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I am informed by the venerable Van Badham that the collective noun is ‘a rivalry of playwrights’, which is to my mind an appropriate term, given writerly tendencies to immediately dislike anyone more successful or talented than us without ever having met them. Or is it just me? Either way. I’m in favour of a little healthy competition, robust debate or gentle ribbing (that sounds dirtier than I meant it) between peers. Of course, competition is much more interesting when there’s an actual prize at stake, like, say hard cash to bring out the best in us.

It’s not news that The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards left playwrights off the cut this year with some meagre platitudes by way of explanation. The story brought on some terrific debate a few weeks back at Theatre Notes and it’s heartening that it hasn’t died off – far from it. Next Monday May 17th there’s a get together in protest at the exclusion of theatre from the award at the MacQuarie Hotel. Details are at Cluster where you can RSVP or show support (if you haven’t already).

So if you care about new Australian theatre I’d check it out (or even if you don’t and just wonder what a rivalry of playwrights looks like) – it’s so rare that we get together in numbers, you can expect a few fireworks, or at least the occasional spark. If you think rivalry between playwrights is bad, try being a government bureaucracy denying us recognition. Trust me, I’ve hung out with some of these folks. They know how to talk – you don’t want to be on our bad side when we get our collective backs up.

Since Playwriting Australia is now in charge of the prizemoney, I’m hoping someone from there will be in attendance to consult with us about how it might best be spent. $30,000 is not a lot of money for an organisation, but it’s a hell of a lot to an individual. It’s not like I had a play on last year but for one am really indignant that the Government copped out on a prestigious award (well it was once – not anymore), and passed the buck(s). That money is rightfully ours!

see you there

12/05/2010 at 1:47 pm 6 comments

ARTISTS ONLINE? The Paradox of Creative Identity

artists tend to be more informed (correctly or not), more extreme and by their very nature, more vocal. The strategy “be nice” – while popular and effective in the commercial world, does not always apply to those of us hooked on expression.

Continue Reading 14/03/2010 at 6:45 pm 2 comments

When Less Variety is More… Bloggers Unite!

The uneasy shift toward economic caution displayed by Variety Magazine this week caused a few ripples. Sacking two full-time critics in favour of freelance fares writers a two-edged knife, as an exercise in cost-cutting it’s cynical; on the other hand it creates more opportunity for, well – freelance writers. But as a trend, overall it’s not that good for anyone.

Continue Reading 11/03/2010 at 2:25 pm 2 comments

Surviving in the Mainstrrrm

A prologue / preview / preamble / preliminary post pre-empting a progressive persuasion, picking apart the preconceptions of popular culture, performance and post-Howard arts funding.

Part Zero: Survivor Season Twenty: Heroes vs Villains

I’m no friend to ‘reality’ TV but this has become one of my favourite shows of recent times. It’s pure-grilled American cheese, true; and after ten years and nineteen seasons you have to hand it to the folks behind this for keeping it real. Rarely have you seen characters of this complexity outside HBO; and for that, each self-contained series provides its own fascinating insight into the human condition.

Continue Reading 09/03/2010 at 11:06 am 1 comment

CRITIC WATCH: Seven Deadly Sins of Criticism…

I feel much better now getting all that off my chest… thanks. Mea Culpa, all that…

Continue Reading 20/02/2010 at 11:41 am 1 comment

Harry Potter in Nude Horse Play

This is a two-part post looking at the culture of theatre programming and production in the context of the recent debate around gender inequity. I made a post here recently describing the clear imbalance as a symptom of a much wider issue in this industry – that of nepotism. The more I think about it the more I can see this is everywhere – and it is something which impacts the development of the craft on a global scale (I’ll leave out judgement on whether this impact is positive or negative). The fact is the culture of favours granted through personal intimation is so ingrained in the arts community you cannot avoid its reach. In the coming days I will be examining this in detail, beginning with the question that was the catalyst for a national debate. Who gets to put on shows and why?

‘On Merit’ pt 1: Celebrity Direct

Continue Reading 10/01/2010 at 10:37 am 4 comments

Twenty-Ten: A User Guide

Taking a tip from Dylan I’m not looking back at the year past but only ahead at the many exciting things to take in over the next one. Ten is upon us and I’ve put together a little A-Z of what’s to come. That’s twenty six events I’m psyched about- one every two weeks! Plus all the things I haven’t even heard about yet. Woah.

Continue Reading 04/01/2010 at 2:21 pm 7 comments

Caleb Spits The Dummy

I for one don’t believe for a second there is a culture of gender bias specific to the theatre world, apart from the myriad of great roles for men of course. Most of which are written by men of course. Historically women artists have had less than one percent of the opportunity men have had since theatre began. But this is 2009; women get plenty of opportunity, training and in my experience, seem to be everywhere in the arts.

Continue Reading 30/11/2009 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment



Everyone, Everywhere

I didn’t actually get to see this hugely popular show, even after offering sexual favours to certain ushers at the Sydney Theatre, to no avail. So I’m in no position to make any assessment over the accuracy of critical responses to the show, varied as they are – but it strikes me as interesting how such a production brings out the basic tenets of what stands for criticism in the wider community, and how we view theatre as a whole.

Continue Reading 07/11/2009 at 11:44 am Leave a comment

Time Out Steps Up to Recognise Independent Arts

one doesn’t think of their reviews as being anything approaching critical, the words “gushing praise” spring to mind when it comes to just about anything they write.

Continue Reading 30/10/2009 at 6:09 pm Leave a comment

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