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As the epicentre for Australian independent theatre, Theatre Works invests in the development of new work. Our year-round development program enables independent artists by providing a supportive space to question, explore, learn and most importantly – make sense of the world today – as they create new work.

Theatre Works firmly holds its place in the arts eco system as a unique performance co-producer. We commission, develop, produce, program and promote some of the most exceptional independent theatre Australia has to offer and we proudly stand alongside artists at every step of their artistic journey.

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BY Iron Lung Theatre

Iron Lung Theatre will be developing August Strindberg’s The Stronger as part of their Company in Residence position with Theatre Works. The original translation and adaptation by WAAPA and Calle Flygare (Sweden) graduate, Julia Landberg, will be a world premiere on the Theatre Works stage! Written in 1889, The Stronger is a fascinating study of the shifting power between two women and a potential affair one had with the other’s husband.

A beautiful and twisted theatrical imagining of hysteria confused by the patriarchal push upon the wounded womb, set in Madeleine Albright’s hell: for women who don’t help other women. A 135 year old two-hander play by one of the fathers of modern theatre explores Queen Bee and mean girl behaviours with a chorus of 5 female actors embodying the text of one character. The process will involve a creative development to explore a new way of rehearsing for Iron Lung and a public showing in the latter half of 2022.

Iron Lung is a Melbourne-based independent theatre company directed by Esther van Doornum and Briony Dunn. The company produces classic and contemporary Australian, American and European text based work and create theatre of imaginative daring and emotional depth.

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Beau Wants to be a Billionaire

Life isn’t going well for Beau, until an appearance on the game show Who Wants to Be a Billionaire sends Beau’s world spiralling out of control in a clash of identity, family, love and grief. This new musical in development is a whacky, farcical over the top comedy packed to the brim with humour and heartache in contemporary Australia. 

Jackson Peele is a passionate writer, composer and recent graduate of The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (Music Theatre). Together with writing partner Conor Neylon he has written four original Australian musicals. Their work Beau Wants to Be A Billionaire was selected for a reading with ‘Home Grown.' Their musical The Beep Test won the ‘Julie Michael Cabaret Prize’ and was nominated for the Martin Sims Award at FringeWorld 2020. They recently sold out a season of their musical The House On Fire At The Edge of the World at Theatre Works at the beginning of 2021.


By Ranters Theatre

Ranters Theatre will engage well known Melbourne performer, Natasha Herbert, to create Acting Life, a solo performance that examines the thin line separating the act of performing from the act of living.

“Counting rehearsals, I have put on a coat approximately 5,000 times, cried over 3,500 times, much more than in my ‘real’ life, sat on a chair almost 6,000 times, lost a child at least 10 times, danced over 400 times, and died 7 times...”

Taking a specific time frame, the rehearsal period of an un-named theatre work, Acting Life investigates the process of ‘creating a role’ and the intersection with real-life experiences over the same time frame. The work dissects the ‘act of performing’ asking questions around authenticity and the multiplicity of everyday life.


Ranters Theatre is a group of Melbourne based artists that have been making work together since 1994. The work has been presented in theatres, inside homes, in gardens and on the streets. Each project is made as a response to the social and psychological contexts of contemporary living and acts as a kind of reframing of the everyday experience. Their work plays with the habitual languages of performance and is centred around the singular question of ‘how we perform ourselves.’ They collaborate with artists both nationally and internationally.

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Olivia Lee is expected to retire at the end of her tenure as a celebrated Chinese-Australian politician. Through a shocking blindside that rocks Parliament, Olivia bets against all odds for the biggest seat - risking her career, relationships and livelihood. politics aside is a quest of empowerment and the inevitable harm of reclamation in a place entrenched with systemic pushback.


Vivian Nguyen is an Asian-Australian playwright and actor, whose works explore race and class struggle. Her debut play was shortlisted for the Patrick White Playwright’s Award, and others were published as part of ATYP’s National Studio with Currency Press. She is an alumnus of Melbourne Theatre Company’s First Stage Program and was accepted into the Malthouse Besen Writers Program.

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The Countdown is a flaming family dramady about multiple generations of mistakes.

When a family comes together over New Years to finally scatter the ashes of their late father in a quiet ceremony, they are shocked to find out that matriarch BARB has thrown one of her famous NYE parties to mark the occasion – and the whole town is invited. If only a catastrophic bushfire wasn’t also on the guest list… As the fire approaches, things heat up at the family home and secrets and lies threaten to tear them apart, especially when festivities deteriorate into a post-apocalyptic wasteland complete with charred rat bites and toilet wine. Cut off from the rest of the world; to escape the flames the family will have to stop fighting, put their past mistakes behind them, and figure out how to battle a mysterious monster. Should be easy, right?

Lauren Anderson and Meegan May co-wrote award-winning comedy short The Ginger Conspiracy and recently expanded their storytelling practice to theatre - with short work for Theatre Works in 2019 as part of Green Room Award winning She Is Vigilante. The Countdown marks their first full length play and is being developed through Theatre Works She Writes program (with initial support from Creative Victoria). Their audio project Starship Gold Star has received funding from Creative Victoria, the City of Melbourne, and Moreland Council.

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By The Bloomshed

Green Room Award nominated dodgeball team Bloomshed go up against the Kindness of Strangers in a high-octane Battle Royale, the ultimate test of resilience. Get drenched in the sweat of these Titans of the court as they compete for the heart of ageing Southern Belle Tennessee Williams. You will get hit with balls.

Bloomshed have been making and developing agit-prop political work since 2014. Their most recent creative developments include, Bad News (Commissioned by Common Rooms x Melbourne Fringe), The Futurological Congress (Commissioned by Platform Arts) and Animal Farm (Commissioned by Platform Arts x Theatre Works). In 2020, Bloomshed were artists in residence at Platform Arts, where they developed Paradise Lost, which was transformed into a radio play during lockdowns and received five Green Room Award nominations. 

BY rachel neparstek

Written during lockdown, Rachel was inspired by the isolation she was feeling. The Dream Room is a semi-autobiographical musical featuring original music and lyrics. In her room, Rachel dreams and interacts with multiple characters including The Queen, Patrick Swayze and Freddie Mercury. Each character inspires her to fight back against the dreaded Coronavirus (a villain who torments her within her room). The Dream Room features epic dream sequences (including an escape to Hollywood) and ultimately encourages us to follow our dreams.

Rachel is a proud Jewish creator, and is in her element on the stage. She’s a playwright, director and performer. Rachel has performed with the Purim Shpiel Community Theatre for multiple years and is a member of the Liron choir. She takes singing lessons and has completed acting courses with the Acting Performance Studio. Rachel volunteers with La Mama and Salt Pillar and was a member of the Malthouse Vanguard Program. She works as a Front of House team member with Chapel Off Chapel and The National Theatre. Rachel plays the piano and dreams of being on stage with Patrick Swayze and Ken Jeong.

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