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 young people 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 is generating 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 Theatre, a national organisation based in Brisbane that seeks to challenge perspectives of Australian culture through Australian theatre. Uniquely, Playlab Theatre does this through developing, publishing and producing new Australian theatre with playwrights at the centre of the creative process.
Announcing the 2023 ATYP Foundation Commission winners!
Amy May Nunn is an award-winning writer and theatre-maker, living in Naarm and originally from the UK. They are a graduate of the full-time program at 16th St Actors Studio and completed their MA in Writing for Performance at VCA. Amy’s work has been featured in numerous publications, including Voiceworks, Verandah, Metre Maids and Award-Winning Australian Writing. They are a two-time recipient of the Mathew Rocca Award for poetry, winner of the Express Media Award and the John Marsden Prize. They have been nominated for the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award, the ATYP Foundation Commission (2022), and they were an inaugural recipient of the Gasworks Arts Park Event Commission. Amy is the co-founder and artistic director of Dirty Pennies Theatre Project, a company dedicated to fostering and developing new work with women, queer, trans and gender non-conforming artists. They are a recent participant in the Midsumma Pathways Program, a member of the She Writes Collective and an Associate Artist alum at Theatre Works. Their latest play, ‘Lemon Tree on Dreg Street’, premiered at Theatre Works as part of Midsumma Festival (2023).
Michael Louis Kennedy is a playwright and author based in Sydney; a current member of Sydney Theatre Company’s Emerging Writers Group and an alumnus of Australian Theatre for Young People’s Fresh Ink Program. Recent works include The Clam Before The Storm as part of Acqua Profonda (Bondi Festival 2022), All The Fraudulent Horse Girls (The Glory London with Brooklyn Rep 2022 | The Blue Room, Perth with Lazy Yarns 2023), and All That Glitters Is Not Mould (NIDA 2022). He has previously worked for the Sydney Fringe, Summerhall (Edinburgh Fringe) and Belvoir Street Theatre. His work has been featured in Overland, Voiceworks, Brag, Going Down Swinging, Transportation Press, Baby Teeth, and more. As a playwright he has had work in the Sydney Fringe, Old 505, Sydney Mardi Gras’s Playlist playreading festival, and Queer Theory in Glasgow, Scotland.
Two Foundation 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.
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 ATYP, the ATYP Foundation and Playlab.
- The 10-13 year old commission offers a successful playwright or writing team $11,800 to develop a 45 – 55 minute script suitable to be performed by actors aged between 10 and 13.
- The 14-17 year old commission offers a successful playwright or writing team $16,800 to develop a 80-90 minute script suitable to be performed by actors aged between 14 and 17.
In addition to the commissioning fee the winning applicant will receive:
- Expenses to travel to Sydney to workshop the script during development;
- 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 – a separate application is required for each commission.
- Plays should be 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 actors.
- Cast size for 14-17 year old commission should be a minimum of 8 actors.
- Plays that are driven by multiple characters are much more desirable than plays that rely on one central character.
- The synopsis should provide a clear sense of the action of the play/story.
- Plays should not rely on a devised process.
- 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.
- Be in a single PDF file and should include, in this order:
- Working title
- 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)
- Sample of your existing work that reflects your writing style (this should not be from the proposed play) – (max 3 pages).
- Please ensure your name and personal details do not appear anywhere on the PDF.
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.
- Successful applicants will participate in at least one script development workshop involving young people of the relevant age for the commission. This process will be coordinated by ATYP in consultation with the writer.
- 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.
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).
George Kemp ‘Shack’ (10-13) and Emme Hoy, ‘Cry Havoc’ (14-17).
No Commissions were awarded in 2021.
Michael Costi, ‘The Reboot’ (10-13) and Danny Ball, ‘Scab’ (14-17).
Michael Louis Kennedy, ‘The Racket’ (10-13) and Amy May Nunn, ‘Flicker Flicker Glow’ (14-17)