Like many programs kicking off around March, the She Writes Collective had to quickly refocus our plans to include everyone’s new favorite co-worker, Zoom. Despite this, the collective has been anything but idle.
Starting things off, the collective had three fantastic online masterclasses with acclaimed playwright, screenwriter, director, and mentor, Jane Bodie. Jane’s work as a playwright includes titles such as Savages, Music, Hinterland, Still, This Year’s Ashes, A Single Act, and Lamb (to name a few), and have been performed all over the world; from London to Australia. The masterclasses covered a range of topics, including discussions on structure, character, timeline, and all of those things we think we understand until you’re sat down in front of a whiteboard. Questions were raised on how does a global trauma, like the one we’re experiencing now, change what feels relevant on our stages? And how do you choose, or not choose, to address that in your work?
We were also privileged to have a Q&A with writer, activist and theatre maker, Van Badham. Van is also vice president of the MEAA and a regular columnist for The Guardian. Van shared her amazing passion and insight into her incredible journey in becoming one of Australia’s most prominent playwrights.
The next step the collective will be taking is working closely with Dr Alyson Campbell and dramaturgs from the Victorian College of the Arts – both current students and recent grads – to start developing each writer’s individual projects. The partnership between VCA and Theatre Works will include developments, one-on-one partnerships between playwrights and dramaturgs, and (circumstances allowing), short play readings later in the year.
The collective has also welcomed two new team members: Briony Dunn and Erin Pattison. A directing graduate of NIDA, with a masters of Arts in Theatre (UNSW), and a participant in Melbourne Theatre Company’s 2020 Women in Theatre Program, Briony has been appointed as lead dramaturg for the She Writes collective. Having directed more than 30 plays, Briony’s current focus is text-based stories of all forms that have the transformation of women at their core. Briony will work with the collective to help develop their new works over the next year.
We have also welcomed Erin Pattison as a project manager. Erin is one of three founding members of indie theatre company Flesh Coloured Panties Productions, and was also a writer and performer on their award winning cabaret Baby Bi Bi Bi. You may also recognise Erin from behind the bar at Theatre Works, where she works as a part of our Front of House Team.