Why do we see so few plays by Australian women?
Something, somewhere, in Australian theatre is not working. Are female playwrights not out there, or are they being denied opportunities? And if there is a problem, what’s being done? With calls of sexism and a push for the introduction of quotas, many Australian women playwrights are on the warpath. Playwrights Patricia Cornelius and Van Badham talk with Artistic Directors Marion Potts and Ralph Myers, moderated by Chris Mead from Playwriting Australia.
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.