Melbourne Theatre Company and the Emerging Writers’ Festival are thrilled to continue the First Stage writers program, supported by The Vizard Foundation, providing creative and professional development for four new voices in Australian theatre.

Applying for First Stage 2021

In 2021, MTC and the Emerging Writers' Festival are looking for four emerging writers who are keen to develop their skills in writing for performance, and gain insight and experience into the development ethos and process at Melbourne Theatre Company.

The program is designed to be a stepping stone for folks who might not otherwise have pathways toward working with the Company. We’re not looking for playwrights who have formal training (such as a university degree), or who have had their work professionally produced.

We are looking for writers who work in other literary forms or theatre disciplines and are keen to try writing for theatre.

As part of the First Stage program four writers are given support to develop a 10-15 minute piece of writing. Through group workshops and one-on-one sessions with a dramaturg, writers explore the possibilities of writing for the stage and have an opportunity to discover their voice in a theatre context. The work is then developed through a workshop with actors and a director and then presented as a staged reading within the Emerging Writers' Festival.

The Writers

 We are looking for four emerging writers who:

  • Are keen to try their hand at writing for stage
  • Work in any form of storytelling
  • Have had no formal training in playwriting
  • Are interested in telling stories not often seen on the stage
  • Can demonstrate how it would benefit them and why they want to take part

Key Dates

Monday 22 March: First Stage call-out opens
Tuesday 6 April: Call-out closes
Monday 19 April: Selected writers notified
Saturday 22 May: First group meeting
Saturday 12 June: Second group meeting
Saturday 19 June: Third group meeting
Wednesday 23 June: Workshop with actors
Thursday 24 June: Workshop with actors and staged reading

Application Process

Applications should be emailed to before 5pm AEST on Tuesday 6 April.

Applications must include a writers’ CV (no more than two pages telling us a bit about any other opportunities / awards / grants you’ve received) and a 250-500 word response to the question: Why would you like to take part in this program and what do you hope to get out of it?

You may also include examples of your work of up to 5 pages but it is not compulsory. Please ensure all this information is sent in a single document with your surname as the title.

For further information please email  or call Karin on (03) 8688 0936.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with disability, and culturally and linguistically diverse applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for this program.

Download the First Stage 2021 Application Information as a PDF.


First Stage is made possible with the support of The Vizard Foundation.