Queer Playwriting Award

Image: Home Fires Burning by Maeve Marsden. Photography by Suzanne Balding

Queer Playwriting Award

(previously Playtime Stage Readings)

Presented by Gasworks Arts Park in association with Midsumma Festival.

The annual Queer Playwriting Award (previously Playtime Staged Readings) is part of the Midsumma Presents Program, a collaboration between Gasworks Arts Park and Midsumma Festival. The results below show the outcome of the 2020 Showcase and hold information for the upcoming Queer Playwriting Awards (Midsumma Festival audiences).


Midsumma congratulates all of the 2020 finalists who presented their work as part of Midsumma Festival 2020, including the 2020 winner Maeve Marsden for Home Fires Burning

In its fourth year the Queer Playwriting Showcase sold-out to audiences at Gasworks Arts Park with judges, announcing on 11 Feb, that Home Fires Burning by Maeve Marsden will take home the award for Queer Playwriting 2020. Marsden is set to work alongside Midsumma and Gasworks over the next few months to deliver a full work for Midsumma Festival audiences.

“I'm so thrilled to have my work in progress selected for the Queer Playwriting Award. It was an honour to present the reading with such brilliant actors, and to see, through performance, what did and didn't work, what needs polishing, how the dialogue feels in a room full of people. I'll be developing the play this year and am excited to see where the story takes me, and I thank Gasworks for this honour and for the support of new queer work.” - Maeve Marsden, writer of Home Fires Burning

The reading of Home Fires Burning was performed by Queenie Van De Zandt, Ali McGregor, Brooke Rayner, Wil King and read by Maeve Marsden.

"Gasworks Arts Park congratulates the team behind Home Fires Burning for the creation of a new Australian play concept which presents a family story with broad audience appeal, complete with a bucket load of humour. We are really looking forward to working with Maeve MArsden and the team to bring this work to audiences across Melbourne at Midsumma Festival in 2021" Tamara Jungwirth - Director and CEO, Gasworks Arts Park

The Queer Playwriting Awards identifies, supports and develops original Australian theatre with a queer focus. The LGBTQIA+ community is diverse, exciting and full of stories and ideas that deserve to be heard on the stages of performing arts venues throughout the country.  The ultimate aim of The Queer Playwriting Awards is to tour the work nationally to expose it to a wide range of metropolitan, regional and rural audiences.

"Midsumma is so proud of all of the finalists who presented their works as part of Queer Playwriting Award Showcase 2020. Each of the works presented represented a fresh new playwright each with their own unique artistic vision and insights into contemporary queer life. We would like to extend the congrats to Maeve Marsden and her team for Home Fires Burning and, together with Gasworks, we are excited to bring this new work to life for Midsumma Festival audiences." - Felicity McIntosh, Marketing and Communications Manager - Midsumma Festival

To submit your work as part of Queer Playwriting Awards 2021, please read the overview, submission info and key date notes below.

Midsumma and Gasworks present up to 4 new play readings each year, selected from a large pool of entrants. There will be one winner who will receive ongoing support and development with a view to becoming a full-scale work to be presented in Midsumma Festival 2021 or beyond. 

A one-night event is held during Midsumma Festival to give you a chance to experience the finalist's entries in 15-minute excerpts, meet the creators and have your say to help select the Queer Playwriting Award Showcase favourite. Your vote and feedback as an audience member will be heard. 


Creators of new or developing works of theatre are invited to submit their proposals for consideration by a panel of supportive industry professionals. If you have an idea for a show, a completed script, or anything in between, we want to hear from you. Up to 4 works will be selected by the industry panel and invited to present a 15 minute staged reading between 17 Jan - 7 Feb at Gasworks Arts Park as part of Midsumma Festival 2021. One work will be selected to receive ongoing support and development with a view to becoming a full-scale work to be presented in Midsumma Festival 2022 or beyond. 

If you have any queries, contact Gasworks Arts Park on 03 8606 4200 or email [email protected].


  • Queer Playwriting Award call-out commences: Mid-August 2020
  • Call out closes: Early September 2020
  • Selection Panel Meets (to select finalists): Mid-September
  • Applicants notified and participation/details confirmed: Early October 2020
  • Gasworks Midsumma Opening Function: During Midsumma Festival 2021
  • Queer Playwriting Award & Showcase: During Midsumma Festival 2021
  • Selection Panel Meets (to select Award recipient): February 2021
  • Award recipient announced: February 2021

The 2020 list of finalists:

WINNER: Home Fires Burning by Maeve Marsden
Ruth and Judith are breaking up, but they’ll be damned if they let their Sunday family lunch tradition go. A lesbian divorce farce, Home Fires Burning satirises society’s obsession with the nuclear family, via food fights, fierce debates and overpriced cheese.
Butterfly Kicks by Jamila Main
Butterfly Kicks follows three teenage girls as they experience queer self-discovery and first love, fuelled by teenage adrenaline, salt water, and underage vodka.
Gravity by Bradford Elmore
Bradford Elmore’s semi-autobiographical debut play is a poignantly unapologetic story about one man’s need to understand his bisexuality, and the ways love moves us when gender is only part of the question.
New Wave by Margot Morales Tanjutco

New Wave is a punk-fuelled coming-of-age comedy about rebellion, rebranding revolutions, and the first love you might meet along the way.

Queer Playwriting Award Showcase 2019 featured excerpts from new plays by playwrights Angus Cameron, Rachel Edmonds and Glenn Saunders.

WINNER: Cavemen by Angus Cameron – Tim's a cub from the country, whereas Mike's an outer-suburbs otter. Oscar's more of a wolf (from the wealthy inner-east). And Chris? He's a bear from the bush. Categories. Conflict. Couples. Comrades. Change?

When You Had Braces by Rachel Edmonds – Following the death of her daughter, Lily leaves to stay with her estranged sister Paige. As childhood rivalries arise, they challenge the boundaries of sisterhood.

The Book of Ducks by Glenn Saunders – A brand new fairy tale for everyone who never got to be the main character in the old ones. When Callie and George discover a duck in their backyard, they realise they've adopted more than they expected, and learn to declare what they believe in.

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