Yesterday was playwriting Australia’s marathon “Breaking Down the Doors” which offered over 80 playwrights the opportuntity to have a section/scene of their work read by professional actors, facilitated by professional directors at Carriageworks. I was one of the few folk who attended over 8 hours of playreading (yep, I’m hardcore!) making notes on the plays I had seen or read before, writers I knew, writers I didn’t know and writers I want to know. It was large scale, impressive carousel of plays. By contrast Off the Shelf- an opportunity for plays to be developed over a month is an intimate affair: only 5 teams are selected- the readings are for an invited audience only. There are several scripts developed during Off the Shelf that have gone onto have a production- Combat Fatigue, Sexy Tales of Paleontology, Zetland and The Hideous Demise of Detective Slate have all been included in the Sydney Fringe, And Of the Causes of Wonderful Things is on at Next Wave Festival in Brisbane.

Queen Street Studio is a wonderful place to work… built on the vision of Sam Chester and James Winter, Queen Street Studio is an artist run rehearsal space, meeting and event venue that fosters and encourages the development of artists.


In the performing arts industry, sometimes it feel as though you are fighting a beaurocracy, being selected by administrators, not peers or artists… sometimes it is lonely and isolating. Queen Street Studio is the place where performers, performance makers and writers can come to be nurtured, develop work or process, and rehearse. I am honoured to be a part of the team at Queen Street Studio, and able to provide emerging writers an opportunity to develop new scripts.

Since the beginning of 2009, Off the shelf have housed 13 writer/director teams… 4 of which are playing right now in the Sydney Fringe Festival… 1 which is in the next wave festival… 1 has been included in STC’s residency program and has a reading at The Old Fitz next weekend and countless other projects born through the network of OFF THE SHELF have got projects on, or are pitching shows to independent spaces in Sydney. It’s a hub for writers and directors who are keen to develop their work, test it out, receive feedback and who want to put their work on. It’s a safe place for emerging writers- a place where ideas can be tried and tested. Where competition is removed and care is taken in providing feedback and a response to the work.

There are 5 slots for the final OFF THE SHELF for 2010… if you are keen to apply, just have a read of the guidelines, fill in a form by October 1st.

After the success of Off the Shelf in 2009, Queen Street Studio presents the fourth Off the Shelf – a residency for writers and directors interested in developing a script.

Off the Shelf is an opportunity for writers and directors to hothouse a script that is in the early stages of development. Off the Shelf is supported by the City of Sydney and aims to focus the skills of theatre practitioners on a previously unproduced script of their choice, whilst strengthening relationships between emerging writers and directors.

This is a unique opportunity to explore a script which may have been “shelved” or may be in a seed stage and needs a little bit of time, space and feedback to get to the next phase. Writers and directors are asked to submit the expression of interest form on the next page and also a script. It is recommended that writers do not direct their own work, nor perform in the showcase of the script: a cast will need to be confirmed upon selection.

Guidelines for Off the Shelf

We are looking for teams (writers and directors) who:

Have an unproduced script that needs some development;
Are interested in working together in a nurturing and collaborative environment to produce a 15-minute presentation of a scene from the script which will be performed in a studio showing at FraserStudios – Studio 10, managed by Queen Street Studio;
Are interested in building their network, skills and script in a non-competitive, supportive environment;
Can write to specifications whilst being mindful of the presentation challenges outlined below;
Will submit a proposal with a writer and a director attached being mindful that writers are not to perform nor direct their own work;
Would like to test an idea or concept in front of an invited audience who will provide them with feedback;
Are available to attend all meetings, rehearsals and the showcase which is held on Wednesday 17 & Friday 19 November, 2010.

15 hours of rehearsal space (starting 18th October – primarily on weekends);
Dramaturgical support;
An opportunity to show your work in front of industry professionals and an invited audience;
An open forum and written feedback from guests;
A photographer for promotional photos and archival materials;
Networking opportunities;
A playwriting toolkit workshop with an established playwright over four weeks: October 6, 13, 20 and 27.

Provide a first draft with your application;
Be Available for an interview if requested the week starting 5th April;
Be available to attend meetings and scheduled rehearsals;
Be willing to re-draft and refine your script over a four-week period;
Stage a showing of the work: whether it be a reading, a moved reading, or a performance, within the technical and practical limitations of the project.

If you would like to lodge an expression of interest to participate in this project please download and fill in the form (407KB PDF) and press submit on page 2 of the PDF by no later than 5pm on the 1st October 2010.

Contact Off the Shelf co-ordinator Augusta Supple