Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Creative Arts)


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Supervisor

Dr Maggi Phillips


This thesis examines aspects of dramaturgy delivered by a dramaturg, and the practical contributions of dramaturgs to both the writer and the theatre industry in Australia. It investigates elements of the working relationship between dramaturgs and playwrights, looks at the chameleon-like nature of the theatre dramaturg and examines how Australian writers, directors and dramaturgs perceive the role/s of the dramaturg. The thesis is partly a reflective investigation of personal practice, partly an historical investigation of the emergence of Australian ideas about dramaturgy, and partly an active investigation into what can help to make a constructive playwright/dramaturg relationship. A major aim of this investigation is to examine the practical aspects of the dramaturg’s work, and the effect of dramaturgy on playwrights and their scripts. What outcomes of a writer/dramaturg relationship can be observed? Can the effect of discussion and oral examination of a script be measured accurately? Outlining the areas considered by a dramaturg when discussing a script gives an indication of how a playwright is urged to think more deeply about the world of his or her play. Additionally, placing myself in the position of receiving dramaturgical input has expanded my understanding of the doors dramaturgy opens and the dead-end alleys it can warn against. Through my research I have discovered that there are important questions to consider regarding the parameters of the playwright/dramaturg relationship. These considerations need to be addressed at the beginning of any collaboration between a dramaturg and playwright. However the two individuals are also subject to the ambiguous nature of dramaturgy in the Australian setting, which brings external pressures to bear on the relationship by companies and other stakeholders.

Access Note

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Playwriting Commons