venues including the Sydney Opera House and Victorian Arts Centre, and in the US, Iceland, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Slovenia. Her radio commissions have been for the BBC World Service, Radio 4 and Radio 3. Her first screenplay, We Come Home , received a 2007 development grant from the Australian Writers’ Guild. Her many awards include the Queensland Premier’s Award for Drama, Best Playwright Award from Fringe Report, the Australian Theatre for Young People’s ‘Write Now!’ Award, the Jameson Award for Screenwriting and the first Short+Sweet International Festival of Short Plays Awards for both Best Comedy and Best Play. She is currently under commission to the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, after recently completing commissions for Merrigong in Australia and Bern Stadttheater, Switzerland.

Congratulations Van- can’t wait to see what you find in your adventures as a literary manager!