Monday, 14 June 2010

Sustainable careers

The debate about the missing NSW Premier’s Literary Award continues ... and widens. Check out Performance Anxiety, Alison Croggan’s article in the June issue of The Australian Literary Review. And here is a copy of a letter/suggestion sent to Arts NSW and Playwriting Australia by 7-ON.

Dear Alexandra and Chris,

I'm writing as a representative of 7-ON, a playwrights' group of seven established playwrights resident in Sydney (Donna Abela, Vanessa Bates, Hilary Bell, Noëlle Janaczewska, myself, Ned Manning and Catherine Zimdahl.)

We were intrigued to note that when the Playwriting Award was not made this year as part of the Premier’s Awards, a decision was made that the funding would instead be diverted to new playwrights. It is our understanding that the funding was devolved to Playwriting Australia to administer, but that a binding decision has not been made on precisely how it will be spent.

We are in full agreement of playwrights being supported while they are writing their first few plays, but note that the Premier’s Award, for a produced play, was the only direct funding of an established playwright available from Arts NSW (apart from one annual NSW Writer's Fellowship, which is also open to writers of other genres).

This fact is unfortunate but just part of the general state of affairs that makes it extremely difficult not only to start but to maintain a career as a writer for performance in Australia.

In the meantime, the attached
opportunity for an UK-based writer came to our attention. We wondered if it might not provide a model for funding an established writer (in tandem with any of the major theatre companies in the state)? That is to say, an alternative use of the $30,000 that would have gone to an established working playwright had the award been made in 2010.

Best regards,
Verity Laughton (for 7-ON)

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