Former UQ students shine in scriptwriting

24 May 2019

Four former playwriting students from The University of Queensland have been selected to participate in one of Queensland’s most competitive script development programs.

Playlab - the peak organisation in Queensland responsible for the development of new writing for performance - runs an Incubator workshop program, coordinated by Kathryn Marquet, also one of UQ’s postgraduate playwriting alumna.

At the end of the workshop series each participant will hand in the first draft of a full-length play and receive one-on-one feedback, with at least one of these plays guaranteed entry into Playlab’s prestigious Alpha Processing program.

UQ Drama Coordinator Dr Stephen Carleton said this is the first time Playlab have taken any UQ alumna into the program, so to have four chosen in one year is a remarkable achievement.

“It's great evidence for us that the practical and intellectual training we provide our third-year students is resulting in bona fide industry connection and opportunity outcomes,” Dr Carleton said.

“As a UQ industry partner, being included in Playlab’s workshop series further consolidates the sense of industry connection and integration for our students.”

Along with graduates Bronagh McDermott, Chuxiao Kang and Honor Webster-Maddison, Jessica Palfrey has joined the program after her two-year stint in the UK where her work was produced at the Edinburgh Festival.

The program involves visiting Playlab offices once a fortnight to participate in different workshops and activities to generate ideas and create characters.

Ms Palfrey and the group work on scenes and ideas, read plays, and have critical writing for homework to discuss each fortnight.

This all leads towards writing a full-length play by the end of the year.

“I am so excited to be part of this group - firstly because writing can be very lonely and isolating, but now if I have any ideas I want to talk about I have a group of writers available to help me,” Ms Palfrey said.

“It's invaluable having other writers to talk to and bounce ideas off, especially when that group includes a professional playwright.

“It's very motivating, and the workshops are really fun,” she said.

Dr Carleton said UQ Drama has devoted considerable time and energy to curriculum review over the past couple of years, concentrating on pivoting third-year course content to creative practice and industry.

“We were awarded a University Teaching and Learning Award (APEL) in 2018 for our project Building Creative Pathways to Industry, and this result offers encouraging evidence of these pathways yielding concrete results for the program’s students,” he said.