Celebrated playwright Lachlan Philpott has been appointed the new Artistic Director and CEO of Playwriting Australia, the peak body supporting new plays. His tenure commenced yesterday.
“It is with great enthusiasm and pride that we welcome Lachlan as the new Artistic Director and CEO of Australia’s national company for new writing for theatre,” said Chairman Peter Wilson on behalf of the Board of Playwriting Australia. “Above all else, Lachlan is a playwright, and his experience as a teacher, his vision for the place of playwrights and playwriting in our culture and his deep engagement with our community have formed him over many years to lead Playwriting Australia. At a personal level, I am excited to start working with Lachlan throughout PWA’s next chapter and into its second decade. Lachlan is without doubt one of Australia’s most courageous and inspiring contemporary theatre artists, and I am delighted that we are coming together at this time.”
“I particularly want to thank our staff and hard-working voluntary Board for their dedication and superb ongoing management of our company, together with all of our government, private and not for profit supporters,” Wilson said. “We remain the best place in Australia to spend a dollar on new writing for theatre because of the awesomeness with which you have joined us to put playwrights at the heart of our national life.”
“I am thrilled to bring my skills to the terrific team at Playwriting Australia and have been fortunate throughout my career to build a deep knowledge of contemporary Australian theatre writing,” said Philpott. “I bring a profound respect for writers and a rich understanding of play development practices. I am a passionate advocate for new Australian plays with strong connections to writers and theatre artists nationally and internationally. It has been my privilege to mentor many artists who are part of an exciting rising new generation. I have also been honoured to work with many of our leading mid-career and senior writers who continue to care for the extraordinary legacy of Australian playwriting that they have helped to create, and whose best work is undoubtedly yet to come. At this time, we need to unite and work as a community to interrogate the role live theatre plays in our evolving society.”
Philpott has had an extensive career as a writer, dramaturg, teacher and mentor with companies and festivals both in Australia and abroad. His recent projects have seen him work with The American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, Comédie-Française in Paris, Outburst in Belfast, the Australian Theatre for Young People, Malthouse Theatre, Merrigong Theatre Company, and Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre, the latter with creative collaborator Alyson Campbell as part of their queer collective wreckedAllprods. Philpott was also the Artistic Director and CEO of Tantrum Theatre, Newcastle and headed the Australian Theatre for Young People’s emerging writers’ program from 2008 to 2011. In his time with the ATYP he established one of the companies’ most successful and enduring programs, the National Studio for emerging writers.
Philpott’s work for the theatre has been widely produced both within Australia and overseas, with 15 of his plays published to date. Two anthologies of his most recent works are set to be released by Oberon Books sometime this year.
Philpott has mentored over 100 emerging writers in Australia, and has tutored recently at the American Conservatory Theater, Edinburgh University, Kansas State University, NIDA, The University of Southern Alaska, the University of Wollongong and the Victorian College of the Arts. Edinburgh. In 2013 he was awarded an Australia Council Cultural Leadership grant to study new play development models in several countries. Philpott was the inaugural Australian Professional Playwright Fulbright Scholar in 2014-15. He was also Chair of the Australian Writer’s Guild Playwrights’ Committee between 2011 and 2014, and was the recent recipient of professional development funding from The Australia Council for the Arts to undertake work in Europe.
“Under my leadership, Playwriting Australia will continue to focus on writer-centred play development and we will strengthen our connection to the writing community working with them to build confidence, interest and pride in Australian theatre-making,” Philpott said.