10 May 2007

Paying the Writers—or not

Do I have this wrong? I hope I have. PlayWriting Australia, the new script development organisation created by the Australia Council to replace Playworks and the ANPC has put out the call for submissions for its 2-week Canberra workshop.

According to the press release, selected writers will receive the following:

· return travel from their normal place of residence to Canberra.
· two weeks’ accommodation.
· daily meals or allowance as appropriate.

Yet again it seems the writers will not be paid. (Neither the ANPC nor Playworks paid the writers whose work they developed—don’t know about the state-based agencies.) Why won’t the selected playwrights be paid for their 2 weeks’ work in Canberra? Can anyone tell me the rationale for this decision?

Isn’t it a sad irony? We have an organisation ‘whose mission is to develop great new Australian writing for performance’ (that press release again) that chooses not to pay the very constituency it’s been set up to service and support. I presume the administrators, actors and directors will be paid for their 2 weeks in the ACT? I appreciate that funds are limited, but still …

On a more cheerful note, credit where credit’s due. Some development programs do pay writers. Breakout at Parramatta Riverside Theatres in Sydney, for example. So come on PlayWriting Australia, you’re a new organisation—what better time to chuck out old, unfair practices and start afresh?


chris said...

G'day Noelle,

Glad to see the new organisation is already stirring up trouble.

We do pay the playwrights. Of course. All creatives are paid at the same rate. It is a profession after all - and our job at PWA is to try and make it a viable one. [The ad simply sought to assure interested parties that we would look after travel and accom etc.]

And fyi: the ANPC paid writers at least from 2003.

We will have a better website soon too so all our programmes and Utopian dreams will be revealed.

Chris Mead - Playwriting Australia

Noëlle Janaczewska said...

Hi Chris,

I stand corrected. That's excellent news.