Contemporary Australian Playwriting provides a thorough and accessible overview of the diverse and exciting new directions that Australian Playwriting is taking in the twenty-first century.

In 2007, the most produced playwright on the Australian mainstage was William Shakespeare. In 2019, the most produced playwright on the Australian mainstage was Nakkiah Lui, a Gamilaroi and Torres Strait Islander woman. This book explores what has happened both on stage and off to generate this remarkable change. As writers of colour, queer writers, and gender diverse writers are produced on the mainstage in larger numbers, they bring new critical directions to the twenty-first century Australian stage. At a politically turbulent time when national identity is fractured, this book examines the ways in which Australia’s leading playwrights have interrogated, problematised, and tried to make sense of the nation. Tracing contemporary trends, the book takes a thematic approach to the re-evaluation of the nation that is dramatized in key Australian plays.

Each chapter is accompanied by a duologue between two of the playwrights whose work has been analysed, to provide a dual perspective of theory and practice.

chapter |18 pages


Re-visioning the Nation on the Mainstage

chapter 1|22 pages

Re-visioning the Comedy

chapter |10 pages

“Fuck Western classics”

Anchuli Felicia King and Michelle Law in Conversation

chapter 2|22 pages

Postmigrant Plays in Australia

chapter |10 pages

“Writing into Otherness”

Michele Lee and S. Shakthidharan in Conversation

chapter |9 pages

“We're very anti-politics”

Angela Betzien and Patricia Cornelius in Conversation

chapter 4|19 pages

Theatre of the Anthropocene

chapter |9 pages

“We're a teenage species”

Andrew Bovell and David Finnigan in Conversation

chapter 5|18 pages

Re-visioning Landscape from the Regions

chapter |9 pages

“Sorry about the swearing”

Mary Anne Butler and Angus Cerini in Conversation

chapter 6|24 pages

Adapt, or Else

chapter |11 pages

“I don't adapt, I write”

Kate Mulvany and Tom Wright in Conversation

chapter 7|21 pages

Imagined Lives

chapter |12 pages

“You gotta glitter it up”

Tommy Murphy and Alana Valentine in Conversation

chapter 8|20 pages

Telling Stories in Person

chapter |8 pages

“I'm a polite visitor in this world”

Glace Chase and Lally Katz in Conversation

chapter |19 pages


Australian Playwriting in Lockdown