Ben Winspear: Day of the Playwright


Griffin Associate Artist, Ben Winspear headed to Tasmania earlier this month to speak at Blue Cow Theatre’s Day of the Playwright 

Earlier this month, Hobart’s Blue Cow Theatre held a Day of the Playwright session for local writers, aimed at answering some of the mysteries around the creation of new works and inspiring the writers to feel a part of the national scene.  Invited speakers included Tim Roseman (PWA), Annette Downs (Tasmania Performs), Stephen Carleton (Winner of the 2015 Griffin Award) and myself. The day was focused around the practicalities of script development, resources for playwrights, discussions around the role of the writer in the rehearsal room, director–writer relationships, and included a practical writing workshop taught by Stephen on methods of shaking up a work when it might need a jolt.

Many of the writers present were members of the Cowshed, Blue Cow’s dramaturgical support programme, now in its second year and starting to bear fruit.  So if you are a Tasmanian playwright at any stage of your career looking for ongoing, professional support for a project, this is a great place to look.

Ben Winspear with Annette Downs and Robert Jarman

When you get a lot of theatre makers together the discussion can often centre around what isn’t working, but last Sunday was an overwhelmingly positive day, and the writers were encouraged to see the potential isolation of place as an advantage, rather than a hindrance.  Tim ran through the huge range of programmes available at PWA, many of which are aimed at regional artists, which amounted to a personal invitation to the writers present.  Griffin’s ability to support new works from interstate is also causing much excitement (more to be revealed at the upcoming launch!), and Annette demonstrated how some of the plays she has been supporting now have exciting pathways laid out for them.

The writers left the day with some very practical questions answered, a whole lot of new knowledge, and plans to continue to meet regularly to support each others’ work. So thanks to Blue Cow for a productive day.