Writing produced includes the plays The Secret House (Griffin; Hole In The Wall; Playbox), Half Safe (RTC; Griffin), Photographs (CSU), On The Public Record (ECTC), Across The Water (Valley Artists) and Never a Moment’s Peace (ECTC) and for television episodes of the acclaimed ABC medical drama GP. In 2004 his play Later (now known as Across The Water) was invited to be workshopped at the prestigious Banff playRites Colony in Canada where it received universal praise from the selection committee. He was an assessor for Page to Stage, a young playwright’s program, for which he has also conducted playwriting and dramaturgy workshops. He is an assessor for Parnassus’ Den, a resource for Australian playwrights. He has also written numerous corporate and training videos for Optus Communications, State Rail and others. He was Dramaturge and Associate Director for the hugely successful Codgers by the now late Don Reid at Riverside Parramatta. Currently he is working on two new projects of his own and is writing the middle play in the Codgers trilogy at the request of Producer/Director Wayne Harrison and the partner of the late Don Reid, Fiona Press.
In 2015 Katie Beckett received the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award. ‘I’m thrilled that Katie Beckett is the recipient of this year’s Balnaves Award,’ said Anthea Williams, Belvoir’s Associate Director – Literary and a member of the judging panel for the Balnaves Award. ‘Katie plans to write the story of the new, and largely unknown, Stolen Generation. In NSW 6300 Indigenous children are wards of the state. This number is nearly 10% of the Aboriginal child population. Katie is writer with great passion who believes this story needs to be uncovered. The judges were convinced both her unique voice and her commitment to developing her writing craft.’ The Balnaves Award was established in 2012 to encourage the telling of Indigenous stories. Its inaugural winner was Nakkiah Lui, whose play Kill the Messenger was staged at Belvoir earlier in 2015 and featured Katie. She also appeared in Belvoir’s 2013 play Coranderrk, television series Redfern Now and short film The Drover’s Boy, which will screen at the Sydney Film Festival. Katie is also working on a play, Which Way, inspired by her relationship with her father, with Melbourne’s Ilbijerri Theatre.
Merlynn Tong is an Actor and Playwright. Some of her recent performances include White Pearl (Sydney Theatre Company & National Theatre of Parramatta), The Shot (Queensland Theatre, The Scene Project), Harrow 2 (ABC), Reef Break (ABC/M6), Top of the Lake: China Girl (BBC & Sundance Films, Jane Campion), What I’m Here For (Elbow Room & Flowstate), The Mathematics of Longing (La Boite Theatre), The Lost Lending Library (Punchdrunk & Imaginary Theatre), Hotelling (Bleached Arts), Bitch: Origin of the Female Species (Brisbane Festival), Blue Bones (Playlab & Brisbane Powerhouse), Viral (Shock Therapy Productions, Gold Coast Arts Centre), Straight White Men (La Boite Theatre), Ma Ma Ma Mad (Brisbane Powerhouse), The Theory of Everything (Brisbane Festival), The Wizards from Oz (Taiwan, Taoyuan International Children’s Festival) and Hot Brown Honey (Judith Wright Centre).
As a playwright, she has published two of her one-woman shows, Ma Ma Ma Mad, the true story of her mother’s suicide and Blue Bones, a semi-autobiography of teenage romance as it blossoms then warps in heat of bustling Singapore. In 2018, Merlynn wrote Good Grief, a play for Queensland Theatre’s The Scene Project. In 2019, she will be adapting Antigone for Queensland Theatre. Her solo work Blue Bones has recently won 6 Matilda Awards including the Lord Mayor Award for Best New Australian Work, Best Mainstage Production and Best Female Actor in a Leading Role.
Elise’s first play, Crèche and Burn was a box office and critical success as part of La Boite Theatre’s 2005 mainhouse season and then received an extensive 10-week national tour. Her next play, The Sweet Science of Bruising, was shortlisted for the 2010 Playwriting Australia Festival. This was followed by Hopelessly Devoted, which was supported by RADF and culminated in a highly successful season at Glen Street Theatre, in Sydney, during 2014.
During 2015/2016 Elise co-wrote All Aboard!, a site-specific work for children, that was presented as part of Bleach* Festival 2016. As part of All Aboard! Elise had the pleasure of writing two songs – Things Move On and All Aboard! Elise has also written for cabaret. Are My Balls Still in the Air? was performed as part of the Brisbane Cabaret Festival 2004 and Mornings With Maryanne Merrily, for the 2006 Brisbane Cabaret Festival. Elise’s short play, Flood, was presented as part of Short+Sweet 2014.
Elise’s interest in writing was originally sparked as one of the actor/writers for the Channel 7 comedy pilot, 37 Skit Row. She then wrote the critically acclaimed Ditto, for La Boite’s Shock of the New Festival. This was followed by Elise’s one-woman show, The Romany Project, supported by Arts Queensland and The Australia Council, and presented as part of Metro’s Year of Independents 2004.
Elise’s current play, Magpie, is being developed as part of Playlab’s Lab Rats.
Elise Greig on AustralianPlays.org
Adriano is an actor, writer and theatre-maker based in Sydney. As a graduate of NIDA and Ecole Philippe Gaulier in Paris, he has presented work throughout Australia, Europe and New York.
His works spans the spectrum of theatre: cabaret, physical theatre, musicals, character comedy, stand-up, puppetry, improvisation, bouffon and clowning. Adriano creates work that is playful and satirical, touching on the pleasure and absurdity of life and communicating the magic and imagination of theatre.
In 2016, with fellow writers Holly Austin and Jo Turner, Adriano created Ruby’s Wish which premiered at Belvoir as part of their 2016 Season. As a collective they were awarded The 2016 Philip Parsons Playwriting Fellowship to create a new work, Paradise for production in 2019.
In 2016 his solo cabaret This Boy’s in Love was awarded First Runner Up Best Cabaret at Perth Fringe World, and in 2017 was awarded The Highly Commended Weekly Award at The Adelaide Fringe.
Individually and with Holly Austin he has created the hit comedy shows Cubbyhouse (The Public Theatre: New York, The Old Fitzroy, The Blue Room Theatre, Underbelly Arts Festival), Connie Chang’s Cabaret Roadshow (Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Comedy Festival, The Vanguard, The Great Escape Festival, Sydney Comedy Festival) and Shane and Eddie: Picking Up the Pieces (Edinburgh Fringe Festival)
In 2015 he created the comedy web series Ultimate Fanj, which premiered on ABC iview as part of The Fresh Blood new comedy initiative. His sketch comedy #NewParents reviewed over 100k views on Facebook in 4 days and appeared on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Daily Edition.
Laura is a writer and performer with a passion for strong female roles and narratives.
Laura wrote and performed her one-woman play Handle It which has had seven seasons, a national tour and a UN Women charity performance. Her two-hander The Culture has had three seasons, and performances as part of International Women’s Day events. Both plays are available to read at https://australianplays.org/playwright/ASC-4149.
During her time at NIDA Laura wrote and presented a reading of her new work Come On, Baby and is currently writing her fourth play. Laura’s plays speak to women’s experiences in the modern world, exploring topics like street harassment, domestic violence, online privacy and fertility.
A trained musical theatre singer, Laura founded and directed a musical theatre company in Wollongong called Aspiring Musical Theatre Company to create cabaret style performances, as well as to bring in industry professionals to run masterclasses, and to foster and develop local talent towards bigger and brighter careers within the industry.
Laura also collaborates with graphic designer and illustrator Brandon Wong to create picture book, and is working on her first novel.
As well as NIDA’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting), Laura has a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Performance), a Master of Creative Arts (Creative Writing) from the University of Wollongong and a Diploma of Education in English and Drama.
Candy Bowers is an award-winning actor, playwright, poet, comedian, activist and producer. As an actor she has performed in a range of powerful theatre including the role of Charles Penworth in Lilith the Jungle Girl by Sisters Grimm (Melbourne Theatre Company/ Traverse Edinburgh), Camae in The Mountaintop by Katori Hall (Queensland Theatre Company) and Hester in In the Blood by Suzan Lori-Parks (BSharp/Belvoir.) Candy has also performed stand up and hip hop comedy solo, in Sista She, Circus Oz and at The Melbourne International Comedy Festival. You can catch her TV comedy appearances via Get Kraackin (Katering/ Token/ ABC), Newton’s Law (Every Cloud/ABC ), Shaun Micallef’s The Ex PM (ABC) and Fresh (Nikki Tran Webseries.) In 2016 Candy was also chosen to attend the Screen Australia Developing the Developers professional development workshop and will move on to work on to develop an original comedy series in 2017.
As the Co-Artistic Director of Black Honey Company (alongside her big sister Kim Busty Beatz Bowers), Candy makes fearless, sticky work that delves deep into the heart of radical feminist dreaming and unearths untold stories. Black Honey Company have created and delivered internationally acclaimed hip hop and spoken word theatre, cabaret and comedy for over a decade. Candy’s playwriting credits include the original concept and script of Hot Brown Honey, One The Bear- a fairytale for the hip hop generation, Twelve: a soul musical from the streets (after Shakespeare), Who’s that Chik? and Australian Booty. She co-wrote Inna Thigh- the Sista She story, Sista She and the House of the Holy Booty and The Naked MC with Sarah Ward (Yana Alana), and MC Platypus and Queen Koala’s Hip Hop Jamboree with Kim Bowers.
A fierce activist and shake-em-up sister, Candy uses her platforms and skills to teach and reclaim space for outliers, young women, people of colour and those that do not fit the box! She is an ambassador and writing teacher for the Stella Prize, sits on the Equity Diversity Committee (MEAA) and is a Diversity partner for Create NSW.
Candy is also a published writer and her essays, poetry and stories have featured online in Perilmag, Lifted Brow, Junkee, SBS Life, australianplays.org and on the shelves in Yours Truly: Women of Letters (Penguin) and She’s Having a Laugh (Affirm Press.)
Her awards and accolades include:
2014 Nida Glorias Fellowship, 2014 Australia Council Cultural Leadership Fellowship, 2008 British Council Realise Your Dream Award
Hot Brown Honey (Black Honey Company/Briefs Factory)
2016 Helpmann- Best Cabaret Performer, Edinburgh Fringe- UK Total Theatre Award (Experimentation/ Innovation of Form) & Fringe First Award, Green Room- Best Design/ Best Production/ Best Lighting Design (Cabaret).
Lilith the Jungle Girl
2016 Green Room- Best Ensemble/ Best Female Performer Nomination (Theatre Companies).
Inna Thigh, the Sista She Story
2006 Adelaide Fringe- Youth Education Award
2003 Melbourne Fringe- Directors Choice, Best Innovative Rap Musical.
Who’s That Chik?
2009 Philip Parsons Young Playwright Award (Short List), Melbourne Fringe- Best Performance Award
BMEG’s Hannah Belanszky is an actor, writer and theatre-maker based in Brisbane. Hannah was the Young Playwright-In-Residence at Playlab in 2017, mentored by Kathryn Marquet. She also wrote, directed and preformed in her cabaret theatre piece, The Wives of Wolfgang (Wonderland Festival, Brisbane Powerhouse). Her performance experience includes roles in Harrow (ABC Studios), Julius Caesar (4MBS) and The Roasting (Short and Sweet Theatre Festival)
Hannah was recently announced as a finalist for the 2018-19 Queensland Premier’s Drama Award for her play ‘A Cup of Tea’.
Bjorn Stewart is a Sydney based actor, writer and director ranging mediums across from theatre to multimedia.
Most notably he was a writer and cast member of the Logie nominated series Black Comedy.
His theatre credits include productions such as Brothers Wreck, Coranderrk, Thomas and the Upside Down River and The Dark Room. Bjorn also has written and directed the short film I’m Gonna Make It through the First Breaks Metro Screen Initiative.
Most notably Bjorn is one of the founding members of the Cope ST collective that works in pushing boundaries in theatre and online content. His work with Cope ST has lead to their first theatre production debut One of the Good Ones, a comedy about Indigenous take of science fiction.
In 2017 Bjorn directed the short film Last Drinks at Frida’s, a love story of an Indigenous soldier and a Diva set in 1940’s Sydney during World War II and segregated Australia which has been shown across the world.
Amy is an award-winning screenwriter with a passion for children’s and comedy content. In 2019, she was awarded $30,000 in development funding after being named the inaugural winner of Screen Australia’s Pitcher Perfect competition with her original online dystopian comedy series Return to Sender. Also in 2019, Amy’s original children’s TV series Level Up which she co-created with Matthew Bon was optioned by Fremantle Media.
Since graduating from AFTRS in 2015, Amy has written for a number of TV series including News of the Wild, Lexi & Lottie, Random and Whacky, For Real and Play School. She has also worked in numerous development rooms including for ABCME’s Hardball, Disney Junior’s Balloon Barnyard and Matchbox Pictures’ Class of 07.
In 2018, Amy’s pilot script for her original half-hour comedy series Late Bloomers was named as a semi-finalist in the international WeScreenplay Diverse Voices screenwriting competition. Also in 2018, Amy was named as a recipient of Screen Australia’s Developing the Developer funding and is currently undertaking a development placement with Matchbox Pictures where she has been a storyliner for The Heights Season 2.
As a mixed-race Eurasian woman living with a neurological disability, Amy is passionate about creating and contributing to stories that represent Australia’s diversity in a meaningful and authentic way.
Briana is a professional writer, performer and producer with over 800 national broadcast credits, 5 years of diverse production employment and a true love for working in the screen industry!
For the last 3 years Briana has been working at major commercial network, Channel Nine as a presenter, event MC, writer and producer on TV shows including: Education Queensland’s Pre-school programme, Reading @ Home TV; national children’s sports gameshow, SMASHHDOWN!; national science and curiosity show, BrainBuzz and Nine’s Children’s Hospital Foundation Telethon live broadcasts. Comedy characters performed by Briana include BrainBuzz’s Motion-capture animated, IRIS – the sassy teenage search-engine and SMASHHDOWN!’s commentator, Glenda Goosebump! As-self appearances include her role as preschool craft presenter on Reading @ Home TV and Co-host of Twitch ANZ’s National Basketball League talk show, Three In The Key. With multiple seasons, 100s of episodes and shows airing 8am every weekday, Briana is versatile, adaptable and seasoned in tight turnaround deadlines, continuous output and writing for production – i.e. incorporating knowledge of camera, budget, scheduling, location considerations and content regulations into her creative work.
Briana has written for an array of formats from creative, to comedic, factual, educational, and interview TV packages – live, in-studio, stage, on location and on green screen. Briana’s work to date has largely revolved around comedy, sport and Children’s programming. From writing comedic historical re-enactments of iconic sporting moments like the longest tennis match in record, explaining Thermochromism and other dry scientific principle with a fun, visual flair, to preparing interviews with Olympic gold medalling athletes or NRL stars.
Also specialised in conception creation and development, Briana has been involved in development of many original series and has experience pitching, working collaboratively in writer circles and on creating her own projects. In her earlier years, Briana worked as the staff writer at Award winning production company, Two Little Indians, where she was a key creative on numerous projects in addition to writing for commercials, corporates and copywriting.
As an AFTRS graduate, Briana likes to combine her efficiency and ability to nail the brief, with her unique perspective and hyper-active creative mind! Briana takes her unrivalled zest for life, love of diversity and ever-expanding areas of interest (roller skating, craft, fashion, sustainability included!) and channels that into her creative work.