Playwrights are an interesting species in the kingdom of “Artists”… Like many artists they are solitary- but they have a collaborative spirit- because their artform relies on a congenial coming together of minds, hearts and bodies to create something for an audience… they are generous. They give voice to actors, narratives to directors, they give an audiences ideas. They are artistically powerful people who inform and dictate- and yet they are generous and patient and philosophical… How many times has a playwright had their work fumbled by the mouth of a nervous actor, or misdirected by an ambitious yet green director? and yet- generally they remain focused on the art.

There is no celebrity in play writing. Heck, there is barely any money… but there is a community of them springing up…

An online touchstone for me is the 7-On Blog:
which is a wonderful hydra-voiced point of reference and perspective from some of Australia’s key established playwrights.

Another group- WRITE CLUB…. (which you can guess the first rule is…) meets to talk about anything BUT their own work…

Then there is the tentatively named TEWS- The Emerging Writers Studio- which meets at Belvoir.

And there is surely a lot more- people in lounge rooms, in kitchens, in rehearsal rooms talking about writing, about their work, each others work etc… just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they don’t exist…

However, it seems that playwrights are under threat as the Australia Council has not provided key organisational funding to The Australian Writes Guild… I received the “Call to Arms” email which I have copied below- for your interest… The most inspiring thing about this really is how people are being mobilized to act, to talk, to fight … long may it continue…


The pool of core funding available for organisations who support and provide services to playwrights is around $300,000. None of this is being given to your Guild. It has all been allocated to one organisation, and your protest has not been heard.

We have your petition and now we want to know more about what support you think you should be getting from the Australia Council.

Nationwide rallies are being called so that members can come together, speak their minds and plan our next steps.


In March this year 250 Guild members signed a petition to the Arts Minister to protest the decision of the Australia Council not to provide organisational support for playwrights to the AWG.

We submitted the petition to the Australia Council in the first instance, and embarked on a series of meetings seeking a logical and fair response.

We have now reached the end of the discussion process and there has been no back-down. We have no option now but to forward the petition so many of you signed to the Minister.

There is no opportunity to apply again for organisational support from either Theatre or Literature Boards until 2013 for funding in 2014.

We can apply to the Literature Board for project funding in October, which we will of course do, but that does not provide the core, reliable support that playwrights deserve for their national membership body.

There are no project funds available for AWG playwright professional development from the Theatre Board.

After years of being locked into an outdated key organisation grant of $20,000 we have now been de-funded as a key organisation, despite a huge increase in membership and programmes since we first applied for that level of funding 8 years ago.

The AWG was the only applicant who previously had core funding as a key organisation, who was not even permitted to provide a full application with a detailed programme of activities for consideration.

We have made it clear to the Australia Council that any funding from them would go directly to services for playwrights. We are well established, we do not need public funding to pay our rent or our salaries – every dollar they provide will go directly to services for members.


Rallies will take place in major capital cities and virtual meetings will be organised for members outside these areas.

If you can help organise a playwright rally in your city please contact Brad Taylor via