Morning Star


subtlenuance is inviting writers to submit an Expression of Interest for our new multi-playwright project.


Founded in 2008, subtlenuance is a Sydney-based, independent theatre company solely dedicated to the creation of original, Australian work.

Have a look around our website to see what we’ve been up to. 

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The project


Morning Star is our 5th multi-playwright project (and will be our 26th production). We’ve had great responses to our experiments with the multi-playwright form, working with some brilliant artists to produce Bare Boards Brave Hearts, The Political Hearts of Children, And Now to Bed, and High Windows Low Doorways.


“Who needs 'big' theatre, when 'little' theatre can be so blindingly brilliant?”

Australian Stage Online  


“this show, with such a deceptively simple premise, is a vastly important piece of theatre”

5th Wall


“a wonderfully engaging piece of original theatre”

Lisa Thatcher 


“The Political Hearts of Children was one of my favourite productions from big or little theatre in 2013. As High Windows Low Doorways used the same immensely successful collaborative approach, I was eager to see this. I was not disappointed: it was brilliant.”

South Sydney Herald  


“This is what true theatre is all about!"  

Theatre Unzipped


"a fantastic show….. Each performance is a finely tuned microcosm that together, bring some excellent and amusing writing to brilliant life" 

The Buzz from Sydney 


“Gilchrist and Giorgi rarely disappoint and, here, they’ve excelled themselves; in their own right, but also in showing, on the whole, profound programmatic judgement"  



Morning Star will take the same approach as our previous multi-playwright projects. 

Each writer, after initially working on an individual piece, will collaborate with the director to combine the different pieces into a single cohesive work of art.

This is not showcase theatre. Our primary aim is not to give opportunities for writers, emerging or otherwise! Our aim is to produce something genuine, provocative and beautiful.


In this project, we are inviting writers to explore a PERNICIOUS IDEA.

We define a PERNICIOUS IDEA as an idea that is mischievous or unhelpful; a way of looking at the world that increases human suffering.


Let us give some examples of PERNICIOUS IDEAS:

A historical example: that women are not as capable as men.

A pop culture example: that popularity is a goal worth pursuing.

An example from economics: giving money to the wealthy is the best way to help the poor. 

* If you'd like some more examples, see the bottom the page.

We are not asking for a completed script - all we currently require is a pitch.

Ultimately, writers will create a short piece (no more than 15 minutes) that explores:

  • The nature of one mischievous or unhelpful idea that exists in the public forum. (ANY idea you consider pernicious. Avoid the obvious. Forget religion, unless you are religious. And remember, the most pernicious ideas are those that are not patently so. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.)

  • How this type of idea comes into circulation. (The idea must have some currency in public discourse. A word of warning: Don't choose an abstraction of an unconscious psychological strategy, like "I'll reject them before they reject me". As soon as an individual asserts this sort of idea out loud, it becomes apparent to her that the idea is flawed. Unconscious psychological strategies often provide good fodder for dramatists, but they're not what we'd like to explore with this project. Our goal is to explore ideas that people 'own' publicly.)  

  • The impact of this pernicious idea on individuals and/or society (though you may ultimately choose not to spell this out in your script; less is often more.)


In your pitch, you simply need to tell us how you intend to dramatically embody the above concepts.


Feel free to choose any genre you want; a piece for this project could just as well be playful as tragic.

Feel free to set your piece anywhere you want; though keep in mind the staging will be minimalist.

Your envisioned script could be a monologue or you could choose to have a cast of up to 6 actors.


We will choose a team according to the pitches that excite us.


Once writers are chosen we will begin to write, liaising to ensure the individual pieces cohere to a single art work.   


Our goal is to produce a piece of theatre that is intelligent, provocative and insightful – and ultimately hopeful; for acknowledging a problem is the first step in dealing with it.  



What we are looking for


A team of writers with terrific ideas, dramatic skill and the desire to work together to create a cohesive piece of art. We are not looking to put together a “super group” of writers. We’re looking for provocative ideas that can be embodied in exciting theatrical ways, and a team that can make this happen.



More you might need to know

  • Paul Gilchrist will direct the project and subtlenuance will produce it.

  • To facilitate the process, writers must be Sydney-based.

  • Due to the pandemic, there is currently no set date for performances or a production venue. Our aim is to produce this work in 2021, as our 26th production as subtlenuance.

  • The project will be organised on a profit share basis.

  • No actors are currently attached to this project. 



How do you apply

Include in your expression of interest:

  • A pitch of no more than 500 words that describes your envisioned piece, including: the nature of the pernicious idea; how it is promoted in our society; its impact; and how you intend to embody your exploration dramatically.

  • Your bio (300 words or less)

  • You can send us a sample of your previous work, if we’re not familiar with it, but what is most important to us is the pitch.


Send your EOI to Paul Gilchrist at the following email

Feel free to address inquiries to the same email.


Submissions close on September 30, 2020


* Here are some more examples of pernicious ideas. Feel free to use one! Or riff on one! Or disagree! Or come up with your own.

1. We are superior to people from the past.

2. We must maintain the rage.

3. Progress is inevitable.

4. I can speak for my demographic.

5. It matters what other people think of me.

6. It doesn’t matter what other people think of me.

7. It’s important to travel.

8. If I am good, I will be liked.

9. Compromise is bad.

10. The way I look matters.

11. If you are generous, people will take advantage of you.

12. If I’m speaking up to Power, I must be speaking the Truth.

13. All the world’s a stage.

14. If it’s taken this long, obviously no one is serious about it.

15. Generalisations are not racism.

16. Democracy is a necessary evil.

17. Everything happens for a purpose.

18. When your time is up, your time is up.

19. Safety is the most important thing.

20. If I haven’t succeeded it must be because of an injustice.

21. I can’t be it if I don’t see it.

22. Technology will save us.

23. People don’t change.

24. Everyone must agree with me.

25. Violence is necessary.

26. Your age determines your attitude and ability.

27. Everybody was Kung fu fighting.

28. Opinions are equal to actions.

29. If you are not with me, you must be against me.

30. Art mirrors reality.

31. Everybody has the same ambitions; some people are just more successful.

32. If you can’t prove me wrong, I must be right.

33. If I’m certain, I must be right.

34. You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

35. It is wrong to feel guilt.

36. The powerful are corrupt.

37. Gratitude is enough.

38. Men are all the same.

39. If no one gave you permission, it can’t be valid.

40. An ethical life consists of holding others to account.

41. There are only two ways of looking at any problem, and one of them is correct.

42. A win for someone of my Tribe is a win for me.

43. Cynicism is a sign of sophistication.

44. The accuser is always right.

45. Silence is assent.

46. Cake is evil.

47. Metaphors are merely ornamentation.

48. The map is the terrain.

49. It doesn’t matter who you vote for.

50. Everything you learnt at school is useless.

51. If it’s true you should be able to say it so I understand.

52. There is a key to every lock.

53. The solution to every conflict is education.

54. Laughter is the best medicine.

55. Race.

56. Race has no impact on my life.

57. You have to be consistent.

58. Some ideas are unhelpful.

59. You say it best when you say nothing at all.