Playlab and QPAC Working With New Group of First Nation Playwrights in ‘Spark’ Initiative

First Nations Playwrights to gain access to professional development program.

Playlab Theatre and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) has confirmed that from next week, six young aspiring First Nations playwrights will be undertaking the next intake in the professional development program titled ‘Sparks‘.

The objective of this program, which will run over the next twelve months, is to provide real world experience to take their creative ideas from development stage through to a creative product.

The six playwrights chosen to partake in the 2020-2021 run of Sparks are:

Aurora Liddle-Christie

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Aurora Liddle-Christie is a Jamaican and First Nations Australian multidisciplinary artist. In 2017 Aurora graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Drama from Queensland University of Technology. Her practice draws on the experience of People of Colour and Australia’s First Nations Peoples at the intersection of community, activism, spirituality and connections to country. Aurora explores this through the mediums of; spoken word, performance, playwriting, singing and songwriting.  

Che Skeen

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Che is a Wakka Wakka/Birra Gubbi woman born on Jagera, Meanjin. Che is an Indigenous creative with goals to be a state actor with a capable understanding and skill to direct and playwright. In 2019 Che was an actor in the Sparks program and this year joins as a writer.  She is an announcer of Indigi-Briz, 4ZZZ and wants to see more first nations creatives in collaborations and running organisations.  

Lyric Araluen

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Lyric is a Gureng Gureng, Binthi Warra and Miyally woman and was raised in Brisbane for most of her life before attending boarding school in Canberra during high school after being accepted for a Rosemary Bishop Indigenous Education Scholarship. She is currently studying a Cert IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention with TAFE QLD with aspirations to enrol in QUT’s Creative Writing as a potential student in 2021. Her main mediums of writing are novel writing, poetry and screenplay so being accepted into Playlab’s Sparks Program is my first opportunity creating a piece for theatre. 

Merindi Schrieber

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Merindi’s artistic practice is grounded with a deep connection to her mother’s land, Kuku Yalanji (Mossman, NQ). Language, culture and history through song, Merindi’s Bama resonance and soulful, easy-listening mixes echo her passion to educate and empower through the creative song expression. Her involvement in various community initiatives and performances have included festivals, gatherings, events, corporate functions and school-based programs. From performer to producer, participant to listener, singer to weaver, writer to consultant, Merind’s experience in the arts sector is reflective of her Yalanji name Jankaji – Wealth of Knowledge. Bama = People of the Land.

Phillippa Sandy

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Phillippa is a multiracial woman of Mununjali, English and Greek heritage, which lends to her strong connection and upbringing of mixed cultures while growing up on the northside of Meanjin (Brisbane) on Ningy Ningy land (Redcliffe). She has explored her creative endeavours in varied mediums of the arts for the past ten years with the conviction and passion of storytelling within each project. Currently Phillippa is studying her Bachelors of Creative Industries, majoring in film and screen production at Queensland University of Technology. Her latest projects have been working and gaining experience within the creative and business side of the advertising, marketing and media sector. Phillippa looks forward to participating in the Sparks program, where she gets to visit, create and develop new techniques and ideas in writing with fellow aspiring and established playwrights.   

Raelee Lancaster

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Raelee Lancaster is a writer, collaborator and creative producer based in Brisbane. She won the Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers in 2018 and was awarded a Copyright Agency First Nations Fellowship in 2019. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Overland, Cordite Poetry Review, The Lifted Brow, The Saturday Paper, and more. Raised on Awabakal land, Raelee is of Wiradjuri, Biripi, and European descent.  

Sparks is being arranged as part of QPAC’s wider First Nations programming. You can read more about their initiatives and productions HERE.

The Palaszczuk Government’s investment in QPAC’s 2020 Sparks program will showcase First Nations artists, stories and cultures.

Now, more than ever, the stories of who we are and how we see the world are so incredibly important. I am so thrilled to see the next generation of storytellers connecting to the strength of culture in developing their craft.

The Honourable Leeanne Enoch MP
Minister for the Arts

Our First Nations People have practiced song, dance, music and culture for over 60,000 years and QPAC recognises their crucial role in the state’s historical, creative and cultural landscapes.

Our aim for the Sparks program is to create an opportunity for the next generation of storytellers to add their voices to this rich tradition. Sparks is one of four strands within Seedlings, the cornerstone of our First Nations programming. It is an incubator that provides a creative and cultural space for artists to explore, seed new ideas and challenge forms of expression

To date the Seedlings program has engaged more than 100 local and national First Nations artists and creatives. We look forward to seeing the outcomes from the talented young minds of the 2020 Sparks cohort.

John Kotzas
Chief Executive of QPAC

Playlab is unique nationally as the only organisation that works with playwrights to develop new writing from the initial idea through to bringing the work to the stage and to publication. As an organisation we want to make First Nations work part of our everyday activities as we seek to challenge perspectives of Australian culture through new Australian theatre.

As the oldest continuing culture on earth and a defining aspect of our national character, First Nations stories are vital to any conversation about our country’s values and socio-political reality. The introduction of the Sparks First Nations playwright program in 2019 is an important step in making this leap and partnering with the First Nations Programming Team at QPAC has also brought invaluable cultural learning for us as an organisation.

Sparks has joined Playlab Theatre’s existing pathway to develop work and take it to the stage, with several of the first Sparks intake continuing to work with us on their projects. Now in its second iteration, we are extremely excited about the group of artists about to enter the process, including our first regional playwright from Cairns.

Ian Lawson
Artistic Director and Chief Executive of PlayLab Theatre

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Sam
Founder of The Otaku's Study. I have been exploring this labyrinth of fandom these last fourteen years, and still nowhere close to the exit yet. Probably searching for a long time to come.

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