Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Noëlle Janaczewska

Fearless N, Theatre Kantanka, 2008. Photo: Nicholas Higgins

Noëlle Janaczewska is Sydney-based writer of plays, performance texts, radio scripts, lyrics & libretti, monologues, poetry, essays, gallery and on-line projects. Her work has been produced, broadcast and published throughout Australia and overseas. Working across drama and nonfiction, as well as the exploration of language/s, much of her writing deals with history’s gaps and silences, focusing on people, plants, creatures and events which have been overlooked or marginalised in official records.

A graduate of Oxford and London Universities, with a doctorate from the University of Technology, Sydney, Noëlle worked with, and co-established, several theatre companies and contemporary arts groups, presenting work in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, before moving to Australia. Following 2 years as Artistic Director of The Performance Space, she returned to freelance practice with The History of Water/Huyền Thoại Một Giòng Nước, first produced by the Sydney Theatre Company, and published by Currency Press, following productions in London and Canada, Germany and Vietnam

Noëlle’s numerous nominations, grants and awards include the prestigious Windham Campbell Prize (2014) from Yale. Closer to home, her plays  have won the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award (Mrs Petrov’s Shoe), the Griffin Playwriting Award and the Playbox-Asialink Playwriting Competition (Songket). The recipient of a Centenary Medal for scriptwriting, an Asialink Literature Residency in Korea, Fellowships from Varuna Writers’ Centre, the Theatre and Literature Boards of the Australia Council, and the University of Queensland/Arts Queensland (2012/13), Noëlle’s radio features There’s Something About Eels … and Let’s Go Brazil won AWGIE Awards in 2009 and 2006, as did her radio drama Random Red in 2012, and The Rush Hour Carillon, Glissando 24 and Slowianska Street previously.

Recent works include Third Person (Union House Theatre, Melbourne, 2013), Cloud Cover and My Life in Cookbooks both for ABC Radio National in 2013, Eyewitness Blues for the BBC, The Hannah First Collection, 1919—1949 for the Zendai Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai, Disappearance (The Border Project), Taishō Chick (Art Gallery of NSW), Fearless N (Theatre Kantanka/Sydney Olympic Park) the Movie Extra Award-winning short Duet With A Dictionary (Short & Sweet), and This Territory, produced by the Australian Theatre for Young People in association with Powerhouse Youth Theatre and the Sydney Opera House. In 2013 Playlab published Mrs Petrov’s Shoe; Songket and This Territory are published by Currency Press in a 2-play edition.

Noëlle’s other produced works include lyrics (Frog in the Fry Pan—a Bollywood song about micromanagement; Mango Season), shorts (iSpiderman; The Party; Minnie Mouse Redraws the Line) and comic monologues (Mysteriyaki); plays for general audiences (Connie and Kevin and the Secret Life of Groceries; Cold Harvest; Historia), for the youth and community sector (Smashed; About Face; Madagascar Lily), and radio features (Weeds Etc; Motormouth; Pyongyang Affair). Two of her radio dramas, The Butcher’s Wife and Eavesdrop Dead, were broadcast internationally on CBC Canada, RTÉ Ireland, Radio New Zealand, LA Theatreworks USA, RTHK Hong Kong, and the BBC.

In 2006 Noëlle began presenting performance essays—a term she coined to describe a hybrid which draws not only on the essay and the monologue, but also on field reports, the memoir, the mash-up, spoken word, stand-up, cultural criticism, the blog, reportage and the tradition of the illustrated lecture. She has presented these performance essays not only in Australia, but also in Indonesia and China. Her most recent are How to Eat a Thistle (Newcastle, 2013) and Loose Gravel—a poetics (Sydney and Brisbane, 2012).

Alongside works for stage and radio, Noëlle has published poems, essays, flash fiction, reviews and other short pieces in anthologies, literary journals and on-line magazines, including: Far Off Places (UK), Black Market Review (UK), Jacket, Cordite, extempore, Island, Scan, HEAT, Southerly, Imago, Voices and RePublica. In 2011 Once upon a tiger won the Swale Life International Poetry Competition (UK) and in 2010 Salt Lemon was Commended in the Wigtown Poetry Competition (Scotland). The poems she wrote for Kathryn Millard’s film Travelling Light feature on the soundtrack CD, produced by the ABC & Universal Music Australia, and her chapbook-length poem Dorothy Lamour’s Life as a Phrasebook is published by Wayzgoose Press (Australia).

In 2014 Noëlle was appointed Adjunct Professor in the School of English, Media Studies and Art History at the University of Queensland.
Find out more about Noëlle’s work and read excerpts at

Noëlle is represented by Cameron Creswell. Contact them at

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