Show artwork for 2019 NEXT STAGE writers announced
Media Release

2019 NEXT STAGE writers announced

Melbourne Theatre Company today announced three new writers-in-residence and seven new commissions as part of its multi-million dollar NEXT STAGE Writers’ Program.

Elise Hearst, Andrea James and Phil Kavanagh join the Company as writers-in-residence while new commissions have been awarded to Van Badham, Aidan Fennessy, Dan Giovannoni and Anchuli Felicia King.

In addition, the 2018 resident writers Declan Furber Gillick, Melissa Reeves and Chris Summers have also been commissioned to write new plays as they continue into the second year of their residencies.  

MTC Artistic Director Brett Sheehy said, ‘2019 has been an exciting year for our NEXT STAGE Program and, as we announce these new commissions and resident writers, our creative horizons expand once again with new stories, new ideas and new artistic relationships opening up at MTC.

‘One of our goals for NEXT STAGE is to foster longer and more meaningful relationships with writers to better support their development and, ultimately, their careers. With this in mind, it is especially pleasing to see the progression of writers like Dan Giovannoni, who started in the program as one of our resident writers and is now under commission, and Anchuli Felicia King whose first NEXT STAGE commission Golden Shield opens next week and who will continue in the program to begin work on a new play as one of our 2019 commissionees.

‘Likewise, over the course of the initiative to date it’s been equally rewarding to see some of our more established writers back working with us and benefiting from our renewed capacity to dedicate more time, resources and support to them and their work, thanks to the backing of our Playwrights Giving Circle,' Mr Sheehy said.

Now entering the third year of the program, 25 writers have been commissioned or are in residence with MTC; 25 workshops have been held to further the development of 16 plays; and the first NEXT STAGE Commission to be staged, Golden Shield by Anchuli Felicia King, opens on Friday 16 August.

MTC’s NEXT STAGE Writers’ Program addresses the need for greater investment in Australian writers through increased resources dedicated to commissioning, workshopping and developing plays. The pioneering program allows MTC to both build on existing and foster new artistic relationships over the long-term and on a scale that was previously unattainable. The five-year initiative was launched in 2017 and is co-funded by MTC and the donors and foundations comprising MTC’s Playwrights Giving Circle.

Meet the NEXT STAGE writers.

For more information about MTC’s NEXT STAGE Writers’ Program visit

Published on 7 August 2019