Melbourne Theatre Company has recently been awarded an Australia Council grant to develop a new play for children and family audiences.

In collaboration with Arena Theatre Company and a team of leading artists, including playwright Declan Greene and designer Marg Horwell, MTC is commissioning and developing an epic adventure exploring a little known piece of Australian history, the 1919 London – Australia air race. Air Race will explore the experiences of six teams hoping to win the 10,000 pound prize, offered by Prime Minister Billy Hughes following WW1, as the first team of airmen to reach Australia from London in under thirty days.

In developing Air Race, there are several challenges the creative team will address. One of the key areas of focus will be how to render a story, mostly told by, and focused upon, upper middle class European men, in a twenty first century context; that is, the management of the historiographical frames of colonialism and patriarchy and the demands of a good dramatic story for a diverse, modern Australian audience. Another challenge the creative team will explore is how they will depict flight in a studio theatre space and how, in consideration of the performance space, a young audience might watch and engage in a performance about flying.

MTC’s previous collaboration with Arena Theatre Company on the development of Marlin by Damien Millar (MTC’s family production in 2014) won an Australian Writers Guild award for Theatre for Young Audiences, a Drama Victoria Award, and was nominated for 3 Helpmann Awards and a Green Room Award.

MTC is excited to be collaborating with Arena Theatre Company again for the creative development of Air Race.

Help MTC continue to transform young lives through the magic of theatre. To become a supporter of the MTC Family Production Giving Circle, please contact Annual Giving Manager Chris Walters on 03 8688 0938 or

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