Why do we see so few plays by Australian women?
Playwrights Patricia Cornelius and Van Badham, Artistic Directors Marion Potts and Ralph Myers and moderator Chris Mead discuss contemporary Australian theatre’s relationship to gender, diversity and the canon.
What broader representational responsibilities does the theatre have, and how can female playwrights be released from perceptions of tokenism and kid glove criticism?
Ralph Myers is Artistic Director of Belvoir Street Theatre and one of Australia’s foremost set designers. He has designed for most of the country’s major theatre companies, including extensively for Belvoir and Sydney Theatre Company as well as Melbourne Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare, Griffin Theatre Company and Legs on The Wall.
‘You pay a price to be able to talk about your own country in the works in a really truthful and brutal way. A lot of people don’t want to hear that.’
Patricia Cornelius is a playwright of rare courage and power. As a founding member of Melbourne Workers Theatre, Patricia Cornelius has spent her career drawing attention to marginalised lives and issues surrounding class. Cornelius has written more than 35 plays, including Slut, The Call, Shit and Savages. She also co-wrote the Australian classic, Who’s Afraid of the Working Class? Cornelius is the recipient of the 2019 Windham Campbell Prize for Drama.
Chris is literary director of the Melbourne Theatre Company.
Van Badham is a Melbourne-based writer, theatremaker, critic, activist, occasional broadcaster and one of Australia’s most controversial public intellectuals. She is currently employed as a political columnist and culture critic for Guardian Australia, while as a theatremaker she’s had more than 100 international productions of her work.