ATYP Foundation Commissions

The ATYP Foundation was established in 2003.

Its role is to create and maintain a capital fund that can ensure ATYP’s future and enable it to reach many more young Australians.

The ATYP Foundation Commission recognises that tens of thousands of children aged between 10 and 17 participate in drama activities in Australia every year. Despite this, very few scripts are commissioned and professionally developed for large casts of performers exclusively within this age range. The ATYP Foundation aims to generate a body of new work to engage and excite young artists and audiences across the country for years to come.

The ATYP Foundation Commission is proudly supported by Playlab, a national organisation based in Brisbane that specialises in brokering relationships between artists and companies, facilitating creative development in order to stimulate the production of new Australian plays. Playlab supports playwrights from concept to publication.

Calling for applications

These two commissions, one for 10-13 year old performers and one for 14-17 year old performers, are awarded each year to playwrights of any age. Both plays are published by our partners Playlab and will be produced as part of ATYP’s mainstage season.

ATYP Foundation Commissions recognise great ideas from playwrights of all levels of experience from around the country. We’re looking for script outlines that embrace the age of the performers and give young actors something substantial to sink their teeth into. ATYP will work closely with you to develop the scripts from concept to completion. The ATYP Foundation Commissions are developing a canon of sophisticated works for young actors that will be performed in theatres and schools around the country for many years to come.

Applications are assessed by a panel of young people alongside representatives of Playlab, ATYP and the ATYP Foundation.

Applications are NOW OPEN for 2020!
Send your submission to

Closing 5pm Monday 11 may 2020

The finer details
What we are looking for
Submissions must
Past winners of the commission

The finer details

  • The 10-13 year old commission offers a successful playwright or writing team $10,000 to develop a 45 – 55 minute script suitable to be performed by actors aged between 10 and 13 in ATYP’s 2021 season.
  • The 14-17 year old commission offers a successful playwright or writing team $15,000 to develop a 70-90 minute script suitable to be performed by actors aged between 14 and 17 in ATYP’s 2022 season.

In addition to the commissioning fee the winning applicant will receive:

  • Expenses to travel to Sydney to workshop the script during development;
  • Confirmation that the resulting script will be programmed as part of Australian Theatre for Young People’s 2021 or 2022 season;
  • Expenses to travel to Sydney to attend the first performance; and
  • Confirmation that the script will be published by Playlab so that it can be performed by schools and youth theatres around the country for years to come.

Note: Applications will be accepted from playwrights of all ages and levels of experience. You may apply for one commission or both although a separate application is required for each commission.

What we are looking for

  • Plays that are driven by and involve only young characters (the age range of the commission you are applying for with no adult characters physically present).
  • Cast size for 10-13 year old commission should be a minimum of 8 characters.
  • Cast size for 14-17 year old commission should be 10-30 characters.
  • Plays that are driven by or utilise multiple characters are much more desirable than plays that rely on one central character.
  • A strong synopsis with a clear sense of the action of the play/story.
  • Plays that do not rely solely on a devised process and that do not aim to educate on a particular issue or facet of history.
  • Each year the winning application has a concept that gives young performers sophisticated roles that push their performance skills while telling a story that can engage audiences who have no association with the cast. We are drawn in by ideas that speak truthfully to the passions and ideals of this age group and which they can delight in performing.

Submissions must

  • Be in a single PDF file and should include:
    • Title page with contact details (name, email, phone number, address). These details MUST NOT APPEAR anywhere else in the application (max 1 page)
    • A synopsis (max 1 page)
    • Proposed cast size and character information (max 1/2 page)
    • A statement from the writer on the impetus for the work and why young people would like to perform it (max 1/2 page)
  • Writers are encouraged to include up to but no more than 3 pages of their existing work that reflects their writing style (this should not be from the proposed play).

Successful applications must meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants must be Australian citizens resident in the country or hold a Permanent Resident Visa.
  • Only one application will be accepted per writer per year per commission.
  • Shortlisted applicants will be required to participate in a phone/skype/in-person interview to determine the successful commission.
  • Applicants must be able to deliver a production-ready draft for late 2021 season (10-13 year old commission) or 2022 season (14-17 year old commission).
  • Successful applicants must be prepared to participate in at least one script development workshop involving young people of the relevant age for the commission. This process is part of the Foundation Commission Schools Partnership Program where young people collaborate with the playwright to provide consultation and feedback as part of the development process.
  • For applications seeking to adapt extant material (books, poems, songs, games, etc) the applicant is responsible for securing adaptation rights from the copyright holder. Any fees associated with such rights are the sole responsibility of the applicant. A letter from the copyright holder confirming permission to adapt the original work must be submitted with the application.

Past winners of the commission

Jessica Bellamy, ‘Compass’.

John Armstrong, ‘Luke Lloyd Alienoid’.

Sara West, ‘The Trolleys’.

Matthew Whittet, ‘Fight with all your Might the Zombies of Tonight’.

Nick Atkins, ‘Wonder Fly’ (10-13) and Michael Collins, ‘Impending Everyone’ (14-17).

Sam O’Sullivan, ‘Charlie Pilgrim (or a Beginner’s Guide to Time Travel)’ (10-13) and Emme Hoy and Gretel Vella, ‘Bathory Begins’ (14-17).

Nathaniel Moncrieff, ‘April Aardvark’ (10-13) and Alexander Lee-Rekers, ‘Lights In The Park’ (14-17).

Kate Walder, ‘Soul Trading’ (10-13) and Madelaine Nunn, ‘The Chapel, the Fire and the Dead Cat’ (14-17).