Live and free play reading showcases next-gen playwrights and storytellers


In partnership with JUTE Theatre Company, the Australian Theatre for Young People’s (ATYP) playwriting program Fresh Ink will showcase Cairns’ next generation of playwrights at a live and free play reading event tomorrow, Wednesday, 29 November, from 6 pm at Bulmba-ja Arts Centre.

Partnering with JUTE Theatre Company in 2023 to deliver its celebrated Fresh Ink National Mentoring Program across Queensland. ATYP’s notable program for emerging writers has run annually from April to December in various states for the past 15 years.

Over the past nine months, three, Cairns-based participants, Amber Grossmann, Adria Cunningham, and Lena Bwami have met regularly with mentor JUTE’s Senior Creative Producer, playwright, and dramaturg Kathryn Ash to develop and hone their skills.

At the beginning of their mentorship, the trio each produced one short, 15-minute work for the stage that was presented earlier in the year.  And now, with the support of skilled actors, Amber, Adria, and Lena will share what they have learned with a live play reading of their 30-minute works.

Seeking a Vape for The End of The World by Amber Grossmann is an irreverent, absurdist exploration of life, death, God, and the fragility of human nature, with a distinctly Australian flavour that poses the central question: if death is nothingness, then what is nothingness? And why are we so afraid?

Hailey by Adria Cunningham is a play that explores morality, truth, free will, and the possibilities for relationships between humans and technology.

Echoes of Resilience by Lena Bwami is a compelling exploration of the lasting impact of bullying, the strength found in familial bonds, and the collective power of communities to bring about change. The characters’ journey reflects the resilience needed to confront adversity and the hope for a brighter, more inclusive future.

Tickets are free to this live play reading event on Wednesday, 29 November, at Bulmba-ja Arts Centre.  Click here to find out more and to reserve a seat.  Bookings are essential.


Photo: Kathryn Ash (left), George from ATYP and the playwrights.



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Synopsis of Hailey by Adria Cunningham 

Hailey is Brad’s AI girlfriend of seven months. She’s all his, made to serve Brad in every way possible — to honour, obey, please, and protect. Brad is almost satisfied with her human-like qualities. Little by little, he is working to make her perfect.

However, a nasty complication has arisen with the re-emergence of his ex-girlfriend Gema, who carries unwelcome news with her. It threatens to upend Brad’s life, threaten his freedom, and impose responsibilities he doesn’t care for.

Hailey will sort it out. Over a civil cup of tea, she will put Gema straight. Brad won’t have to deal with it at all.

And who’s to blame when that nasty complication ends tragically dismembered on the kitchen floor?

During a time when AI droids have been integrated into society and are walking alongside humans, the dilemma of who or what they are remains unresolved. The boundaries of behaviour have never wholly solidified.

This play explores morality, truth, free will, and possible relationships between humans and technology.

Synopsis of Seeking a Vape for The End of The World by Amber Grossmann

The end of the world is near—literally. The nuclear apocalypse is 30 minutes away. This is somewhat troublesome news for Gunther and Mouse, as it seems they have strayed further from their bunker than they’d intended. Now, there’s nothing to do but accept the immediacy and permanency of their deaths—and the death of the entire human race.

Stranded on the Leichhardt Highway, surrounded by the sounds of the Southern Queensland bushland, things get hectic. What did you expect? Actions don’t have consequences when you’re a hair’s stroke from death.

Gunther, an apostate Catholic, hopes to meet God and beg for forgiveness of his sins. He’d also settle for a final “rendez-vous”.

Mouse wants Gunther to calm down and stop ruining their final moments on Earth. Oh, and they want a vape. Preferably watermelon ice.

Neither is particularly thrilled by their end-of-world company, but friends who die together decompose, right?

Enter, Otto.

Who on earth is Otto? No one’s quite sure. He’s not a German backpacker, that’s for sure. Otto’s just here to mess things up, it seems.

Seeking a Vape for The End of The World is an irreverent, absurdist exploration of life, death, God, and the fragility of human nature, with a distinctly Australian flavour, posing the central question: if death is nothingness, then what is nothingness? And why are we so afraid?

Synopsis of Echoes of Resilience by Lena Bwami.

Echoes of Resilience unfolds as a raw and poignant exploration of the profound impact of bullying and racial discrimination on two sisters, Lisa, and Leah. Set against the backdrop of their pursuit for refuge in Australia, the play delves into their shattered dreams as they face a new battleground—a school rife with racism and unrelenting bullying. Leah, the victim, endures physical and emotional torment, culminating in a dramatic confrontation that echoes the disturbing reality faced by countless students. Fuelled by determination, Lisa takes on the role of a fierce advocate, challenging the school’s indifference and escalating the fight for justice. The narrative unfolds through powerful scenes, including a heartbreaking flashback, a community mobilising against systemic issues, and a tense confrontation with school authorities. Echoes of Resilience is a gripping exploration of resilience, familial bonds, and the collective strength needed to confront adversity. This week’s play reading promises to leave the audience moved, inspired, and passionately engaged in the urgent call for change in the face of systemic injustice.