How many Australian playwrights can you name? Lawler, Nowra, Upton, Williamson, White, Enright? What about Abela, Bates, Bell, Laughton, Janaczewska, or Zimdahl? Scratching your head a little? Between them, the second group has written hundreds of plays. Their work has been produced internationally and on stages across Australia, yet very few of us know their names.
The reason you might be hazy about the second group is probably due to the one factor they have in common. They are all women, and even in 2023 women’s voices are seldom heard. You’re more likely to find work by men on bookshop and library shelves than any published plays by successful and well-regarded Australian women playwrights. And to be fair to the local blokes, dead men from the UK or the US get more space than even (David) Williamson or (Patrick) White.
But that’s about to change! Thanks to a generous donation initiated by Donna Abela from 7-ON Playwrights, The Women’s Library is poised to become the premier place for works by contemporary Australian women playwrights.
7-ON Playwrights, which was established in 2005, comprises seven minds that don’t think alike but are simpatico in their belief in the transformative properties of the artform and its place in Australian culture.
So Let’s Celebrate
Join us for a celebration on International Women’s Day 2023 when the library accepts a selection of books to kickstart its collection of plays and texts by Australian women dramatists. In recognition of International Women’s Day and the generosity of these authors, The Women’s Library is having a Drama Party. There will be readings; there will be food; there will be drinks; there will be good times to be had by all.
Come along and enjoy hearing Noélle Janaczewska, Hilary Bell, Catherine Zimdahl, and Donna Abela (members of 7-ON Playwrights) read from their plays.
This is a free event and everyone is welcome. Doors open at 18:00 and the event begins at 18:30. Here is where you can find us.
The members of 7-ON Playwrights are mid-career, award-winning writers. They work together to promote the artform and the work of individual members. Their works are performed in theatres, school halls, (and now) The Women’s Library.
- Donna Abela
- Vanessa Bates
- Hilary Bell
- Noëlle Janaczewska
- Verity Laughton
- Ned Manning
- Catherine Zimdahl
And after the event, come to The Women’s Library to read anthologies such as : No Nudity, Weapons or Naked Flames, Sharp darts: chamber plays by 7on or Short Circuit, an anthology of short plays by Australian playwrights associated with the Griffin Theatre Company, and a selection of plays by individual members of 7-ON Collective, including award-winning plays:
- Jump For Jordan by Donna Abela which won the 2013 Griffin Play Award and the 2015 AWGIE Stage Award and is in the HSC Drama curriculum;
- Songket by Noëlle Janaczewska which won the Griffin Play Award.
- The Red Cross Letters by Verity Laughton which was nominated for the Rodney Seaborn Prize, 2013
- Burning by Verity Laughton which won 2001 Griffin Playwriting Award
- Storm in a teacup by Noëlle Janaczewska which won an AWGIE Award for Community and Youth Theatre.
Members of the library can borrow these books as well. Join us at the event and join up on the spot.
Image: 7ON Playwrights and dramaturge May-Brit Akerholt at the launch of their latest anthology Sharp Darts: Chamber Plays by 7on: [L to R] Vanessa Bates, May-Brit Akerholt, Hilary Bell (bottom), Catherine Zimdahl, Donna Abela, Ned Manning, Verity Laughton, Noëlle Janacsewska.