Melbourne Theatre Company recently announced the inaugural writers-in-residence as part of its $4.6 million NEXT STAGE Writers’ Program.
Three playwrights were chosen to join the program, taking up residency with MTC for up to three years! And we are proud to announce that one of Monash CTP's very own Alumni Natesha Somasundaram was one of the three writers chosen!
Congratulations Natesha, we are so proud of you and the work you are doing.
We spoke with Natesha and asked her a few questions:-
Your name is up there in lights with some of Australia's most exciting playwrights – Patricia Cornelius, Michael Gow, Joanna Murray-Smith to name a few – tell us how you feel right now after the official announcement?
It all feels pretty surreal! When I told my parents, (who still don’t really understand what I do, bless their souls) – they were pretty nonchalant about it, so I went on with my life as usual for a week. It was amazing and illuminating – to receive such an overwhelmingly positive response from my friends and public, it really made me realise how incredible this opportunity is. I’m excited and honoured to be able to observe so many of my writing idols at work.
What is Next Stage all about and what will you be doing?
It’s a year long residency, in which I share a funky office with Kylie Trounson and Dan Giovanni (the other two resident playwright) and have free reign to do whatever I like; including but not limited to being able to stalk everyone in the company and watch them work – from set designers, to directors, to accounting guy. I’ll also be given the artistic support to write as much as I want, and have the opportunity for that work to be workshopped and publicly presented. It’s pretty wild!
What sort of plays have you done in the past?
Weird ones that are also funny and sometimes sad.
Are you working on something now and can you tell us a little about it?
I’m working a new play called ‘Jeremy and Lucas buy a Fucking House’ – about two young men who desperately want to break in to the property market, so end up buying a very small patch of dirt to live on. The father of one of the character’s is a cardboard cut out of Karl Stefanovic. There’s also a prominently featured robotic dog. (I’m also performing in it, yikies). It’ll be on at La Mama Courthouse, November 15-17 as part of the Explorations Season! Come have a weird time with me!
What are you hoping Next Stage will lead to?
I’m hoping that it will give me a solid foundation to continue playwriting for the next twenty years.
Fave playwright right now?
Sam Shepard! I’m reading his collected works for the first time. He’s brilliant at creating a façade of normalcy and then cracking it open to let some real strangeness ooze out.
Last play you went to see?
Niche by Elbow Room at Northcote Town Hall. It was a mesmering examination of popular culture, and also eerily prophetic (a la Taylor Swift) and I want to see it again and again and again. I love Elbow Room!
What is your fave style of writing?
Anything that makes me feel something.
When did you graduate from Monash?
I completed my Bachelor of Performing Arts in 2016!
In one word how do you feel right now?
FOR MORE INFO on the Artist In Resident program and all about the announcement from MTC, check-out here:-