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- Sydney Writers' Festival
Sydney Writers' Festival: Staging Our Stories
With Louis Nowra, Stephen Sewell and Martin Portus
Louis Nowra and Stephen Sewell – two of Australia’s most accomplished, provocative and controversial playwrights – share their stories of surviving 40 years of Australian theatre making. Both writers created a new ‘internationalist’ theatre with stories of political and moral collapses in foreign countries, before forging their own Australian idiom to pick apart similar challenges back home. This event marks the release of Louis and Stephen’s interviews with critic and arts broadcaster Martin Portus for the State Library of New South Wales Oral History Collection.
Louis Nowra is the author of such plays as Inner Voices, Visions, Inside the Island, Cosi, Radiance and The Boyce Trilogy. He has written five non-fiction works including The Cheated, Warne's World and Walkabout. He is also the author of non-fiction work including The Misery of Beauty, Pali and Ice, as well as the young adult novels Into That Forest and Prince of Afghanistan. He has also written two memoirs, audio plays, telemovies and film scripts. Ice was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2009, and won an Honourable Mention in the Manning Clark House National Cultural Awards 2009.
Stephen Sewell is one of the most celebrated writers in Australia today. Well known for both film and theatre work, Stephen’s work includes his AFI award-winning script The Boys and plays such as The Blind Giant is Dancing, The Secret Death of Salvador Dali and Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America. Three Furies, which Stephen wrote for director Jim Sharman, premiered to enormous acclaim at the 2005 Sydney Festival, before transferring in 2006 to successful seasons at the Adelaide, Perth and Auckland Arts Festivals. Myth, Propaganda and Disaster has garnered more awards than any play in Australian theatrical history including the 2004 Green Room Award, both the New South Wales and Victoria Premier’s Literary Awards 2004 and the 2004 AWGIE for stage play. Internationally, Myth received its London premiere at the Orange Tree Theatre in 2004 to rave reviews, had a sell-out production in Germany in 2005 and a production for Scandinavia in 2005-6.
Martin Portus is a former Director of Marketing and Communication at the Australia Council for the Arts. Previous positions he has held are senior policy adviser to the Lord Mayor of Parramatta and the inaugural Director of Public Affairs at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. From 1989–2000 he was an ABC TV and Radio National arts broadcaster and producer where in turn he was the presenter of Arts National, presenter of Performance (a performing arts specialist program), and the producer/presenter of Arts Today. A former journalist, he has worked as a theatre critic for over twenty years. He holds a BA in Politics from the University of Adelaide and a Diploma of International Journalism from City University, London.