Beta Theatre: a festival for new writing

New writing for theatre often goes through a lengthy development process before an audience sees it on stage. Lonely Company’s two-night Beta Fest: Theatre in Various States of Undress is going to upend that process by presenting new unfinished writing from well-known and emerging playwrights.

Fleur Kilpatrick. Photo by Sarah Walker.
Fleur Kilpatrick. Photo by Sarah Walker.

Lonely Company is an initiative of playwrights Fleur Kilpatrick, Bridget Mackey and Morgan Rose and is built around the idea that playwriting is lonelier than a collaborative art form should be. The company has mentored new writers through their own process of development over the last two years, but this new festival is a new project.

Beta Fest focuses on presenting new writing in its raw state, before the work is smoothed out over years of development and dramaturgy. It gives audiences a chance to witness the earliest stages of new plays and allow the writers to see what is and isn’t working, perhaps before they have even finished a first draft.

Producer Anna Kennedy wants the festival to bring the independent theatre community together to discuss new ideas, form teams and broaden their networks. She also hopes to attract non-theatre makers to Beta Fest to get a glimpse into the creative process and to get audiences engaged with these new ideas at the earliest stages.

Marcel Dorney (Elbow Room) and Beng Oh (15 Minutes from Anywhere) will direct the pieces: two full drafts and several play fragments.  Dorney says the key attribute of the festival is support for writers as their new work is revealed.

The program includes works from Tom Holloway (Double Indemnity, Sunshine), Rachel Perks (Angry Sexx, Ground Control) and Katy Warner (A Prudent Man).

Lonely Company has also invited local playwrights to submit fragments of their new works to be considered for inclusion. If you’re interested in submitting part of a new unfinished work, email your short piece (between five and ten minutes) to [email protected].

Beta Fest is at Siteworks in Brunswick on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 February from 5 pm to 10 pm. There will also be music and  food and drinks, as well as lots of room to discuss new works and ideas.

To encourage attendance, Lonely Company is asking for audience members to pay what they are able to – beginning from $10 for one night or $15 for both. Bookings a

Get along, support new work and make sure you talk with the playwrights after. It makes them feel appreciated and less lonely.

Beta Fest
Beta Fest

Keith Gow

Keith Gow is an internationally-produced playwright, best known for Who Are You Supposed to Be (Edinburgh Fringe 2013, Melbourne Fringe 2014, Adelaide Fringe 2015). He is also co-writer of the upcoming supernatural drama series Sonnigsburg which will air on Channel 31. He blogs about his writing, film and theatre at

Keith Gow

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