I write for theatre and screen and I teach and mentor quite a bit as well. Becoming a playwright was a bit of an accident in the end.
My parents ran a youth theatre company so I was involved in theatre from a very young age, like baby Jane Hudson but with much less talent. It took me a long time to discover I wasn’t an actor. But I’m not.
I wrote my first play when I was in high school. It wasn’t so great either but it was ambitious as it involved about 100 people in my year. We had a lot of fun. But after that I didn’t write a play for nearly ten years.
Things were different a few decades back. There weren’t any training courses in writing and people coasted for longer than they do today, which had its benefits. I studied, worked in a whole range of jobs and finally became a high school teacher.
After a few years of teaching, I studied directing and then went on to be an artistic director and literary associate before returning to writing. But nobody really got my plays until I met director Alyson Campbell, who I was working with on a community theatre project for at risk gay and lesbian youth.
In Alyson, I found somebody who actually got what I was trying to do on the page. She didn’t try and get me to write like anyone else and as a director she made the perfect collaborator. If I had not have met Alyson, I might have given up because at that stage there weren’t programs supporting emerging artists like there are today.
I also think that this is why when I teach and mentor I am such a strong advocate of supporting writers to connect to their own voice. It’s very different from emulating other people’s work.
I have a very fertile imagination and I try to use it constructively to make theatre and film which allow us to see things about our world before us which can provoke us to consider it more deeply.
The significance of a writer’s own voice is an important thing to preserve. It is not only worth nurturing and supporting, it is worth protecting. In a world of quick copies and instant[ish] downloads, we need to protect the amazing range of distinct voices we have in this country, in the same way we need to protect our delicate reefs.
I have been very lucky to have been supported by the Copyright Agency in the past through a range of programs they have offered either to individual artists like me or to support they have provided to small to medium theatre companies who bring new Australian work to stage. The Copyright Agency has been instrumental in allowing me the support I needed to develop my skills and broaden my career opportunities.
If you are an individual creator who needs financial support, go to our Career Fund page.