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Gripping psycho drama, incisive reality: NIDA Writers readings

Top from left: NIDA Writers Holly Franich, Mahsa Faroughi, Declan Coyle, Gabe Francis, Eliva Andriamoraby and Jordyn Fulcher

Bottom: NIDA Writers readings in action in 2019.

What are the stories and characters that we will be watching next year? Live online and streamed from 14-18 February, NIDA Writers Readings presents excerpts from new stage plays, screenplays, docudramas and television scripts.

Gripping psycho drama, incisive reality documentary, sci fi and teenage television come together over five nights streamed live in February.

Harriet Gillies is an award-winning performance artist and theatre director working across a range of performance modes. A tutor in the NIDA MFA Writing for Performance program, she said: ‘This exciting group of writers have showed great resilience and a dedication to sharing stories that are important to them, through a year of pandemic pandemonium that has left most of us questioning everything. Sharing stories that we will see on our TV screens, cinemas, and stages, these writers show great potential as future leaders in the cultural landscape of Australia.

‘These writers draw on richly diverse personal experiences, while clearly facing forwards into the future', said Harriet Gillies. 'From personal gritty experiences that have challenged and pushed, to deeply imaginative fictions and fantasies, these readings will showcase a wide variety of genres and styles that demonstrate the exceptional ability, diversity, and range within these graduating NIDA Writers.’


From Eliva Andriamora , a writer and actor based in Sydney, comes a new television series called The Dealership. Marcy finds herself signing up as a car sales trainee at an Australian dealership and is the only female recruit thrust into the ‘dog eat dog’ world of car sales.

From Matt Bostock, who grew up within the expat society of Melbourne to an Australian Chinese father and a Filipino mother, comes a pilot episode for a TV miniseries True Blue: Rob. ‘Brisbane, 1967. Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War is escalating. The 1967 Referendum has yet to be voted on. The White Australia Policy was still in place. Rob, a white Australian veteran, his new Chinese-Malay wife Shirley, and their four-year-old son, John, ask: what does it really mean to be Australian?’

From Declan Coyle, fresh from success at Sydney University Dramatic Society and KXT lab, comes television pilot The Lost and Found. ‘Ollie and Jamie’s daughter went missing one year ago. Ollie takes a job reuniting people with their missing items at a local lost and found to fill the void in her heart. Jamie struggles to find the will to break the cycle. When her daughters’ items begin to turn up in the inventory a fire within Ollie is reignited.’

From Mahsa Foroughi, a Persian poet, critic and interdisciplinary artist, has created the docudrama A Poetic Suicide.  ‘A disillusioned poet and her cynical cameraman take us on a spiralling inner journey into the poet’s brain who tries to escape the trauma of persecution. To reveal and revive the truth, we must hold on to poetry and swing between dream and reality, fact and fiction, verity and myth.’

Gabe Francis, a writer and theatre-maker from Lennox Head in northern NSW and a graduate of QUT in Brisbane, has created a play entitled One Night Only. ‘Since they split, Laure and Saul have hung over each other. A rock ’n’ roll themed fundraiser brings the pair together one last time. Dressed as tragic imitations of Jagger and Cher, they fight to regain a sense of themselves in all that’s been lost.’

Holly Franich graduated from UTS in Communications and has found her niche in short fiction, filmic and mixed media works. She has created Upstream a television pilot. ‘No one ever leaves the Central Coast. It collects white bogans like dust on an incel’s wallet condom. Lola, and the graduating class of 2014, must navigate the rudimentary social pressures of a town stuck in the past. All she has to do is graduate without incurring any permanent deficits like suicide or children.’

Jordyn Fulcher is an emerging writer from south-west Sydney and is already part of Sydney Theatre Company’s 2019-2021 Emerging Writers Group. She has created the play The Mars Expedition. ‘Deep within the bush is a house that too many people live in including Abel and Adon. Years later, Abel meets veteran, Comrade, while volunteering at a care home and their abrasive relationship sends Abel on a journey through the constellations of memory and pain to map what lies beyond.'

Douglas Hackett is an emerging actor and writer who trained at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Dogged is his television pilot. ‘Jess Fleming had everything: a loving husband, a six-year-old daughter, and a well-paying job at a right-wing magazine. But after unwittingly infecting her husband after an act of dogging, Jess is now jobless, living with her parents, and relegated to weekends with her child. What actually is dogging?’

Michael McStay has seen several of his plays produced and is an actor, director, musician and 2013 alumnus of NIDA’s BFA (Acting) course. Mt.Maddox is his television series.Conservative journalist Grace Cullen is put on assignment to interview the family of the eccentric anarchist/anti-vaxxer/alien-truther Victoria Maddox, who has terraformed her humble farm into the sovereign state of Mt. Maddox, including Victoria’s daughter and an extra-terrestrial-sexual (that means she’s into Martians). Slowly, Grace learns to indulge her radical side. And who can blame her?’

Siham Serhon is a writer, artist, and filmmaker, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Creative Writing (UNSW, 2015). She has written imPECcable, a television pilot. ‘One drunken night, Sharna and her best-friend Dee-Dee cast a spell they bought at a market in the hopes of creating the perfect man. And from this desperation and freaky universe magic stuff, David is born.’

James Watson from Adelaide completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Creative Writing) at Flinders University and has created the play Home Thoughts. ‘Clara has returned to Adelaide. Sarah never left. When these sisters find themselves torn between remaining in the past and an uncertain future, they need to seriously question what “Home” means to them.’

Book now to receive your free access links to the live streams.

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