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Bowerbird: The Art of Making Theatre Drawn From Life

  • $29.99 GST included
  • In stock: 1
Title: Bowerbird: The Art of Making Theatre Drawn From Life
Author: Valentine, Alana
Price: $29.99

‘Mostly it feels like you don’t know—like you’re reaching for something that you can’t quite grab. Some writers talk about their fear of the blank page, but the playwright who draws work from life can have the opposite problem. Spoilt for choice. Presented with myriad possibilities and competing ideas of how to condense the source material or arrange it in a theatrically dynamic, original and compelling way. Lost in a sea of options, yet perversely obsessed with the interview not done, the perspective not transcribed, the final piece of the jigsaw forever elusive. And it’s not about a lack of confidence, although that can hum away in the background for longer than you might expect. It’s about not trying to have clarity. It’s about waiting until you do.’

So begins Bowerbird, a journey through the life and plays of Alana Valentine, as well as the creative process behind the plays. One of Australia’s most inventive playwrights, Alana shows the power of bringing new audiences into our theatres to share the space with traditional audiences, detailing how to gather and transform lived experience into compelling drama. In Bowerbird she reveals the motor of her artistry by combining stories from her life with observations from her experience.

‘Bowerbird is written with all the humanity, wisdom, humour and generosity that we recognise and love in Alana Valentine’s work. This is much more than a guide for aspiring writers: this is a book for anyone who loves theatre, its power and its people.’ - Neil Armfield AO


ALANA VALENTINE’s most recent award nomination is the Nick Enright Prize for Drama (NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, 2017) for Ladies Day. She is the recipient of two Errols (Tasmanian Theatre Awards, 2017) for The Tree Widows, which was awarded Best Writing (Professional Production) and the overall Judges’ Award for her ‘creative integration of community, culture and heritage’. Alana was also nominated for an Errol for Best Director (Professional Production) for The Tree Widows. In 2017 Alana is again working with Bangarra Dance Theatre as dramaturg on Bennelong, after successful collaborations on their productions Patyegarang and ID. Barbara and the Camp Dogs, co-written with Ursula Yovich, will be produced by Belvoir in December 2017. In November 2017, Venus Theatre Company (USA) will world premiere Alana’s play The Ravens. An extensive national tour of Letters to Lindy is planned for 2018. Alana’s website is www.alanavalentine.com.




Alana Valentine has carved a career bringing other people's lives to the stage. Often labelled a verbatim playwright, Alana has consistently pushed the boundaries of the form to find deeper truths and create what she describes as `close work theatre'. In Bowerbird she brings her know-how to the page combining stories from her life with observations from her experience. She talks about the hunger that drives artists, the importance of listening, the way to develop and sustain relationships with a particular community, different interview techniques, as well as how to navigate the path between artistic integrity and community relationships. She shares moments from her life and reflects on how they underpin her plays and her writing process. Bowerbird is a book full of insights that you will find yourself quoting in surprising contexts and casual conversations.

Publisher: Currency Press Pty Ltd
Publication date: 01/03/2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781925005677
Publishing status: AU Dropshipping in stock
Bowerbird: The Art of Making Theatre Drawn From Life