Magazine

Feature: Investing in good company

Date posted: 17 Feb 2022Author: David Marr

Angela Betzien and Emme Hoy
Angela Betzien and Emme Hoy. Photo: Shara Parsons

 

Donor support enables STC to offer life-changing resident programs and new writing development initiatives, nurturing talented artists and honing distinctive new voices.

Sydney Theatre Company has a proud history of supporting creative pathways and fostering the career progression of emerging artists through resident programs such as the Emerging Writers Group and the Patrick White Playwrights Fellowship – programs made possible by the STC donor family. We’re thrilled that our 2022 Act 2 Season features the world premieres of two new Australian mainstage productions written by alumni from these programs – Angela Betzien (Chalkface) and Emme Hoy (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall).

Angela Betzien was STC’s 2013 Patrick White Playwrights Fellow – a year-long fellowship that offers an established Australian playwright a total of $25,000, including a commission to write a new play. During the fellowship, Angela wrote The Hanging which went on to have its acclaimed mainstage debut at The Wharf in 2016, directed by then Resident Director Sarah Goodes.

Angela said she was incredibly grateful to STC and its donors for the opportunity to be a resident writer, as she gained “a really intimate understanding of the Company, its culture, its audience and its theatres”.

“What was really important was getting a sense of the audience,” Angela said. “What are their appetites and how can you cater to, but also challenge that appetite? I think that’s the responsibility of a writer and you truly get a sense of that by being part of the Company.”

“The Emerging Writers Group is a development powerhouse, only made possible through the incredible support of our donor family, that has launched some of Australia’s most exciting theatre-makers”

STC’s Literary Manager Polly Rowe said working with Angela sporadically since 2013 had been a “dramaturg’s dream”. “Not only is Angela a brilliant writer, she also brings her collaborators into her intensively researched and deeply considered process.”

Emme Hoy graduated from NIDA’s Master of Fine Arts Writing course in 2017 and was accepted into STC’s inaugural Emerging Writers Group – a two-year initiative which includes mentorship from Polly Rowe and Resident Artists, attending STC shows, observing rehearsals and workshopping plays.

During her time at STC Emme said being embedded in the Company for two years was an “invaluable opportunity” and, through her mentor – former Resident Director Imara Savage – was invited to write new scenes for the 2018 production of Saint Joan, starring Sarah Snook.

“You learn about the spaces the Company has and the way different plays function in those spaces, as well as getting an understanding of what pushes programming,” Emme said. “It helped me think about tailoring my writing towards different theatres.”

Polly said it had been a “privilege to watch Emme grow as a writer, from promising new talent to programmed playwright”.

“This is the Emerging Writers Group working exactly as it should, turning access into opportunity. Emme used her time at STC to develop her knowledge of our programming and venues, consequently creating a play that is tailored for STC. The Emerging Writers Group is a development powerhouse, only made possible through the incredible support of our donor family, that has launched some of Australia’s most exciting theatre-makers”.

Our donor community power our future. You can help support our resident artist programs and new Australian writing at STC, by making a donation with your Season Ticket or at sydneytheatre.com.au/donate