Under the guidance of experienced artists, emerging First Nations playwrights will be lead through a range of activities and workshops designed to spark ideas, introduce elements of craft, and provide strategies for activating brand new script ideas. During the process numerous First Nations industry practioners will provide professional and artistic insights to help stimulate the conceptualising and development of a new work. Sparks will burn brightly to its conclusion with a public reading of an extract from each of the developing new works, featuring professional actors and directors as part of QPAC’s Clancestry.

Sparks is supported by QPAC and is the middle process in a series of First Nations artists programs that begins with Seedlings and concludes with Clancestry.


Waverly Stanley

Waverly is a Gumbaynggirr and Barunggam man currently living and studying in Brisbane. He is studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing. Once he finishes his degree he would like to work in the film and theatre industry.

Ellen Van Neerven

Ellen is a Mununjali woman from South East Queensland. Ellen’s first book, the award-winning Heat and Light was published by UQP in 2014, and a poetry collection, Comfort Food (UQP, 2016), followed. Ellen’s writing has been published in Australian and international publications such as Griffith Review, Australian Book Review, The Saturday Paper, The Lifted Brow, Best Australian Short Stories, Best Australian Poems and McSweeney’s. Ellen has had work commissioned by Museum of Brisbane and the National Gallery of Victoria, and made festival and conference appearances across Australia and in The United States, Canada, India and Indonesia.

Ellen holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Creative Writing Production) from QUT. Until late 2016, Ellen was Managing Editor of the black&write! project at the State Library of Queensland.

Emily Wells

Emily is a proud Kamilaroi woman and a passionate creative, born and raised on the Sunshine Coast. Emily is a keen producer and performer whose creative practice spans diverse roles and art forms but particularly focused in theatre, contemporary dance, festivals and non-for-profit arts organisations. Having recently graduated from QUT with a Bachelor of Entertainment Industries with Distinction, Emily is passionate about supporting creatives, empowering our youth and strengthening the visibility of Indigenous knowledges, perspectives and practice in the Australian arts sector. Emily is currently working as a Producer with BlakDance and Supercell: Festival of Contemporary Dance, as well as Assistant Director on Steven Oliver’s new work From Darkness through La Boite Theatre Company’s Assistant Creatives Program.

Hannah Belanszky

Hannah Belanszky is an emerging playwright and actor. Her debut play, Broken Fence, was a finalist of the 2018-19 Queensland Premier’s Drama Award. She wrote, co-directed and performed in her cabaret, The Wives of Wolfgang in Brisbane Powerhouse’s 2017 Wonderland Program . Hannah was the Young Playwright-In-Residence at Playlab in 2017 and is part of the 2019 Sparks program with Playlab in partnership QPAC and Mooghalin Arts as well as Playlab’s Emerging Female Playwrights Commission. As an actor, Hannah has performed in Harrow (ABC Studios), Julius Caesar (4MBS), various short films and was part of the advertising campaigns for Ascent Footwear, Dominos, Humira and Village Retirement Group.

Aidan Rowlingson

Aidan is an emerging actor, poet, director and producer based in Brisbane. He is a proud queer Butchulla man from K’gari (Fraser Island). Aidan graduated from the University of Canberra with a Bachelor of Acting and Performance. He has worked in classical and contemporary theatre including Henry V by William Shakespeare, The Chair Plays by Edward Bond, Dislocated and ANTHRO APOLOGY by Alethea Beetson and Digi Youth Arts. He has also performed poetry as a part of IMA’s First Thursdays, Queensland Museum’s Black Out and Jungle Love Festival to name a few.

A Playwright Development Program

By Playlab In Partnership With