Holding Redlich partners with Canberra Youth Theatre to support next generation of young playwrights


Holding Redlich’s partners Elizabeth Carroll and Andrew Klein with Canberra Youth Theatre’s Artistic Director & CEO Luke Rogers.
Photo credit: James Harber

National law firm Holding Redlich and Canberra Youth Theatre have today announced a new long-term partnership, in which Holding Redlich will be the principal sponsor of the Emerging Playwright Commission for the next three years.

Canberra Youth Theatre’s Emerging Playwright Commission offers professional support to an emerging Australian playwright, to create a new full-length work that brings the voices and stories of youth to the stage.

It places emerging playwrights at the centre of the creative process, and is specifically designed to springboard writers at a crucial point in their career. The commission is for emerging Australian playwrights aged under 35 who have created a modest body of work, but have not yet been professionally produced by a major theatre company.

The commission offers an emerging playwright or writing team $16,500 to develop a full-length script suitable to be performed by actors aged anywhere between 7 and 25.

Canberra Youth Theatre’s Artistic Director & CEO, Luke Rogers, said the commission provides an invaluable opportunity to an emerging playwright that will see their initial ideas developed and brought to life.

“In 2022, Canberra Youth Theatre celebrates the phenomenal 50-year legacy of bringing young people together to collaborate and create, with a focus on our proud history of commissioning and developing new Australian works created especially for young people. With Holding Redlich’s support, we will continue to invest in and support emerging playwrights to stretch their creative boundaries and reach a wider audience for their stories,” Luke added.

The principal sponsor, Holding Redlich, has a long history of supporting the arts nationally. The new partnership expands on the firm’s national sponsorship initiatives, which include the Salon des Refusés exhibition in Sydney, the Art Masters Exhibition by the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, the Flying Arts Alliance in Brisbane and regional Queensland, and the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.

Holding Redlich National Managing Partner, Ian Robertson AO, said the firm is proud to be the principal sponsor of the three-year program.

“Our firm’s long-standing support for the arts stems from our founder, Peter Redlich, who was a great supporter of the arts. This is our first-ever sponsorship for emerging playwrights, and we are excited to partner with the Canberra Youth Theatre to help these young artists develop their own artistic practice,” Ian said.

In 2021, Canberra Youth Theatre received over 50 applications from around the country for the inaugural Emerging Playwright Commission program, with writers from all across Australia eligible to apply.

ACT-based artist, Joanna Richards, who was awarded the commission last year, said the commission offered her an enormous opportunity to develop as a playwright.

“To write material for young people — about what is arguably one of the most formative times in any person’s life — is such a gift. I am excited to create a work that is intellectually meaty and performatively fun for an ensemble to work on. I am indebted to Canberra Youth Theatre for giving me this opportunity,” Joanna added.

Applications are now open for the 2022 commission, and will close on 11 September.

To apply, and for further information, visit canberrayouththeatre.com.au/commissions.