I love new work.

I love spotting talent.

Like a botanist naming the trees he walks by. Like a child pointing at a train and saying “train”. I spot talent and point at it and say “talent.” Then by naming it… by pointing it out, I am compelled to share it. I love sharing talent. It’s thrilling.

I love finding talent. I unashamedly and publicly call it “treasure hunting”… (I have also been called the new work “truffle pig”- nosing out the good stuff from the earth… I love it.) I love when a new script lands in my inbox- with a note from a writer (usually littered with disclaimers and a few “don’t worry if you are too busy” lines…) it is a thrill- I just don’t know what I am going to find- the next Vanessa Bates? The Next Joanna Murray-Smith? The next Andrew Bovell? The next Caleb Lewis? It’s exciting and an honour to receive a script. I love being warmed by a story in play form, and the heat of my laptop and a cup of tea (I have been indulging in alot of Rooibos of late- too much some could say)… the three warm makers in which I delight.

In 2008, the scripts I got sent were wonderful and plentiful- I couldn’t sustain the level of attention needed- and so approached Queen Street Studio for a residency in which I could have some of the excerpts of plays I was sent being dramaturged and workshoppped… They refused my residency and gave me a contract- to develop and run OFF THE SHELF. I have had the great joy of reading ALOT of scripts from as far south as Tasmania, as far north as London and everywhere in between as writers local and afar have pressed “send.” And I am deeply honoured to receive their work- and then I have the near impossible task of selecting 5 for development.

On this occasion, the first Off The Shelf for 2010, I have created a partnership with inaugural Sydney Fringe- and exciting venture which has embraced the hub of the innerwest and created a home for the weird wonderful and unexpected. Headed by Kris Stewart the Fringe is going to be unlike anything we’ve seen in Sydney before- bright, bold and fuelled by passion and daring… and I am thrilled that this round of Off The Shelf has the potential to mount their work for a run in the festival.

Always excited by a diverse range of possibilities – the projects included in this round of Off the Shelf and Into the Fringe are:

Late Night Infomercials, written by Brooke Robinson, directed by Lisa Eisman
Peace at Last, written by John AD Fraser, directed by Lizzie Doyle
Sexy Tales of Paleontology written by Patrick Lenton, directed by Anne-Maree Magi
The Hideous Demise of Detective Slate written by Alli Sebastian-Wolf, Directed by Jane Grimley

With works ranging from sinister to sexy, absurd to scientific, poignant to pointed and political to romantic- there is something for everyone in this selection of works. The teams are made up of 20% of artists I have worked with before- and 80% who I am familiar with (personally or professionally)- and 100% of the works have something to offer an audience- a new perspective, a fresh idea, a sense of fun. This is the work I want to see-and I can’t wait to see how they develop… and what an audience will think of them.

I love new work. It’s thrilling. And you never know what’s around the corner.