Under the guidance of experienced artists, emerging First Nations playwrights will be led 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 First Nations industry practitioners 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.

Sparks is a Playlab Theatre and QPAC partnership program that supports First Nations writers taking their first steps into playwriting. More information on QPAC First Nations is available here.

Applications are now closed for 2023.

Sparks Participants 2023

Charmaine Koroi

Charmaine Koroi’s connection to country is Juru (Bowen), Ngaro (Whitsunday Islands), Gia (Proserpine) and eastern Kuku Yalanji on her mother’s side and Gurang and Kalkadoon on her father’s side. Charmaine was born on Gurambilburra and Wulgurukaba country and continues to live there to this day.

She has been actively involved as a cultural practitioner in Townsville and Palm Island, doing workshops, storytelling, language, dance, art and performing. She has also delivered programs and cultural support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women at the Townsville Women’s Correctional Centre and young women on Magnetic Island, in Bowen, Mungulla, Crystal Creek and Townsville.

Colleen Johnson

Colleen Johnson is a Gooreng Gooreng/Yidinji woman currently based in Townsville, Queensland. She wrote, acted, co-directed and edited a short film called Bachelors of Batchelor as a student at Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, located two hours inland from Darwin in the Northern Territory. Graduating with a Diploma of Screen and Media, Colleen won the CAAMA Media Award for this little film which showcases the Batchelor township along with a flavour of comic storytelling. Prior to this, Colleen completed a Diploma of Creative Writing at the Institute which allowed her the privilege of combining and complementing her learnings at the Indigenous Education Institute. Her work Welcome to Country is an outcome of a Creative Writing unit student assignment whilst at Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education.

Coralie Cassady

Coralie Cassady is a Jirrbal woman who was born in Innisfail. Raised in Ingham, she has been living in Townsville since 2000. Coralie is a published poet, activist, columnist and storyteller. She graduated in 2001 from James Cook University with a Diploma of Communications and holds a Diploma of Radio Broadcasting from the Batchelor Institute, North Territory. Coralie has published two poetry books Poetic Perspective (2001) and Proper Deadly Poetry (2007). She also has an Advanced Diploma in Primary Health Care from the Batchelor Institute and became a director on the North Queensland Land Council in 2012 and director of Townsville Aboriginal and Islanders Health Services (TAIHS) in 2017.

Linda Oliver

Linda Oliver is a Waanyi, Kuku-Yalanji, Woppa-burra, Bundjalung and Butula woman, a mother of seven and grandmother of seven beautiful children. She has worked with organisations such as Ronald McDonald House of Charities, Endeavour Foundations, James Cook University and many more, teaching Culture and sharing her knowledge with many, from daycare-aged groups to the elderly.

Linda is an artist, Indigenous caterer and Traditional dance teacher and performer. She has written poetry from a very young age and started to experiment with script writing, hoping to one day have audiences who will enjoy her stories through stage presentations.

Sarah Burke

Born and raised on Kalkadoon and Mitakoodi Country, Sarah Burke is a descendant of Sandover and Lake Nash women. She is currently working on a Master of Philosophy (Indigenous) research project on Native Land Rights after getting a Bachelor of Arts in English and History. Her family has always shared oral stories about the bush and ghosts, and these stories have influenced her writing. Sarah’s work includes poetry, short stories, plays, and she is currently working on a novel. Her acceptance into the Sparks program will allow her to hone her craft and contribute professionally to the storytelling community.


Alexander Bayliss is a playwright from Brisbane. In 2019 his play Squad Goals was produced by Share House Theatre Company and the script published by Playlab Theatre. Currently Alexander is writing the book and co-writing lyrics for the musical On the Docks which had a work-in-progress showing as part of the Griffith University Conservatorium of Music’s 2015 concert series. His play The Ghastly Anatomy of Dr Wilson (formally titled: Formaldehyde) was long-listed for the 2017/2018 Queensland Premier’s Drama Award, and was developed as part of Playlab Theatre’s Lab Rats program in 2014, and Queensland Theatre’s Playwrights Program in 2017. Alexander holds a Bachelor of Creative Industries (Drama) and a Master of Creative Industries (Creative Writing) from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), and in 2015 was mentored by Saffron Benner as part of ATYP’s Fresh Ink National Mentoring Program. As a dramaturg Alexander’s credits include don’t ask what the bird look like by Hannah Belanszky and Face to Face by Emily Wells.

A Playwright Development Program

By Playlab Theatre In Partnership With