From stolen tea to online dating, experience electrifying new stories from five playwrights in MTC’s Cybec Electric, a series of semi-staged readings. New works by playwrights Jane Harrison, S. Shakthidharan, Sue Smith, Declan Greene and Kylie Trounson receive their debut reads by actors with scripts in hand, led by a something of talented directors.

Curator and MTC Literary Director Chris Mead said ‘Here are five new plays that have what it takes to play on MTC’s mainstages. A reading is a perfect place to experience them too – powerful stories told simply but with great imaginative reach and with all ambition, roughness and moving parts at their most exposed. With the help of the Cybec Foundation MTC continues to support the development of new Australian theatre writing. I invite you to join Melbourne’s finest actors and directors as great talent is unearthed.’

MTC’s Cybec Electric opens with Jane Harrison’s The Visitors, a powerful response to the beginnings of modern Australia directed by Leah Purcell. A Muruwari descendant, Jane previously wrote Stolen for Ilbijerri Theatre. Leah Purcell directs this reading which features as part of the Melbourne Indigenous Arts Festival. Purcell recently wrote and directed episodes of ABC TV series Redfern Now.

In a multi-generational tale of one family caught in the Sri Lankan Civil War, playwright S. Shakthidharan directs his own new work, A Counting and Cracking of Heads, exploring a young man’s awakening to the importance of family, culture and love. Shakthi is founding director of CuriousWorks whose work focuses on respectful collaboration with some of Australia’s most marginalised communities.

Saving Mr Banks Australian screenwriter, Sue Smith, presents In the Kingdom of茶(Chá) a story of a rogue nineteenth century Scottish trader who steals tea plants from China to start an empire in India. Sue is known for her TV scripts including Brides of Christ, R.A.N Remote Area Nurse and Mabo. A relative newcomer to playwriting, her new play Kryptonite receives its world premiere at Sydney Theatre Company later this year. Petra Kalive (MTC’s Beached) directs this fascinating tale of love, imperialism, karma and the human hands that give us our daily tea bag.

Following the success of Moth and Sisters Grimm’s The Sovereign Wife (NEON 2013), playwright and theatremaker, Declan Greene presents his new work 8 GB of Hardcore Pornography.  A tender yet biting comedy about forty-somethings in the world of online dating, Greene explores love in the digital age in a reading directed by Susie Dee.

Kylie Trounson’s autobiographical play The Waiting Room about her father, Alan Trounson inventing modern IVF, is a personal take on the politics of conception. This play reading is a timely reflection on a contemporary issue as increasingly more and more couples turn to IVF, directed by arts educator and theatre director Naomi Edwards.

Venue: Southbank Theatre, The Lawler
Season dates: 6 February to 22 February 2014
Booking details: Southbank Theatre Box Office on 03 8688 0800 or