Lachlan Philpott named inaugural Inscription Fulbright playwriting scholarship winner

March 5, 2014

Lachlan Philpott has been named the winner of the inaugural Fulbright Scholarship for an established Australian playwright to spend three to four months in the US developing a new play.

The scholarship (worth $32,000) is sponsored by script-development organisation Inscription, and is supported by Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, the Australian Council Literature Board and Friends of Inscription. It is awarded specifically for the purpose of creating a new work of theatre.

Lachlan will work with the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) in San Francisco, and will collaborate with Master of Fine Arts students to write a new play. The plan is for the play to subsequently premiere at ACT and be produced elsewhere in the US, Australia and beyond.

Inscription selected Lachlan for the prestigious scholarship in recognition of his impressive playwriting credentials. He is a Sydney-based writer, whose award-winning works include Silent Disco, Truck Stop, and Colder. In 2013, he had new works premiere at The Traverse Edinburgh, the Mac Belfast, Perth Theatre Company, Tamarama Rock Surfers Sydney, Canberra Youth Theatre Company and Brisbane Girls’ Grammar. Lachlan is also a teacher, mentor and dramaturg, and is currently the Chair of the Australian Writers’ Guild Playwrights Committee.

Lachlan says the importance of the scholarship is that it gives mid-career playwrights the opportunity to work overseas and build an international profile.

“I’ve been lucky enough to travel to the US on grants a few times, but with this scholarship, the entire purpose is to create a new piece of work, which is really exciting. Given I’ve already made connections on previous visits with the ACT in San Francisco, I can hit the ground running and dedicate all of my time there to writing a great play.”

“I hope my work will lead to a production at the ATC, and then I’m planning to come back to Australia. I’m completely thrilled about this opportunity that Fulbright, Inscription and Copyright Agency have given me. Most of my plays are set in Australia and I’m proud of their Australianness, but it will be interesting to immerse myself in a new culture in San Francisco and see how that influences my work.

“I think we all have a lot to learn from international exchange, and this scholarship allows Australia to have ambassadors who are thinkers and intellectuals. That’s really important,” he said.

The scholarship is open to established Australian playwrights with a track record of professionally produced work. Applicants should have a postgraduate qualification or a minimum of 10 years’ work experience. They should also have a record of achievement and an established leadership profile within the field.

Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund’s first grant to Inscription was in 2006. As of 2014, the Fund will support the Fulbright Scholarship with an annual grant of $20,000 for three years.

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