Australia’s hottest new play scripts to be presented at
the National Play Festival 2018 in Sydney this March

Over four days, from March 21 to 24, the biggest minds and talents in Australian theatre will gather in Sydney at Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s Eternity Playhouse for the 2018 National Play Festival, to share their stories through performances, masterclasses, artist talks and panels.

“The National Play Festival is a vital element of the playmaking process; the chance to roadtest the elasticity and magic of a new play. Audiences experience the freshest works in the country, bursting with the unmistakable crackle of something new. Time and time again, scripts are transformed at the Play Festival and go on to become the most-loved hits of tomorrow.”
Tim Roseman, Artistic Director, Playwriting Australia


Wednesday March 21 – 6:30pm $20

In 2018 Playwriting Australia is honoured to open the National Play Festival with the inaugural Nick Enright Keynote Address. One of Australia’s most creative leaders, Wesley Enoch will present the Bill of Writes, detailing the responsibilities, rights and cost of being a writer.

Wesley Enoch 2

Wesley Enoch

Iconic Sydney actors will perform readings of the country’s best new plays for the 2018 National Play Festival. It is a unique chance for people to be part of the first ever audiences to  have major new Australian works reach their ears and hearts. 

The dark comedy White Pearl by Anchuli Felicia King takes place in a whitening cream business.  When its advertising campaign turns racist and goes viral, all hell breaks loose. Cusp by Mary Anne Butler, winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Drama, (developed in partnership with the Australian Theatre for Young People) examines the lives of three young adults in the Northern Territory as they swim against the tide of irrevocable change. 

The Fever and the Fret by Jub Clerc, a Nyul Nyul/Yawuru woman from the Kimberley (developed in partnership with Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company) is a beautiful ode to love and memory.

Born,Still by Jane Harrison, writer of Stolen, and descended from the Muruwari people of New South Wales, is a cathartic and uplifting work about the silent grief that accompanies stillbirth.

Minneapolis by Will O’Mahony from WA is an ‘almost’ love story set in a world conditioned to hate. From Darkness Whence We Came by Steven Oliver (co creator of TV show Black Comedy) a descendant of the Kukuyalanji, Waanyi, Gangalidda, Woppaburra, Bundjalung and Biripi peoples (in partnership with La Boite Theatre Company) is about a middle class nuclear First People’s family, as they grapple with a new kind of future. True West is a unique opportunity to showcase the talents of Western Sydney playwrights showcasing the talents of Nick Atkins, James Elazzi and Monica Eliah who have been working with Playwriting Australia and the National Theatre of Parramatta for the last year. 

The Disability Slapstick Plan by Ridiculusmus from Victoria (supported by City of Yarra, Playwriting Australia, Malthouse Theatre and co-produced by Arts Access Victoria) is the work of David Woods and Jonathan Haynes and five Melbourne artists with different physical abilities. It is a fearless and hilarious exploration of access in response to the tokenistic ‘Disability Action Plans’.



ON WHITENESS  Thursday March 22 at 4:15 pm 

There are many debates about theatre focusing on diversity but we don’t ever focus on whiteness. Benjamin Law will chair a panel of Jada Alberts, Lee Lewis, and John Romeril to examine what we mean when we talk about whiteness and what we can and should do about it.

ON QUEERNESS  Saturday March 24 at 3:30pm.

Two of our leading LGBTQIA playwrights, Angela Betzien and Tommy Murphy come together for a conversation about Queerness, and will discuss their own missions as queer playwrights.                                                                                                                                                                    

ON ANGER  Friday 23rd March at 5:45 pm                                                                                                                                         

Andrea James and Alana Valentine discuss how playwrights channel their anger into their work. What does it look and feel like when our frustration with the world’s dysfunction pulses beneath the surface of a play?

ON LANGUAGE  Friday March 23 at 2:00pm                                                                                                                  

Anchuli Felicia King and Steve Rodgers talk about language, examining the part language has to play in a global economy and an increasingly cross-cultural world.


STAY UP LATE Friday March 23 from 10:00pm

Pocket Bar, 13 Burton Street, Darlinghurst

Some of Australia’s most loved playwrights have dug up the worst scripts they ever wrote and are happy to share them for a great night out.


Masterclasses  Thursday March 22 9am to 12noon

Truly great Australian playwrights, Hilary Bell, Leah Purcell and John Romeril will teach masterclass for writers sharing a lifetime’s expertise and insight. Leah Purcell’s Masterclass is reserved for First Peoples playwrights.

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Saturday March 24 10am to 12pm 

Play:Relay is a multi-skilled, tag-team masterclass presented by leading Australian playwrights Vanessa Bates, Jane Bodie, Mary Anne Butler, Ben Ellis and Ned Manning, presenting rapid-fire short form writing expertise tutorials at Darlo Drama.


Saturday March 24 from 10am to 12pm.

Darlo Drama, Level 1, 16-18 Oxford Square, Darlinghurst

Playwriting 101 is a free workshop for people who have never before written a play. An ideal place for beginners to get all the ins and outs of writing for the stage.


2018 National Play Festival

Wednesday March 21 to Saturday March 24, 2018
Tickets: Festival Pass Full Price /$150 Concession/ $120 Single Play Reading / Keynote Tickets/ $20 or tel (02) 8274 0900