2020 Participants

Bianca Bality

Cursed Dirt

After forty years of never leaving her family home, Morgan is finally ready to take a leap of faith. Her bags are packed, and the new owners are on their way, but how is she supposed to leave while her late mother is still lingering in the family’s papaya orchard.

Confused and conflicted by her mother’s presence, Morgan returns to the orchard one last time to reflect on the past and to confess to the sins that caused her family so much grief.

Before they can both move on, Morgan must unearth a painful secret that she buried years ago.

Set amongst the backdrop of Tropical North Queensland’s fermenting fruit farms, this Australian Gothic familial drama, asks what are we willing to sacrifice for our beliefs? Cursed Dirt is a story about reflection, family, faith, forgiveness and coming back to life.

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Bianca Bality is a Brisbane-based playwright, theatre maker and founding member of independent theatre collective, The Naughty Corner.

Her credits as playwright include: ROCKETMAN (Backbone Festival – 2019). SAFE. (HWY Festival – 2019). SOMETHING IN THE WATER (MetroArts, 2019 & Festival of Australian Student Theatre, 2018).

She has also been involved in programmes such as; DPS Academy (2017), La Boite’s 21 creatives program (2019) and was recently an Artist in Residence at Backbone Youth Arts, along with fellow members of The Naughty Corner (2019).

Bianca’s writing style is best described as contemporary and macabre. An exploration of controversial themes surrounding Australian; youth, community, family and the influential environments in which human relationships develop and reside. Through the integration of magical realism, absurd plotlines and bold thematic choices, Bianca aims to present her macabre style of storytelling to audiences in a way that entertains, intrigues and provokes.


Ellen Shanley

At the Edge
Anna and Chris are still rebuilding their lives from a scandal that happened over a decade ago and a surprise knock at the door, one Friday night, threatens to bring it all tumbling down. When Chris’s long-estranged brother Henry waltzes back into their lives, with his new girlfriend, Rae, as if nothing has changed, Anna is quick to convince Chris to let them stay. Too quick. Over the course of one haunting night, and as their house starts to sink into the mud of the mangroves, all relationships will be tested. By dawn, the buried truth about each of them, their past, and why Anna reached out to Chris after all this time, will be exposed.

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Ellen Shanley is a Brisbane-based writer and teacher. In 2019, she completed the Professional Program in Writing for Television (Drama) at the University of California, Los Angeles and won the program’s competition for best TV Drama pilot. She was also longlisted for the Australian Writers’ Guild’s John Hinde Award for Excellence in Science Fiction Writing and was a Quarterfinalist in Final Draft’s Big Break Competition. In her spare time, she co-chairs the Brisbane Screenwriters group. Ellen has worked as a Drama, English and Literature Teacher at Secondary Schools in Queensland and the United States. She holds a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education as well as dual Bachelors of Journalism and Arts (Drama and English) from the University of Queensland. Ellen’s writing has been published in Writing Queensland Magazine. Her short play Grief was performed in Newcastle at Hissy Fits Play Festival in 2013.


Esther Dougherty

Pawpaw Dog & Other Dog

It is a day like any other. Two dogs on a walk are having a fight. Then one is kidnapped by a fungus hiding inside a pawpaw tree who forces the other to do its bidding; to answer its question!

As Other Dog struggles to carry out his task, Fungus (wearing Pawpaw Dog as a skin) reveals to him fantastic visions and terrible secrets that will shake him to his core!

Will Other Dog ever save his friend? What’s the agenda of this depraved Fungus? And what’s under the pawpaw tree? Oh my god you better FIND OUT!

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Esther Dougherty is an independent artist living and loving in Brisbane. Since graduating a BFA Drama at QUT she has worked across a range of creative disciplines – from solo playwriting to collaborative immersive theatre making. Her first original play, The Moon Men, debuted in 2015 with performances at Fresh Blood Festival and the Festival of Australian Student Theatre, before a season at Anywhere Theatre Festival 2016. From 2014 – 2019 Esther was a member of The SUI Ensemble. She was a creator and performer for the group’s last work La Silhouette, which toured to London’s Battersea Arts Centre in 2019 before returning to a sold out season at Brisbane Powerhouse’s MELT Festival. La Silhouette was awarded Best Independent Production at the 2020 Matilda Awards.


Indiah Morris

10 Reasons

10 Reasons imagines Brisbane, Australia not far into the future, after the world is overrun by a ‘Day of The Triffids’ style apocalypse.

A young girl on the cusp of adulthood, decides her best chance relies on relocating to the Goodna Mental Health Facility, her local mental asylum. Haunted by memories and unsure of the future, the girl is thrust into the reality of isolation and survival. As more and more evidence appears that perhaps she is not the only resident, the girl questions whether being alone is truly the worst-case scenario.

For an audience experiencing a  never before seen world-wide quarantine, 10 Reasons explores the opposition of fear and hope in isolation and the value of human connection.

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Indiah Morris is a Brisbane based artist, writer and theatre maker. She is a current QUT student studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Drama after studying Theatre and Visual Art at the Queensland Academies for the Creative Industries. Throughout her career she has trained and performed within other external youth ensembles such as Backbone Youth Arts Performance Ensemble, Queensland Theatre’s Young Artists Ensemble and is currently training with the physical theatre company Zen Zen Zo.  She was the 2018 winner of Queensland Theatre’s Young Playwrights Award for her play ‘The Bleachers’.

Her theatre credits include WHITE PICKET FENCE (Collaboratively Devised for 2019 MUSE festival), THE TRIAL (Queensland Theatre Young Artists Ensemble), RIDE (Backbone Performance Ensemble), RICHARD III (Brisbane Boys Grammar Senior Production), THE HOWL (Queensland Academy for Thee Creative Industries), AMATERASU (Butoh Performance in association with Mark Hill), DIDO AND AENEAS (Collaboration with Queensland Youth Ensemble and Opera Queensland.

You can find her on instagram @inkimo.


Madeleine Border

Dry Heaving

Janet is in her early 20’s. She loves herself. Like really loves herself. She finds it hard to understand why other people don’t love her as much as she does. And to be fair, she is pretty cool. She can yawn with her mouth closed and knows lots of facts about deep sea creatures… but she also hates hearing the word ‘no’, doesn’t like it when people whisper around her, and yells at people for coughing too repetitively. Janet’s best friend Delilah has just entered a relationship, and Janet is jealous. Ash, Delilah’s new partner, is a good person. Objectively, and subjectively, they are nice and very un hate-able. But Janet’s not a fan of Ash, and Janet is competitive. Janet doesn’t lose. Bad date after bad date, conversations with family members, Sunday’s spent on the couch in front of the TV, talking when no one is listening. Dry Heaving offers the benefits and negatives of narcism in all it’s self centred glory. It is a look at the inner workings of a friendship in an amorphous stage. Quirky dialogue and satirical humour, Dry Heaving is a lamenting of millennial self love.

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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.


Nicholas O'Hara-Boyd

Beast

When a cultist is chosen as a sacrifice in an ancient pagan ritual, she soon discovers that it’s not her own death that will bring about salvation.

No one has lived and breathed the fundamental cornerstones of Children of the Earth more so than Isla. Whether it’s love, happiness or peace, she’s been on board. That was, until her young daughter suddenly died. Now, she has volunteered to travel to the island of Akasha where she will be sacrificed in a once in a Blue Moon cleansing ritual. Accompanied by the commune’s shaman, Beau, she is resigned to her fate – that is, until she meets the Devil himself. From that moment on, everything changes.

But can Isla forgive herself for her role in her daughter’s death? Can she rediscover a purpose to keep on living? And, most importantly, can she survive her captor’s attempts to ruthlessly tease and torment her and escape their clutches once and for all?

An ominous parable on the danger of ignoring the dark shadows of our soul, Beast explores what it takes to be honest in a world that rarely values authenticity. Haunting, thrilling and visually spectacular, this three-man play will keep you on the edge of your seat and praying for mercy.

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Since graduating from Bond University with a Bachelor of Film and Television in 2011, Nicholas has worked extensively as a writer, developer and script reader.

As a screenwriter, he has been commissioned to both write and develop feature films (Empire of the Son, Dracula) for independent producers and production companies in Asia and the United Kingdom.

In 2019, Nicholas was based in London as the principle script writer for video production studio Simpleshow UK. He continues to consult with them on a freelance basis and is responsible for training new writing talent within the company.

As a script reader, he has assessed screenplays for production companies such as Kudos, Next Wednesday Films and Ballpark Film Distributors. He is currently working as a story assessor for the Australian Writers’ Guild, where he was recently invited to be on the judging panel for the 2019 Monte Miller Awards.

Horizon by Maxine Mellor opens at Brisbane Powerhouse from Wed 19 May – Sat 29 May!