Menu

AWG report: More Australian works in 2018, but original voices at a standstill

The National Voice, the Australian Writers’ Guild’s annual survey of Australia’s 10 largest theatre companies, has concluded that while the overall number of Australian plays in 2018 has increased, original Australian voices on stage have hit a standstill, making up less than 50% of main stage theatre seasons over four years.

The research, which focuses on the main stage programs of each company, found that of the 94 plays to be staged across Australia in 2018, 58 (62%) are written by an Australian playwright.

It is an encouraging number, up from the last two years, however concern has been raised that the increase in Australian works is not reflected in an increase in original works and voices – rather a jump in the number of adaptations accounts for the difference from last year – with the report noting the challenges of sustaining a viable practice as a playwright when less than 50% of the work programmed by the 10 main theatre companies is original Australian plays.

Programming of original Australian plays thus appears to be at a standstill, making up 47% of the main stage theatre seasons in 2018, and only 42% of main stage theatre seasons over the last four years, suggesting a hesitancy from companies to take a chance on increasing the number of new voices in a season.

The report also notes the lack of Australian revivals over four years – there were on average only five Australian revivals per year – indicating a disconnect between Australia’s rich theatre history and a continued life for these works on the stage.

However, the Guild is cautiously optimistic that the overall number of Australian works in 2018 reflects a commitment from theatre companies to programming Australian playwrights, and are keen to see these numbers increase in future.

‘Whether this be through increased programming of original works, giving further life to recently produced works or by reviving plays from Australia’s rich theatre canon, our national theatre culture – and the livelihoods of our playwrights – relies on a commitment by the 10 major companies to diverse Australian programming,’ the report concludes.

In surveying gender parity, The National Voice found that of the 58 plays with an Australian credited playwright, 36 (62%) were by an Australian female playwright, with the remaining 22 (38%) by male playwrights. Encouragingly, for the first time since the report began in 2015, all 10 theatre companies achieved gender parity across their Australian-written seasons, a goal the Guild has long stated is attainable and hopes to see continued and reported on in future.

The National Voice 2018 surveys the programming of the Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Queensland Theatre, State Theatre Company of South Australia, Black Swan State Theatre Company, Belvoir St Theatre, Malthouse Theatre, Ensemble Theatre, Griffin Theatre Company and La Boite Theatre Company.

The first AWG National Voice survey was published in 2015.

Read the full report HERE.


Today! Check out this panel to launch the new national org Women in Film and TV (WIFT) Australia... in approx 2 hrs… https://t.co/xFbXiVOokp

Retweeted by Aus Writers' Guild

Safeguard revealed for local content quotas: The ACMA must consult https://t.co/H19v2TKvrE

📣 Calling all writers, directors and performers: applications to the Diversity Showcase are now open for actors, wr… https://t.co/mG3HPmsnRM

Retweeted by Aus Writers' Guild

Let's don the Transducer and get up to (hyper)speed on 30 years of Aussie kids' sci-fi. 💫 https://t.co/NpmeRDTF8c

Retweeted by Aus Writers' Guild
Primary1:07 - 18.4.2018

Commercial TV increase in sports costs is seven times the local drama budget. | ArtsHub Australia https://t.co/5J5kz7HSAW

An audiovisual study by Prof Xalabarder examines AV laws on a country-by-country basis. This afternoon we held a pa… https://t.co/A54uxFj2Az

Retweeted by Aus Writers' Guild

Congratulations to Pathways writers who have received @Scripted_Ink development funding including Judi McCrossin, P… https://t.co/XGaIEKGMNj

Retweeted by Aus Writers' Guild

Applications are now open for Australia's first Diversity Showcase. This showcase is open to actors, writers and di… https://t.co/rxkxL2uL4x

Retweeted by Aus Writers' Guild

FOLKS! Are you an emerging Australian writer, director or performer? Indigenous, non-Anglo, POC, LGBTIQ and/or disa… https://t.co/tZzH979Srx

Retweeted by Aus Writers' Guild

ABC ramps up independent commissions in $30 million spending boost https://t.co/VmN3uhKGCr

Don't forget to enter your film for @Rev_Film_Fest 2018! Applications close tomorrow 😱 https://t.co/TZ8hRCiAkG

Retweeted by Aus Writers' Guild

ABC slashed spending on Australian drama https://t.co/p8S9n6PIu5 via @smh

Calling all writers, directors and performers! Your voice. Your stories. Join us for Australia’s first Diversity Sh… https://t.co/0pQAKNEIJY

Primary6:01 - 11.4.2018

If broadcasters get what they want in the budget, Australian television is doomed https://t.co/1MLnAxtzTR via @smh

Film Victoria has updated the Victorian Screen Industry Code of Conduct to reflect a zero tolerance approach to uns… https://t.co/nd1Qu5gSkm

Retweeted by Aus Writers' Guild
Primary0:10 - 11.4.2018

Calling all writers, directors and performers! Your voice. Your stories. Join us for Australia’s first Diversity Showcase and help shape Australia’s future on screen. AWG and Scripted Ink are partnering with the Equity Foundation and the Equity Diversity Committee, with support from Screen Australia and our colleagues at Australian Directors' Guild, to run Australia’s first Diversity Showcase. Open to members AND non-members. Find out more about how to apply here:

'The genie is out of the bottle': Canadian broadcast industry clashes over regulations in Netflix era… https://t.co/VNgR11l1aU

Congratulations to all the 2018 @ADGdirectors Awards nominees, and especially to our wonderful and multi-hat-wearin… https://t.co/Sr9DOTUbOA

2018 ADG Award nominees unveiled, with female directors dominating in children’s TV drama https://t.co/kJb35msTpx

Retweeted by Aus Writers' Guild

Blake Ayshford signed to write UK revenge thriller ‘Whatever You Love’ https://t.co/I8dCKSvufe

Retweeted by Aus Writers' Guild
Primary1:09 - 9.4.2018

Primary23:39 - 5.4.2018

Primary5:01 - 5.4.2018

Congratulations to Jacklyn Bassanelli, winner of the 2017 Laugh Out Loud Comedy Writing Competition with her script Preconception! Bassanelli wins the chance to pitch her new comedy script to ABC’s Head of Comedy, Rick Kalowski, and will also receive $5000 in funding from Scripted Ink. Described by the industry judging panel as ‘highly sophisticated and well executed’, Preconception follows a late-thirties jobbing actor with a weakness for booze and musicians who decides to look into her own fertility after being cast on screen with a teenage daughter.

Primary2:26 - 4.4.2018

A great interview with Scott Hicks last night, discussing the #MakeItAustralian campaign and Australia's rich and unique film and television industry. www.makeitaustralian.com

Primary2:18 - 3.4.2018

Primary0:07 - 3.4.2018

Tonight's the night! Join Briony Kidd and Sue Maslin at The Old Woolstore Hotel in Hobart from 5.30pm as they discuss feature film development and much more! Tickets available on AWG website.

Primary22:52 - 27.3.2018

What would Australian #TV look like without local content quotas? We want Australian stories told on Australian screens by us, to us, about us. More than 200 leading actors, directors, screenwriters, producers, editors, cinematographers and other screen workers have penned an open letter to federal parliamentarians calling for action to protect the industry. Will you join us? https://makeitaustralian.com/take-action/ #MakeItAustralian

Primary23:59 - 26.3.2018

Primary21:56 - 26.3.2018

'More than 200 screen industry figures have written an open letter to federal MPs warning that Australian story telling is at risk of being drowned out by overseas content. The latest initiative from the Make It Australian campaign is a direct response to fears the Turnbull government plans to slash the local content quotas for TV drama and children’s television, as advocated by the commercial free-to-air broadcasters.'

Primary21:54 - 26.3.2018

Tune in now to hear Tony Ayres discussing the #MakeItAustralian campaign and today's open letter to the government http://www.abc.net.au/radio/sydney/

Primary21:52 - 26.3.2018

'More than 250 high-profile film and television figures have signed an open letter pleading with the federal government to strengthen local content rules on the small screen and to increase tax breaks to attract overseas movie producers. "Our voices [are] in danger of being drowned out by a deluge of overseas content," it says. "And if our nation's stories aren't told, they die. And when they die, future generations won't know who we are and what makes us us."'

Primary4:36 - 13.3.2018

"Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason has two blunt messages for feature film producers. One is: Recognise that most independent films, Australian and international, now are earning roughly half as much at Australian cinemas as they did only a few years ago. The other: Keep up-to-date with the rapidly shifting dynamics in the global theatrical market or get left behind."

Primary4:12 - 13.3.2018

We don't mean to alarm you...but AWGIE Award entries close next week, so get in quick! Open to produced works across film, television, documentary, theatre, radio, interactive and children's television, each year these prestigious awards celebrate and honour the very best in Australian stage and screen writing. In 2018 entries are open to all eligible produced works that finished principal photography or production or had a first performance in 2017. See below the Conditions of Entry for details. #2018AWGIES #MyAWGIES #SomeoneWroteThat

Primary1:48 - 9.3.2018

Primary5:27 - 8.3.2018

A fantastic article from AWGIE Award-winning screenwriter Belinda Chayko on the process of writing and showrunning SBS's new drama Safe Harbour.

Primary9:26 - 27.2.2018

A big congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Monte Miller Awards, Nicholas Clifford in the short form category for his script 'The Handy Man' and Arky Michael and Kym Vercoe in the long form category for their script 'Mrs Burswood'. #MonteMillers #screenwriter

Primary6:17 - 27.2.2018

The Monte Chillers are ready and the Monte Miller Awards will start soon. Stay tuned for the announcement of winners! #MonteMillers

© Australian Writer's Guild 2018. All Rights Reserved.
ACN: 002 563 500

Privacy Policy

Level 4, 70 Pitt St, Sydney, NSW 2000
t: 02 9319 0339
f: 02 9223 8933
e: admin@awg.com.au