AD Checks In


Welcome to Playlab’s 2019 season. We are delighted to bring to you our most extensive and diverse range of activities to date.

If you are a theatre artist looking to build your skills there are multiple opportunities to engage with professional practitioners in workshops, while our development programs will once again be open to playwrights of all experience levels and backgrounds who are looking to explore and advance a story. For audiences keen to engage with work in our development programs, there will be showings throughout the year, so you can see what will appear on Australian stages in the near future.

In May we will bring you our 2019 production, Magpie by Elise Greig in partnership with Metro Arts and EG Productions at the Brisbane Powerhouse. Magpie is a product of our development programs and is a beautiful intergenerational work about a Romani family in Holland Park.

So, come and join us as we continue to champion Queensland artists, pursue excellence and build theatre that matters.

Ian Lawson

Artistic/Director CEO


“A gripping, riotous display of the human resolve, the pitfalls of single-mindedness, and our innate practice of stereotyping each other, this killer dark comedy is more than meets the eye.” – Peril Magazine

“This play is an important response to a modern age fraught with misinformation and mistrust.” – Stage Whispers

“Shot through with Brilliance…” – The Australian

The Dead Devils of Cockle Creek by Kathryn Marquet premiered in partnership with La Boite in February to critical acclaim. A product of our development programs, Kathryn’s wonderful work embodies Playlab’s commitment as a new-writing theatre to produce high quality, robust ideas-based work that speaks to the diversity and politics of contemporary Australia. Our first production, Blue Bones by Merlynn Tong was similarly driven by socio-political themes, with its detailed and heartfelt story about overcoming the impacts of domestic violence. This focus will continue, as we believe that theatre is an agent for social change.

I want to take a moment to acknowledge Merlynn and the creative team from Blue Bones for our outstanding success at the Matildas in February. The production won six awards for Best Production, New writing, Female Actor, Direction, Lighting Design and Video Design. Playlab was also acknowledged for our contribution to the Queensland theatre sector, with the Gold Matilda.

Playlab’s development programs have kicked off for the year with the Incubator cohort meeting for the first time. It is always exciting to see the six new faces of the emerging playwrights as they embark on a nine-month odyssey to refine their craft and build a new work. Unfortunately, we are losing our tutor for the program, Richard Jordan who has a wonderful opportunity down south. We would like to thank him for his dedication and creativity, and wish him the best. Stepping in to take over is Kathryn Marquet, whose compassion, craft and experience will ensure that the cohort have a nurturing experience.

Later in April we welcome the Hotlines crew, who will be reading interesting works from around Australia and the world. It is an opportunity to hear diverse work and see young artists exercising their creative muscles.

We have been busy on the publication front with the release of many titles including Hanako by Katherine Lyall-Watson and Caroline Dunphy, Viral by Sam Foster and Nathan Jones, Spontaneous Human Combustion by Daniel Evans and Pineapple Wars by Lachlan Philpott. Our New Vintage collection expanded with the addition of the wonderful Had We But World Enough by Oriel Grey. Soon Playlab will be offering books on the craft of playwriting, keep your eyes out for them.

Finally, we are launching a fundraising appeal for lovers of new Australian theatre work to become a regular supporter of Playlab. A regular donation, however small will enable us to continue to support artists, strive for excellence and build theatre that matters.

Ian Lawson

Artistic/Director CEO


Playlab has hit the ground running in 2018 with rehearsals already underway for our next production as a new-writing theatre. The Dead Devils of Cockle Creek (link to our production page) by Kathryn Marquet premiers at La Boite’s Roundhouse Theatre for a strictly limited season 10 February – 3 March 2018.

Dead Devils was initially developed during our 2016 Beta Testing Program and when Kathryn joined us as the 2017 Playwright-in-Residence the play progressed into a completed work, ready for production and publication.

2018 will also see Playlab continue to provide outstanding opportunities for playwrights through our development programs, Incubator, Alpha Processing and Beta testing. Follow us on social media to be the first to hear about these exciting initiatives as they are launched progressively throughout the year.

The year has barely begun and we already have several cracking new publications ready for sale. Titles include The Pineapple Wars by Lachlan Philpott, The Dead Devils of Cockle Creek by Kathryn Marquet and Spontaneous Human Combustion by Daniel Evans. We continue our commitment to Independents with digital publications of Viral and Hanako.

Our office and rehearsal room have undergone a recent facelift and we look forward to welcoming even more independent artists into our clean, friendly and affordable rehearsal rooms, as well as hosting a regular Play Reading Group and our own development readings.

Watch this space! 2018 is going to be a big year for Playlab and we look forward to sharing it with you.

Ian Lawson

Artistic/Director CEO


The first six (and a bit) months of 2017 have been a whirlwind…

Playlab’s first production as a new-writing theatre, Blue Bones by Merlynn Tong at the Brisbane Powerhouse in May was a wonderful success. After two years of development, rehearsal and then technical realisation with all the associated challenges, a standing ovation on opening night affirmed what we knew – that Merlynn is an artist of rare bravery and insight, and that our evolution into a theatre company is a much-needed platform for adventurous new work in the state. It was a very special moment.

Most recently we hosted Playlab’s Annual Trivia Night, Talent Quest and Spelling Bee at the Ashgrove Bowls Club, which saw a seriously competitive group of artists, arts workers and arts lovers battle it out for some precious silverware. The Spelling Bee was particularly brutal with contestants simultaneously harassed and supported, and that was from just their own team. Congratulations to all the winners on the night and a big thank you to those who came, donated and trivialised. We look forward to welcoming you back next year when the event returns with a twist…

Playlab’s development programs are in full swing with the lovely Richard Jordan gently mentoring the Incubator participants with a series of thoughtful, provocative classes – we can’t wait to read their developing drafts. While through Alpha Processing we have welcomed the very talented Bryan Probets, Claire Christian and Katy Cotter into the company. The three works that they are developing are diverse in terms of form and content, but equally compelling and complex. Readings of their drafts will occur in November/December, so if you want to engage with Playlab and new theatre writing in this town, then get along and support these playwrights.

Kathryn Marquet, our Playwright-in-Residence has been busy developing her new play, The Dead Devils of Cockle Creek, which will have a weeklong workshop later in the year. In addition to this she has begun mentoring our Young Playwright-in-Residence, Hannah Belanszky whose wonderful play A Cup of Tea will be supported through this process. Kathryn has also journeyed to Bundaberg to take a weekend playwriting workshop with Creative Regions to great success. Keep an eye out for another of these workshops in Brisbane later in the year.

As I write this, we have just released two Queensland Premier’s Drama Award-winning plays in hardcopy publication; Oedipus Doesn’t Live Here Anymore by Daniel Evans and the most recent winner Rice by Michelle Lee. These fabulous innovative works along with Gaybies by Dean Bryant and Battle of Waterloo by Kylie Coolwell, join our ever-expanding catalogue of contemporary Australian plays in 2017. Our Playlab Indie digital collection is also expanding with two new titles, giving voice to independent theatre across Australia. We have lowered the price to make them even more accessible to students and independent artists. The New Vintage digital collection will receive a boost later in the year – stay tuned.

Playlab’s rehearsal room has been very busy with a host of wonderful artists utilising the space to develop their projects. Later this year the rehearsal room will receive some upgrades, making it an even more flexible and welcoming environment, courtesy of the Community Benefit Gambling Fund. At the same time, Playlab’s writers’ room will become operational, offering playwrights a private space to work away from distraction.

Yep. It is a busy and exciting time here at Playlab.

Ian Lawson

Artistic/Director CEO


New writing for theatre is what we love and do.

For over 44 years Playlab has been supporting new writing for theatre through development programs and publication, but with such a groundswell of quality playwrights in Queensland at the moment there is an urgent need for more opportunities for playwrights to be produced at a professional level. In 2017, Playlab will respond to this need and provide a new stage by evolving into a new-writing theatre. This evolution will make Playlab truly unique nationally as the only company to work from idea through development, onto stage and into publication.

As a new-writing theatre, Playlab will provide playwrights with a supportive space that privileges creative risk in terms of craft and story. While for audiences, offer challenging and robust ideas-based work that speaks to the diversity and politics of contemporary Australia. Our first production is the magical Blue Bones by Merlynn Tong at the Brisbane Powerhouse in early May. Developed through Playlab’s programs, Blue Bones is a powerful story told with charisma, humour and incredible honesty. Tickets are limited so book early.

Playlab’s Development program has continued to evolve and in 2017 offers our clearest pathway yet for a play to move from inception to the stage. From the emerging playwrights program Incubator, into Alpha Processing, then Beta Testing and into production, the pathway provides multiple entry points for a work at any level of readiness, and from playwrights of any experience.

We will also welcome our first Playwright-in-Residence, who will receive the support necessary to ready a work for the stage, while earning income from the position. Our services for the sector are broadening too with a new Rehearsal Room available for hire as part of our Creative Services, as well as space for playwrights to work and access Playlab.

Whether you are a playwright, theatre artist, teacher or arts lover, Playlab has something for you. So, please join us as we welcome a new stage in our history.

Ian Lawson

Artistic/Director CEO