How APT: new body boosts drama
‘APT can work with playwrights from the first time they hear their play aloud to getting it published’
ANCHULI FELICIA KING PLAYWRIGHT
Audiences everywhere have embraced the addictive long-form storytelling available on TV and streaming services, but playwright Anchuli Felicia King says the theatre is still an unbeatable place for drama.
“There’s something the theatre delivers that other mediums just can’t — the immediacy of being in a space together, and getting to experience a story with live actors, hearing the crowd reacting around you,” said King, a fast-rising talent in stage and screen writing. “The magic of the medium is irreplaceable.”
King, whose plays have been staged internationally, has joined the board of a new organisation intended to help Australian dramatists develop their plays and get them on stage. Australian Plays Transform, or APT, has been formed from the merger of the former Playwriting Australia and Australian Plays.
Chaired by arts administrator Rob Brookman, the board has a mix of arts and corporate members, including playwright Nakkiah Lui. Theatre professional Louise Gough has been appointed executive producer and CEO, succeeding David Berthold as interim chief executive.
The advent of APT follows a management crisis at Playwriting Australia that saw the departure of two artistic directors. A review recommended a merger with Australian Plays, a publishing and licensing organisation.
Berthold said APT was starting out with about half of the federal government funding previously available to Playwriting Australia and Australian Plays.
The new organisation would seek new voices for the Australian stage, develop plays that stimulated a national conversation, and put them in front of an audience through publishing, licensing and links to theatre companies.
King said she owed her career to the former Playwriting Australia and the National Play Festival, which is where her play White Pearl was workshopped before eventually being picked up for production.
White Pearl has since been staged by STC and National Theatre of Parramatta, and will return to the stage this year in Brisbane and Sydney. She also is working on a play for Manhattan Theatre Club in New York, and a TV co-production for HBO and Sky called The Baby.
She said she was excited to be part of an organisation that would help promote Australian drama, especially from writers outside the mainstream.
“APT can work with playwrights from the very first time they hear their play aloud, to getting it published and licensed across Australia and, hopefully, globally,” King said.