Writer-In-Residence 2024/2025

Start date of Residency
1 May 2024
Masthead Image
Masthead Image
1 May 2024

Playwright and actress Jo Tan joins us as our Writer in Residence from May 2024 to March 2025. This 10-month residency aims to spotlight and platform the Writer in Residence through presentations of her works, and engagements with younger writers and the public.

As part of the residency, Jo will also be participating in the New Scripts Garage, offering dramaturgical support and feedback to scripts from the open call. 

Artist Statement / Inquiry

You’d think artists would be immune to the productivity plague. No. I am a terminal patient. Not even that long ago, I told someone that I needed to put out three new plays to be staged every year, which is not sane. My thinking was, I was only a playwright during the periods I was actively wrighting. And after the wrighting, the things I wrote must be witnessed by an audience in the form of full, ticketed productions - otherwise were my scribbles even plays, or just journal entries?

There were years that I did put out three new plays – or even more - which got staged. And I wasn’t necessarily happy with all of them. There were some plays I was barely happy working on at all. Recently, I realised that was the hazard of writing to prove you exist.

In this residency, I’d like to revisit writing with the assurance that yes, I exist – because otherwise why would these other writers and dramaturgs be catching up with me every month or so, to chat about my playwriting, which thus must also exist (despite perhaps still being un-staged)? I will also be looking at my writing that has been staged – if a staging isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of a script, then surely the script can be revisited, made different, on its continuous way to becoming the best version of itself.

I’d like to immerse myself in the work of other writers, and through our conversations and readings and speculations, imagine new possibilities or horrors for our present or future characters. I’d like to walk with other people as they explore – what if the stagings of their shows weren’t the be-all-and-end-all either? What if we went back to what questions compelled us to write in the first place, explored what we could learn from the staging, and somehow found our way to the other side of the reviews and balance sheets and social media posts, to discover a more exciting way to answer our original questions, and maybe a much more exciting way of working?

In this coming year, I hope to enjoy, and offer, the safety of being in a community of writers, and through that safety, collectively rediscover some freedom and truth. And hopefully, to be cured of the productivity plague (at least for a year).

Residency Schedule

During this term, Jo will be embarking on some projects and participating in some of the Centre's ongoing new writing development programmes. Look forward to her engagements:

  • June-September 2024:

    Rewriting and redeveloping her script Happy Place.

  • 20-21 July 2024, 3pm and 6pm (Both days):

    Showcase of her play Forked at 42 Waterloo Street in support of its tour to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at Summerhall. 

    Request for seats can be made here, with a minimum donation of $18. Added donations are also welcome!

  • June - November 2024:

    Involvement in New Scripts Garage cycles with reading and selection of scripts, and to offer individual script consultations for shortlisted scripts.

  • Mid-September 2024

    Conducting a workshop.


Jo Tan