Show artwork for MTC @ MPavilion 2019/20

MTC @ MPavilion 2019/20

Melbourne Theatre Company will again partner with MPavilion for its summer program, showcasing work from two of MTC's NEXT STAGE Writers-in-Residence, Andrea James and Chris Summers.

On Thursday 19 December, Summers' latest play, Being Better, will enjoy its first staged reading, while Monday 20 January will see Andrea James in conversation with MTC Literary Director Chris Mead about her new play, Sunshine Super Girl, which features as part of MTC's 2020 season. A third event on Saturday 21 March will be announced shortly.

Performed outdoors in the elegant new MPavilion designed by legendary Pritzker Prize-winning architect Glenn Murcutt AO, and situated in Melbourne's Queen Victoria Gardens, audiences will have the rare chance to participate in the early development of new Australian writing.

Being Better by Chris Summers is a fast, fractious and funny romantic comedy for the 21st century. We meet Leo and Samira, played by Jing-Xuan Chan and Rohan Mirchandaney at a speed-dating event and watch as they struggle to overcome bad habits, baggage and the bell.

Andrea James will discuss her approach to writing Sunshine Super Girl, the remarkable story of Australian sporting legend, Evonne Goolagong, a girl from the bush who rose to become the no. 1 tennis player in the world and a household name by the age of 19.

MTC Artistic Director Brett Sheehy AO said, 'We are thrilled to once again partner with MPavilion to showcase the incredible talent and vitality of ideas generated through our NEXT STAGE Writers' Program. Theatre is nothing without an audience, and these public readings and conversations play a key role in helping writers to hone their material while offering the people of Melbourne a unique insight into the creative writing process.'

NEXT STAGE is MTC's $4.6 million commissioning and development program, which currently boasts 25 writers under commission or in residence. These include some of Australia’s most-loved writers, as well as brilliant early-career playwrights. 

Four NEXT STAGE original plays feature in MTC’s 2020 season including Benjamin Law’s Torch the Place, which had its first public reading at MPavilion in 2018.

Andrea James is a Yorta Yorta/Gunnaikurnai woman and graduate of VCA. She was Artistic Director of Melbourne Workers’ Theatre 2001-2008 where she is best known for her play Yanagai! Yanagai! She was a recipient of British Council’s Accelerate Program for Aboriginal Art Leaders in 2013 and was awarded Arts NSW Aboriginal Arts Fellowship to write a play about Wiradjuri tennis player, Evonne Goolagong. She was a collaborator in Moogahlin Performing Arts Broken Glass which she performed in at the Sydney Festival in 2017. In 2018 she wrote and directed a play entitled Bukal for JUTE Theatre that tells the inspirational story of Yidinji woman Henrietta Fourmile Marrie. Her play Winyanboga Yurringa was remounted by Belvoir in May 2019, and her latest play Sunshine Super Girl will receive its world premiere in 2020.

Chris Summers is an award-winning Australian playwright. Plays include True Crime (commissioned MTC 2019 through NEXT STAGE), Pedagogy (winner Max Afford Playwrights’ Award 2016, shortlisted Patrick White Playwrights Award 2015, presented National Play Festival 2016 and selected for PWA Lost Plays development HotHouse Theatre 2019), King Artur (winner Patrick White Playwrights Award 2013), and Crossed (commissioned by Platform Youth Theatre 2010, presented at National Play Festival 2011, La Mama Theatre 2011). Chris has completed residencies with Griffin Theatre Company, Red Stitch Theatre, Belvoir, Playmarket NZ and the 24:7 Festival in Manchester. Chris is currently completing a PhD in Education using playwriting as a research methodology through Deakin University, and worked in low-socioeconomic high schools in regional/metro Victoria for four years as a secondary teacher.

Dates & Times
Thursday 19 December, 6:15pm
Rehearsed reading of Being Better by Chris Summers

Monday 20 January, 6:15pm
Andrea James in conversation about her new play, Sunshine Super Girl

Saturday 21 March, 3:30pm
Event announced soon  

Queen Victoria Gardens, St Kilda Road, Melbourne (opposite Arts Centre Melbourne).
For more information visit

NEXT STAGE Writers' Program is made possible with the support of the donors and foundations comprising MTC's Playwrights Giving Circle.

Sunshine Super Girl is a Performing Lines production.

Published on 20 December 2019