Everything according to script

Take 16 young scriptwriters, give them three minutes of stage time with five talented actors to read their original works, and what do you get? At the Civic Playhouse recently it was something unique, funny, surprising and very special.

ASPIRE’s First Draft was held on December 4 at the Civic Playhouse and featured works created by the participants of the Young Scripters Program, which has been running across the whole year. As artistic director, I have led the writers as they have learnt about story structure and theatrical genres as well as experimenting with different writing techniques.

They have also worked with guest speakers to develop their skills and they have contributed feedback to the writing of a professional play they saw performed in Sydney by Australian Theatre for Young People.

The First Draft performance was held as a staged reading, meaning the actors had no costumes, and there were no props or set. The actors took to the stage with nothing but scripts in hand.

The focus of the readings was in the text and interpreting the writers, and the audience was treated to a diverse array of impressive new work including comedy, tragedy, the absurd, horror, and much more.

The five actors; Ben Doran, Francesca Moretti, Annie McLoughlin, Katie Matthews (St Pius X, Adamstown) and Angus O’Connor (San Clemente) did a wonderful job of bringing the scripts to life as they navigated playing a wide array of characters from Kindergarteners to parents and FBI agents.

ASPIRE assistant production director Riley Walpole provided expert technical support and was ably supported by Hudson Green and Ella Harris (SFX, Hamilton).

However, the real stars of the evening were the writers who took to the stage for a well-deserved bow at the end. Their words inspired and entertained the audience, each piece reflecting the different interests and voice of its playwright.

It has been such a pleasure to see their ideas develop over the course of the year and I am so excited to see what they create next year as we continue to build on what we’ve learnt.

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Anna Kerrigan Image
Anna Kerrigan

Anna is the Artistic Director of ASPIRE, an audition-based drama, dance, music and creative and performing arts program produced by the Catholic Schools Office of Maitland-Newcastle.