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 Jackson is a writer and performer with a passion for strong female roles and narratives.
As a playwright Laura’s work speaks to women’s experiences in the modern world, exploring topics like street harassment, domestic violence, online privacy and fertility.
Laura is a graduate of the prestigious three year BFA Acting at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) – class of 2018. Laura also has a BCA Performance, an MFA Creative Writing and a Dip Ed from the University of Wollongong.
Laura wrote and performed her one-woman play Handle It which has had seven seasons, touring the fringe circuit, and a UN Women charity performance. Her two-hander The Culture has had a Sydney Fringe season and performances as part of International Women’s Day events and has planned performances for 2022 and 2023 in NYC and Australia. During her time at NIDA Laura wrote and presented a reading of a new work Come On Baby, and is currently developing a new play called Speak Now exploring the same sex marriage debate in Australia in 2017.
Laura collaborated with an illustrator to write Your Forever, a self published children’s book, and has several more in development, called Let Me Help and Out of the Nest. She is also polishing her first novel Keeping Score, booked in with an editor in January of 2022. Laura has recently completed the one year Australian Writers’ Centre Novel Writing course for the second time.
Laura is passionate about developing the skills of artists at all stages of their career. A trained musical theatre singer, Laura founded and directed a musical theatre company and created and directed cabaret performances. She brought in industry professionals such as American composer John Bucchino to run masterclasses and in the process, fostered local talent towards bigger and brighter careers.
During her time at NIDA Laura played leading roles, including Lucia (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), Lady Fidget (The Country Wife), Willow (The Colbie Sisters of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania) and Grusha (Caucasian Chalk Circle). Laura had the opportunity to work with a range of industry tutors including: Simon Bourke, Phillip Quast, Les Chantery, John Bell, Nigel Ubrihien, Caroline Kasper, Bethany Caputo, Chris King, Jennifer Peers, Robert Bertram, John Bucchino, Linda Nicholls-Gidley, Jennifer White, John Bashford, Katerina Moraitis, Andrew Ross, Gavin Robins and Kristine Landon-Smith.
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, AWGIE nominated 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.
Since graduating from AFTRS in 2015, Amy has written for a number of TV series including Hardball Season 2 (ABC ME), Play School (ABC KIDS) and KOJO Entertainment’s adult narrative comedy series Gold Diggers. She has also worked in numerous development rooms including for ABCME’s Hardball, Amazon’s Class of 07, and ABC’s The Heights.
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. In 2018, Amy was named as a recipient of Screen Australia’s Developing the Developer funding through which she undertook a development placement with Matchbox Pictures. And in 2020, Amy received development funding for her play YOLO through Belvoir Theatre’s Shutdown Residencies program. Amy is currently writing for a Fremantle/ Netflix adult dramedy and has a teen dramedy series, which she co-created with Matthew Bon, placed with International Emmy Award-winning production company Northern Pictures.
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.