After a rigorous selection process, nine new stories about the places we live have been commissioned for a second season of Come to Where I Am – Australia, the exciting writing and performance initiative from the UK’s Paines Plough and Critical Stages Touring, Australia’s national touring theatre company.

The nine works come from across the country and represent a mix of rural, regional, suburban and metro experiences from a diverse group of authors. The stories will be produced as 10-minute video postcards, performed on location by the writers, in the region they are writing about.

Highlights include Michele Lee’s Real Housewives of Coburg, a gently humourous riff on the international reality franchise; a fire-fighting action adventure set in the secret valleys of the Blue Mountains for Erica Brennan’s Jurassic Bark; and Māori antidisciplinary artist Daley Rangi’s Brutal offers up a caustic lyrical monologue on Perth’s socio-architectural homogeneity, uncovering the smouldering truth hidden in the shadow of a WA sunset.

This year’s successful writers receive a $1500 writer’s fee, dramaturgical support from Paines Plough and Critical Stages Touring, plus technical and editing support to produce their video. The finished works will be featured across two livestream special events broadcast over Facebook and YouTube, before living on in the CST Screening Room and on the Paines Plough website.

Paines Plough launched the original Come To Where I Am in response to the pandemic in the UK. The 2020 Australian season was the first international partnership, and the program has since gone on to produce 50+ short plays across the UK, Australia and Europe.

The original season of Come to Where I Am – Australia was watched by over five thousand viewers across four volumes, with the livestream events introducing Australia and the UK to fifteen stories created by sixteen writers. The production underpinned the expansion of Critical Stages Touring’s digital initiatives, and the company has continued to develop digital theatrical experiences, including digital touring and education opportunities for regional and remote communities.

The project is based on an exceptionally successful program from UK project partner Paines Plough. Since 2010 Paines Plough have engaged more than 180 playwrights with invitations to write and perform short plays about their home towns and the places that shaped them, distributed globally through their smartphone and tablet app – Come to Where I’m From.

Chris Bendall, CEO of Critical Stages Touring said, “I am so very much looking forward to sharing these unique stories from around Australia. With so many of us spending far more time at home than we ever have before, and with money returning to home towns we left long ago, these pieces reflect the rich and complex relationships we have with where we live.” Chris continued, “in a time where much of our live performance touring has been put on hold, this project is an immensely rewarding opportunity for all the writers involved as well as the audiences who will get to experience these stories from their own homes”

Charlotte Bennet and Katie Posner, Joint Artistic Directors of Paines Plough, said “We are once again blown away by the terrific talent from the writers we have had the pleasure working with on the Come To Where I Am project. It has been a really special experience working with Critical Stages Touring, and also gaining an insight into the lived experience of writers who are continually reflecting on what home means to them. As a new writing company, the opportunity to continue to transcend borders is hugely important to us and we are so excited to have collaborated on this project.”

The first volume of Come to Where I Am – Australia – Season 2 will premiere on the Critical Stages Touring website, social channels, and on the Paines Plough YouTube channel on 1st December 2021. Volume two will premiere on 8th December 2021.

The successful writers are:

  • Peter Beaglehole – Clarendon, SA | Kaurna country
  • Erica Brennan – Blue Mountains, NSW | Gundungurra & Darug country
  • Tasnim Hossain – Canberra, ACT | Ngunnawal country
  • Michele Lee – Melbourne, VIC | Kulin Nation (Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri)
  • Anna Loren – Sunshine Coast, QLD | Kabi Kabi and Jinibara country
  • Socratis Otto – Sydney, NSW | Gadigal country
  • Daley Rangi – Perth, WA | Whadjuk Noongar boodjar
  • Nicholas Vagne – Jindabyne, NSW | Ngarigo country
  • Cassandra-Elli Yiannacou – Traralgon, VIC | Gunaikurnai country