Rising by Emily Burton, Hannah Belanszky, Lauren Sherritt, Madeleine Border and Sarah Wilson


Sea levels, displacements, poverty… who is listening?

Facing imminent environmental, economic and social collapse, through rising sea levels, scarcity of food and fresh water, and open conflict between Government and Rebel forces, a remote island country is at a tipping point.

When a bomb explodes killing civilians and UN peacekeepers the pressure mounts for definitive action to solve this ecological and humanitarian crisis, but the competing visions of the Nation’s future have no room for compromise. Among the widespread chaos, five individual stories of integrity, idealism, justice, compassion and hope emerge.

From five fabulous emerging female playwrights, Rising is an ambitious new work responding to the looming ecological crisis in an effort to find equality and balance.


“It’s hard to ignore the underlying political cries of ‘Rising’. The show fuels the mobilisation of its audience to become an active army and take climate change and environmental issues seriously. It’s a play not only of now, but of urgency and immediacy.” –

“The stories unfold quickly and cleverly… It couldn’t be more urgent and more prescient.” – Marina Marangos, Weekend Notes

“… its conversation about colonisaliation and its effect on the environment may be confronting, its reminder about the connectivity of all our climates and call for a collective act of compassion to protect those who are less privileged and more vulnerable, is still clear.” – Blue Curtains Brisbane 

More Information


Wed 3 Feb – Sat 13 Feb 2 2021


Wed 3 Feb – Thu 4 Feb


Fri 5 Feb


New Benner Theatre, Metro Arts




Suitable for 15+.


Ian Lawson and Kathryn Marquet


Kate Wild


Kathryn Marquet


Ian Lawson


Hannah Belanszky

Madeleine Border

Emily Burton

Lauren Sherritt

Sarah Wilson


Ella Lincoln


Christine Felmingham


Anna Whittaker


Helen Fitchett


Chenoa Deemal

Ling Cooper Tang

Steven Rooke

Rising is a Playlab Theatre commission providing a meaningful pathway for five emerging female playwrights to transition into professional practice, by developing and extending skills through the rigour of creating a work for the main stage. Led by award-winning playwright, Kathryn Marquet, Rising is a new Australian work generated from an eco-feminist premise and focusing on the gulf between socio-political rhetoric and deeper, active engagement with ecological crises, the systems that perpetuate this crises and the absence of the female voice from the process.

The playwrights participating in the commission are Hannah Belanszky, Madeleine Border, Emily Burton, Lauren Sherritt and Sarah Wilson.

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Hannah Belanszky

Hannah Belanszky is an emerging writer, actor and Yuwaalaraay woman based in Brisbane. Her focus is on telling Aboriginal stories and creating work that is bold, imaginative and female driven. Hannah’s play don’t ask what the bird look like was a finalist for the 2018-19 Queensland Premier’s Drama Award and was commissioned by Queensland Theatre. She wrote and directed her cabaret The Wives of Wolfgang which was performed at Brisbane Powerhouse in 2017 and toured to Fringe World Perth and Adelaide Fringe in 2020 where it was awarded Best Cabaret at the Adelaide Fringe Weekly Awards. Her play Shadow in a Dress was developed through QPAC/Playlab Theatre’s ‘Sparks’ program for First Nations writers and was programmed at La Boite HWY.  Hannah has been commissioned by Playlab Theatre to co-write a new eco-feminist work, Rising, and by All Hallows’ School to write a play for large youth cast. Hannah is also co-writer and performer in Ghost Story, a new work created by Kristen Maloney, which blends augmented reality with live performance and  has been developed as part of the 2020 Metro Arts Creative Development program. As an actor, Hannah’s credits include Harrow and roles in television commercials for Village Retirement, Humira, Dominos and Ascent Shoes.


Madeleine Border is a Brisbane based theatre maker, performer, and writer. She was one of Playlab Theatre’s  Young Playwright-in-Residence participants for 2019 and is currently involved in Playlab Theatre’s 2020 Incubator program. She co-founded a theatre collective, Yours Sincerely, who created original works for FAST in 2018 with Sometimes it’s Hot like the Sun, and This Fantastic Plastic Planet as part of Backbones Residency program in 2019. After finishing an undergraduate degree, majoring in Drama and Political Science, she finished her studies by completing a Masters of Writing, Editing and Publishing at the University of Queensland in 2019.


Emily Burton is an actress, theatre-maker, playwright and teaching artist. As an actress, her production credits include: Storm Boy (MTC/QT); Single Asian Female (Laboite Theatre Company/Belvior); The Seagull, Oedipus Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, The Fledglings, Riley Valentine (QT); The Wider Earth (QT/Sydney Festival/Dead Puppets Society); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (LaBoite Theatre Company); A Tribute of Sorts (QT/Monster’s Appear/Laboite Theatre). Emily has performed nationally with numerous acclaimed Independent Theatre companies including Dead Puppets Society, Imaginary Theatre Company, Monster’s Appear and Grin and Tonic Theatre Troupe. Major Awards include: Matilda Award for Best Actress in a Lead Role in A Tribute of Sorts; A recipient of Queensland Theatre Independents Resources Funding; and a proud participant in the Playlab Theatre’s Incubator 2018 playwriting program. Throughout 2019, Emily was an Artist in Residence with LaBoite Theatre Company and was co-commissioned to develop a new work, Motive which was subsequently shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award 2020-2021. Recently, Emily received funding from the Arts Council Resilience Fund as well as an Arts Queensland stART Grant to develop her new play, Gravy. She has worked as a teaching artist across Australia and is passionate about bringing the arts to regional areas.


Lauren Sherritt 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 Theatre’s Incubator program, ATYP’s Fresh Ink Mentoring Program and ATYP’s National Studio.


Sarah Wilson is an emerging Brisbane based writer. 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 play Recreational Mathematics. In 2018 Sarah wrote and developed her latest work, The Kmart Chronicles, as part of Playlab’s Incubator program. Her short story, First Do No Harm, was published as part of the Arts Alliance of Pine Rivers’ 2014 anthology Alpha and Omega. Sarah is currently undertaking an Honours degree in Drama at the University of Queensland, having earned a Bachelors of Science/Arts dual degree with majors in Mathematics, Computer Science, and an extended major in Drama.


A Playlab Theatre production presented in association with Metro Arts. Rising is proudly supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.