Presented by Ella Hetherington & Renée Newman


Playwrights 02 Ella Renee

Residency in Jul


Near death experiences

An exploration of internal and external crises/catastrophes: near death experiences, failing bodies, sleeplessness and chaos all told through performative truth-telling and the conceptual/metaphorical/literal image of rising water and warming global temperatures.

As part of the Playwrights program in Winter Nights 2020, an initiative supporting the development of four new scripts. Each work will undertake a week-long development, but will not present anything publicly as part of Winter Nights.

What is your development/work about and what happens?

The work is about the private and public catastrophes that we face – flood, virus, fire – through the lens of parenthood. What does it mean to be a mum when you have no idea what future your kid will face? It’s about leaning towards humanity and humility.

How are you developing your work?

The online is the real world. It has been our world for much longer than COVID-19. We have young kids and we work. When we started this, we were on the other side of the country. So, everything for us is a series of short bursts of writing, lots of listening to each other and music and stuff. It is talking.

What are you excited about in this project, and what are you hoping to get out of it?

Time away from our children and our work. Time to be in the space – socially distant. Time to focus on this. We’re hoping to have a working script, a score (potentially choreographic score) to take to development at the end of the year.

What are you exploring?

In the early days of post birth trauma and breast-feeding nightmares there was something crude yet brilliant about the delirium and the downright righteousness of fellow parents. It mirrored the current state of being in the world, of post-truth, populism and populist leaders, of climate denialism and rampant consumerism. Of a world accelerating toward the greatest existential threat of our times – rising waters, drying lands, burning trees, chaotic storms and melting ice. Our thoughts have never been so huge, endless, random, chaotic and constant. We thought we should make something about this chaos. Make a work that says something about the world and make art that is an act of care – self care and care for others. Bam.

Who is in your team?

Right now, it is Ella Hetherington and Renée Newman – co-creators.

A playwright development, as part of Winter Nights 2020
Supported by Minderoo Foundation

Image of Renée Newman & Ella Hetherington. Shot by Duncan Wright