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Short Stories on Stage

Stages WA and PCWC collaborate to adapt Peter Cowan’s short stories into plays

West Australian arts organisations, the Peter Cowan Writers’ Centre Inc (PCWC) and Stages WA, are pleased to announce a collaboration to adapt the short stories of WA Living Treasure Peter Cowan into ten-minute plays.

The project forms part of PCWC’s 20th anniversary celebrations with the centre named after Peter Cowan (1914–2002), an esteemed international short story writer, WA Premier’s Book Award for Fiction winner (The Color of the Sky, 1986), novelist, teacher and former co-editor of Westerly. PCWC Acting President Susan Stevens said, ‘We are thrilled that this collaboration with Stages WA will see Peter Cowan’s stories adapted for play readings for the public to access during our anniversary year.’

Six playwrights from PCWC will create the plays under the guidance of Stages WA dramaturg, Polly Low, in preparation for play readings by actors at the Joondalup Library on 9 August 2015. Ms Low commented, ‘I am delighted to be working on this playwriting project and look forward to vibrant discussions and creative explorations.’

Peter Cowan’s short stories are renowned for their themes of isolation, loneliness and despair set against West Australian landscapes or in contemporary suburbs. The short stories: ‘The Red- Backed Spiders’, ‘Mobiles’, ‘The Corner’, ‘Love and Affection’, ‘A Touch of Love’ and ‘Film’ have been selected from Cowan’s eight volumes of short fiction for adaption for the play readings.

Stages WA Director Marie Rodger said, ‘Stages WA are excited to provide this developmental opportunity to the PCWC playwrights. Dramaturgical support and a facilitated play reading are crucial elements in the development of a script, and an integral part of advancing a play to a professional stage for performance.’

The play readings at 2pm at the Joondalup Library on 9 August will give the audience the opportunity to hear West Australian stories and provide the playwrights with important feedback on how they can further refine their plays.

Call (08) 9301 2282, or email cowan05@bigpond.com for more information about the play readings.