Malthouse Theatre Playwriting Innovation Award

*Submissions for Malthouse Theatre's 2021 Playwriting Innovation Award have now closed. Applicants will be notified by Wednesday, 12 May 2021*

Malthouse Theatre’s Playwriting Innovation Award is a new initiative supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund that is designed to provoke conversations about the future of playwriting in Australia, and acknowledge the innovative contributions made by local playwrights to the growth of the artform.

We know 'innovation' is a divisive term that obsesses over the novel. But we also know that our artform thrives on transformation, and that theatremakers are continually innovating in large and small ways. By placing the word front and centre, we want to face it head on, and talk in real terms about how theatre might evolve in the next decade.

The Award invites playwrights to consider what innovation means to them in the context of their practice—be it in audience development, content, form, process or collaboration. We're interested in how writers relate to this paradigm of 'innovation', where they see their practice shifting, and where they want to take it next.

The submission process asks playwrights to articulate their approach to innovation in the context of their previous work, and of a proposed new project they wish to write and develop in collaboration with Malthouse Theatre.

The recipient will be awarded a cash prize and full play commission to the total of $20,000, plus a creative development workshop and the support of Malthouse Theatre’s team to develop the work.

We'll also be sharing insights from the development of the work through the Engine Room Blog, so artists and audiences can continue the conversation with us.


The Award will be given to the playwright who demonstrates a significant contribution to innovation in the field of Australian playwriting. Submissions are open to all playwrights who are over 18 years of age and currently living in Australia, and playwrights from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

Playwrights are asked to submit one previous script and one project proposal. Submissions will be assessed on originality, insight, clarity, viability, and potential audience impact of these two works, and the innovative contribution they make to Australian playwriting.

Submissions will be assessed by Malthouse Theatre’s Artistic Team, including Artistic Director Matthew Lutton, New Work Manager Mark Pritchard, and Resident Artists Ra Chapman, Kamarra Bell-Wykes and Bridget Balodis.

Submission Questions:

  • Identify one of your previous works you’d like the panel to consider, and discuss that work here in the context of innovation. What were you exploring, and how did you go about it? (max. 300 words)
  • Attach the script (produced or unproduced) for that previous work (PDF attachment)
  • Outline the proposed commission you’d like to develop with Malthouse Theatre. Provide as much detail about the project as possible, considering content, form, process, and audience (PDF attachment. Max. 1000 words)
  • Briefly discuss your proposed project in the context of innovation. Why does this particular aspect of innovation interest you? (max. 300 words)

*Submissions for Malthouse Theatre's 2021 Playwriting Innovation Award have now closed*

If you have any questions, please contact Malthouse Theatre's New Work Manager Mark Pritchard on

This project is supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.