In One Act - playwriting development program

Monday 04 February 2019

Interview with Adele Shelley, former participant and emerging playwright

In One Act is a free, creative development program presented by Yarra Libraries in partnership with Melbourne Writers’ Theatre. It gives new and emerging playwrights residing in the City of Yarra and beyond the opportunity to immerse themselves in an intensive, five-stage writing program.

Adele Shelley participated in the 2018 cohort and spoke with us to share her story and successes following the program.

Adele Shelley

How would you describe the program to others? 

The program is an incredible opportunity to develop playwriting skills in a supportive, collaborative environment. 

The program facilitator, Elizabeth Walley, created a dynamic and nurturing place to explore the craft of writing for theatre.

Our first session consisted of a series of playwriting activities, tips and ideas for writing a one-act play. We were then given the homework of preparing the first draft of a ten-minute play before our next get-together. During this session, we read each others’ work aloud before participants gave feedback on what they liked in each other’s pieces, as well as suggestions for development.

At our third session, our re-drafted pieces were read by experienced actors. This was a phenomenal opportunity to hear the work-in-progress in a theatrical context, and once again we received rich feedback from all involved.

The final stage of the program was a public performance, once again with professional actors giving rehearsed readings of our final pieces to a supportive audience of family and friends.

It was tremendous to be part of the journey for all the plays and writers involved. The feedback process was confronting at times, but an absolute gift as we all witnessed how it helped in the development of our skills and the improvement of our work.

What opportunities have arisen following your participation in the program?

Since participating in the program, I have been very fortunate to be involved with other Melbourne Writer Theatre productions. I was included as one of six playwrights and a co-director in MWT’s recent season of Six Degrees in Melbourne and am currently writing a short play for their upcoming June 2019 production ‘Beachside Stories’.

How has it changed your life?

‘In One Act’ gave me a wonderful experience of developing my playwriting skills as well as my confidence in collaborating on theatre projects.  ‘In One Act’ also introduced me to a new community of people who want to write for the stage and I look forward to creating theatre with some of them in the future.


Applications for the 2019 cohort of In One Act are now open!

Register your interest for this life-changing opportunity
Follow the link and complete the short questionnaire before 5pm, Friday 15 March.


Words by Adele Shelley.


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