Emerge Project

The Emerge Project is a partnership between Switchboard Arts and Judith Wright Centre with support from QUT, Creative Arts Faculty providing a model for developing and nurturing emerging playwrights and other theatre workers in Brisbane. Emerge began in early 2005. It is run by Switchboard Arts and overseen by its Board.

JWC provides performance spaces, including its 240-seat theatre, 70-seat “Studio 4” and its new Shopfront “studio” venue with professional technical and promotions support, for developing and showcasing new performance work. Ticketing – at box office and via the internet – is provided by JWC staff.

Emerge continues from 2017 as a service to member playwrights with dramaturgical, workshopping & showcasing services.

Switchboard Arts supplies a diverse program of quality new performance product – theatre (in diverse styles), new music, cabaret, etc - from Brisbane’s community of emerging practitioners and small performance companies. The program includes work developed by Switchboard and its members and associated groups. The product and practitioners include “fringe”, alternative and innovative work. Switchboard through Emerge also provides development programs/ processes aimed at ongoing encouragement and practical help to outstanding practitioners. The development programs aim to directly improve standards of scripts and productions.

Emerge preserves creative freedom for new work, providing a safe and supportive environment where work can be developed, rehearsed and showcased.

JWC quality spaces, equipment, staffing and professional atmosphere encourage practitioners to seek excellence and innovation – in management, creativity and presentation.

Emerge has a focus on new Australian plays and emerging Brisbane playwrights with a range of development programs – dramaturgy strategies; in-house & public playreadings with focused feedback; showcase productions of short plays (10-minute play seasons; live-stage serials; one-acters in Double Feature seasons); interaction with professional writers and directors; showcase productions of full-length work (3-day seasons); and specific craft writing courses.


View our most recent projects below:

10-minute plays
E-book published December 2019.
Publisher: Switchboard Arts Co-op Ltd
Available through Amazon Kindle.

The Emerge Project was a nurturing environment created by Switchboard Arts, where playwrights developed their plays, from page to stage. Writing and staging 10-minute plays was a major method of playwright development. Every year, 10 selected short plays were given full productions on the same program at the Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane. They told interesting stories and engaged audiences - the two most important aspects of any successful play. These original scripts are a joyful reminder of the quality of work Emerge playwrights created.

Our contributors for this book are: Ariella Van Luyn, Belinda McCulloch, Ben Cornfoot, Bette Guy, Clem van der Weegen, Damian Smith, David Rendell, D.M. Cameron, Felicity Carpenter, Graham Mitchell, Karlo Bran, Margaret Dakin, Nelle Lee, Richard Jordan, Sally Rodda, Sonny Clarke and Ti Lian Siew.

Data from 2005-2010 Emerge projects

98 plays (including 54 ten-minute plays); 52 episodes (20-minutes each) of a live lunch-time soap-opera; 3 cabaret shows; 1 environmental opera; & 1 zombie musical … 67 local writers involved … over 110 actors … 24 directors … 53 techies & backstage team (not counting the professional staff at JWC) …several composers & musicians … 8 set, costume & poster designers …. 12 new music compositions … 20 short films …. several senior theatre people as mentors … 11 independent performance companies … Emerge shows included in Brisbane Festival Theatre Fringe, 2High Festival & Brisbane Writers Festival Fringe