Through the Playwrights-in-residence program Playlab commissions playwrights to develop a work for production.

Lasting as long as a work needs, playwrights are provided with the guidance and resources necessary for a rigorous, inspired process of adventure and discovery, in pursuit of excellence.

As part of the residency, a playwright may take on a mentoring role with a young playwright (who will become a young playwright-in-residence), passing on insights and craft to another generation.


Horizon by Maxine Mellor

Cole and Sky, are a young couple hitting the highway. Heading out to the gaping open-cut mines of Cole’s late father, they’re filled with unbridled enthusiasm fo the journey ahead. The boundless plains stretch ahead inspiring conspiratorial romantic dreaming and poetic ruminations.

As they leave behind familiar territory, heatwaves warp the looming horizon and the air becomes sinister. A long-forgotten mix tape buried deep in the glovebox underscores the journey, but out of the static following the final song comes the recorded voice of a pubescent Cole – spitting fury and angst. Sky scratches deeper, searching for traces of anger and violence that might still linger, while Cole tallies roadkill and feels every bump in the bitumen. The horizon beckons, yet their chance of making it to their destination intact is reducing each dusty kilometre.

Horizon is a high-octane adrenaline rush of sweat, grit and dangerous ambition set in a classic car tearing its way from Queensland’s east coast to the guts of the country.

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Maxine Mellor is an award-winning playwright of over twenty works. Awards include the Queensland Theatre’s Young Playwright’s Award (2001, 2002, 2003); the QTC George Landen Dann Award (2004); and a Matilda Award for best new independent work for Performance (2005) for Magda’s Fascination with Wax Cats. In 2012 she won Inscription’s Edward Albee New York City Residency Scholarship, and the 2012/2013 Queensland Premier’s Drama Award. Maxine won the Max Afford Playwriting Award for 2014 for The Silver Alps, and in 2017, and received the Lord Mayor’s Young & Emerging Artists Fellowship to undertake professional development through Singapore, Iceland and the UK.

Maxine’s work has been showcased at the National Play Festival twice and throughout the USA as part of Inscription’s Playwriting and Screenwriting tour (2014). Recent productions include La Boite’s national tour of Maxine’s stage adaptation of The Wind in the Willows, Trollop at Queensland Theatre, The Wizard of Oz (in collaboration with The Danger Ensemble, Brisbane Festival and La Boite), and Anna Robi & The House of Dogs (Brisbane Festival’s Under the Radar). Her plays have been produced throughout Australiia, and are published with Playlab and Australian Plays.

Maxine also regularly teaches and mentors emerging writers throughout schools and universities, including recently facilitating Playwriting Australia’s Lotus program for Asian Australian playwrights. She is a qualified drama and visual art teacher and often works with gifted and talented students delivering workshops in various creative fields.

For more information visit www.maxinemellor.com.

As it currently stands, Playlab can only only support one playwright a year through this program. It is our intention to expand this initiative to more playwrights per year, but in order to do this we need your support. If you are in a position to partner with us financially, please support us and donate here. Contribution of any amount can make a difference.


Rising – Emerging female playwrights commission

Playlab’s new commission will provide a meaningful pathway for five emerging female playwrights to transition into professional practice, creating a stepping stone between developing skills through emerging work and understanding the rigour of writing for the main stage.

Led by award-winning playwright, Kathryn Marquet, the Emerging Female Playwrights Commission will develop a new Australian work from an eco-feminist premise. The work will focus on the gulf between cultural rhetoric and deeper, active engagement with ecological crises, and the role of women as both key activists and the main demographic affected by environmental change globally.

The playwrights participating in the commission are:


Emily Burton

Emerging Playwright

Emily Burton is an actress, theatre-maker, emerging playwright and teaching artist. Production credits include: Storm Boy (Melbourne Theatre Company); Single Asian Female (Belvior/Laboite Theatre Company); The Seagull, Oedipus Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, The Fledglings, Riley Valentine (Queensland Theatre); The Wider Earth (Queensland Theatre/Sydney Festival/Dead Puppets Society); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (LaBoite Theatre Company); A Tribute of Sorts (Monster’s Appear). Emily has also performed nationally with numerous acclaimed Independent Theatre groups including Dead Puppets Society, Imaginary Theatre Company, and Grin and Tonic Theatre Troupe. Awards include: Matilda Award for Best Actress in a Lead Role in A Tribute of Sorts; A recipient of Queensland Theatre Independents Resources funding; A proud participant in the Playlab Incubator playwriting program. Currently, Emily is an Artist in Residence with LaBoite Theatre Company. She has worked as a teaching artist across Australia and is passionate about bringing the arts to regional areas.


Hannah Belanszky

Emerging Playwright

Hannah is an emerging playwright and actor. She wrote, co-directed and performed in her cabaret, The Wives of Wolfgang in Brisbane Powerhouse’s 2017 Wonderland Program. Her debut play, Broken Fence, was a finalist of the 2018-19 Queensland Premier’s Drama Award. Hannah was the Young Playwright-In-Residence at Playlab in 2017 and is part of the 2019 Seedlings program with Playlab in partnership QPAC and Mooghalin Arts. As an actor, Hannah has performed in Harrow (ABC Studios), Julius Caesar (4MBS), and various short films.


Lauren Sheritt

Emerging Playwright

Lauren is a playwright and director. Her plays Sans Love (2014) and One Black Mark (2015)were produced at Anywhere Theatre Festival, and her monologue The Panel was published in ATYP’s The Voices Project: Encore Edition. In 2017, she wrote interactive digital story Master of Time for Story City, produced as part of celebrations to mark 50 Years of Landscape Architecture at QUT. Lauren has participated in Playlab’s Incubator program, ATYP’s Fresh Ink Mentoring Program and ATYP’s National Studio.


Sarah Wilson

Emerging Playwright

Sarah Wilson is an emerging Brisbane based writer. She is currently studying a dual Arts/Science degree at the University of Queensland. Sarah was a member of QTC’s Young Writers Group in 2016. She was a part of Queensland Theatre’s Playwrights 18-26 Program in 2017, where she created her playRecreational Mathematics. In 2018 Sarah wrote and developed her latest work,The Kmart Chronicles, as part of Playlab’s Incubator program. Sarah is also involved with student theatre at UQ as a writer, dramaturg, director, and stage manager, and had her short story,First Do No Harm, published as part of the Arts Alliance of Pine Rivers’ 2014 anthologyAlpha and Omega.


Madeleine Border

Madeleine Border is a Brisbane based theatre maker, performer, and writer. She has created shows for UQ’s Underground Playground Festivals 2016 and 2017, and performed in Underground’s 2018 production of ‘The Vagina Monologues’. She recently co-wrote, directed and performed in the play ‘Sometimes It’s Hot like the Sun’, staged at Vena Cava’s 2018 Freshblood Festival and then taken to FAST 2018. Her latest projects include performing in ‘In Bloom’ for this year’s Anywhere Theatre Festival and currently undergoing a theatre residency at Backbone Youth Arts for 2019. After completing her undergraduate studies in drama and political science, she is now in her final year of a Masters of Writing, Editing, and Publishing at the University of Queensland.


Kathryn Marquet

Lead Dramaturg

Kathryn Marquet is a playwright and actor, with a passion for saving the planet. Her plays include: The Dead Devils of Cockle Creek (Playlab/La Boite), The Owl and the Pussycat (Little Match/Commonwealth Games); Pale Blue Dot(La Boite); and Furious Creatures (Queensland Premier’s Drama Award Finalist). As an actor, Kathryn has worked extensively in Australian theatre and film & television for La Boite, Queensland Theatre, Playlab, Bell Shakespeare, Elbow Room and many other independent companies. She performed in the recent feature Don’t Tell,Channel Ten’s Secrets and Lies and ABC miniseries Sisters of War. Awards Include: Matilda Awards: Best Emerging Artist, 2009 (winner); Best Supporting Actor, The Crucible (nominated); Lord Mayor’s Award for Best New Australian Work, PBD(nominated); Best MainStage Production, PBD(nominated); Melbourne Green Room Awards: Best Ensemble, Prehistoric(winner). Positions: Playwright In Residence, Playlab, 2017; Playwright in Residence, La Boite, 2013; Associate Artist, Queensland Theatre, 2011-2013; Emerging Artist, QT, 2009. Training: USQ (Acting); UQ (Playwriting).


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Australian Theatre has come a long way, but we need to keep going. Like you, we believe in new and diverse voices. We can only take big steps like these because of your help. If you are in a position to partner with us financially, please support us and donate here. Contribution of any amount can make a difference.

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