Roger Riordan AM with the 2016 Cybec Electric playwrights

Donor Spotlight | The Cybec Foundation

Cybec Electric is back in 2017 with nine emerging playwrights taking their scripts to the Lawler stage in late February. Find out about the origins of the program and the passion behind The Cybec Foundation.

Under the tutelage of some of the region’s best directors and dramaturgs, the idea of Cybec Electric is to transform plays from their development stage, to the mainstage. In a variation of its original form, and now running for its fourth year, Cybec Electric is generously supported by The Cybec Foundation, the philanthropic organisation established by Roger Riordan AM and his late wife Patricia in 2002.

Roger’s passion lies in bridging the gap between the emerging and the professional, by providing opportunities for promising young artists to develop their talents in a professional setting. The Cybec Foundation has supported the development of numerous emerging playwrights and new plays through a series of workshops and studio play readings.

For the emerging playwright, Cybec Electric has become a beacon and a rallying cry for young playwrights and directors across Victoria.

MTC Literary Director Chris Mead is responsible for discovering, developing and mentoring Cybec Electric playwrights, with the hope that one day they will create work for Australia’s leading art organisations. Chris says this year’s Cybec Electric program aims to create work that is thrilling, difficult, provocative, funny, and raw in the best possible sense.

Cybec Electric aims to support unique and forward-thinking work that could one day be staged by Melbourne Theatre Company itself. ‘It’s about building genuine relationships with artists who we think could easily be working here… whose work we could genuinely program,’ says Chris. ‘In the end that’s the fundamental criteria. Could we, should we, be doing these plays in a year or two’s time?’

Each play selected for the series receives an intensive development workshop with Chris, and the opportunity of a public reading supported by a professional director and actors. An internship program has been developed alongside these workshops to provide a platform for emerging artists to build professional networks, and assists in their transition to the world of professional theatre.

Rashma N. Kalsie’s play Melbourne Talam first appeared in the Cybec Electric 2016 reading series, and after subsequent developments, has been programed as MTC‘s 2017 Education Production.

2017 will see Cybec Electric partner with Asia TOPA, the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts, to celebrate our finest Asian-Australian playwrights from Thursday 23 February – Saturday 25 February at Southbank Theatre, the Lawler. In 2016 four readings were near to sold out, with nearly 800 people attending – a remarkable turnout. 2017 promises to be even bigger.

Cybec Electric is proudly supported by The Cybec Foundation. You can see the full list of plays and purchase tickets to this exciting event here.

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