Last day of the Australian Theatre Forum – and as promised, Jane Howard and I are having a frock off… She’s in yellow and I’m in blue… It’s a lovely Brisbane day and it’s a big day ahead.

I do think that perhaps collectively there is a little bit of sogginess around the Forum. There have been a LOT of conversations, collisions, confrontations and connections made. A LOT of presentations. A LOT of everything. Infact I feel a little punch drunk – and there are a few points of irritation – not enough breathing and thinking space to digest and regurgitate all the ideas – and also the small sheepish gibes of “you’re not going to blog about this are you?” in heated, wine-fuelled conversations.

Last night was very interesting (and entertaining) – there was a particular conversation I had with Laura Scrivano, Katrina Douglas and Polly Rowe around the question of “can anyone write a brilliant play given enough time, training and resources.” I think that writing a play is only a part of the theatrical equation – the production has a lot to do with it. The direction and the acting also plays a part. I do think that it is more likely that a brilliant play comes from a place of support, than not.

If it is not true that playwriting can not be taught, the resources that PWA is pumping into their outreach program is in vain. I don’t think it is. I think the investment in playwrights is essential – and you never know who will write the next brilliant new Australian play.

Are some people more practiced? Yes.
Are some people more exposed to writing and theatre? Yes
Are some people more ambitious? Yes
Are some more articulate? Yes

But I don’t think if you are smart, articulate, practiced and exposed to theatre – you necessarily have a perspective that is interesting, innovative, fascinating. It helps.

Then there is the question of talent. “Can quality/talent be taught?”

I think great plays can be found in unlikely places, from unlikely people, from backgrounds you wouldn’t expect. Talent is a slippery idea. And half of “talent” in the arts is finding and inventing opportunities to practice.

If talent was the be all and end all – no award-wining playwright would ever write a turkey… someone who was inherently talented could never fail. I just don’t think that’s so. I think practice is everything.

I’m OK about being alone in this opinion.