Playwright Partnership Program guidelines

Assists Western Australian playwrights to partner with established producers in commissioning new theatre scripts that tell Western Australian stories.

The Playwright Partnership Program assists Western Australian playwrights to partner with companies and producers to write new Western Australian works for the stage.

Applications will be accepted for the commissioning of new work in any  theatre form or genre but should be for a full-length performance longer than 50 minutes.

Producing partners are asked to submit proposals in partnership with the playwright who will write the work. The producing partner must demonstrate the commitment and capacity to develop the commissioned work into a fully professional production within a reasonable timeframe.

The program offers grants for applications up to $30,000. The producing partner is expected to match funding on a dollar for dollar basis. This may include in-kind support.

The program is designed to complement existing Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries culture and the arts grant programs.


Funding is available for projects that contribute to the commissioning and development of new Western Australian theatre scripts and will deliver on the following objectives:

  • share Western Australian stories that reflect the diversity and interests of WA people and communities
  • capitalise on opportunities for the development of new theatre scripts by forming productive partnerships between playwrights and producers
  • ensure a strong representation of playwrights from Aboriginal, regional, and culture and gender-diverse backgrounds
  • offer a significant development opportunity to a WA playwright.

Who can apply?

Individuals, groups and organisations are welcome to apply, however:

  • individuals must have Australian citizenship or permanent resident status
  • groups including unincorporated bodies, partnerships and individuals informally collaborating on an activity must be based in Australia
  • if you are considering submitting an administered/auspiced grant you must contact the department before commencing your application
  • organisations must either be registered under law (e.g. incorporated association, company limited by guarantee) or created by law (e.g. university, school or government statutory authority)
  • if you are applying on behalf of Aboriginal people you must provide evidence of significant Aboriginal involvement in the conception, development of, and participation, in the activity
  • although WA residency is not a requirement to apply for a grant, if you are applying from outside WA you will need to show the benefits to WA artists, creatives, arts or cultural workers in your application.

What can I apply for?

To be eligible for funding, the proposed work must be:

  • a full length work greater than 50 minutes
  • submitted by the producing partner on behalf of the playwright
  • able to be completed within 18 months of receiving the funds.

How much can I apply for?

Eligible applicants can apply for funding of up to $30,000 to commission the writing and development of a new theatre script. Producing partners are expected to match funding on a dollar for dollar basis. This can include in-kind support.

Activities that may be applied for include:

Commission fees (recommended Australian Writers’ Guild minimum)

  • Emerging Writer $15,600

Emerging playwrights should have written at least one work for the stage which has been professionally produced and/or professionally supported (e.g. a co-operative production produced as part of Blue Room or Fringeworld)

  • Experienced & mid-career Writers $20,000 (negotiated)

Experienced and mid-career playwrights are defined as those who have had at least three works professionally produced.

Dramaturgical support

Playwrights are encouraged to identify a suitable dramaturg to work with on the development of the new work in their application. Dramaturgs may be a company member of the producing partner (e.g. Artistic or Associate Director).

Development time

This could include activities such as professional read throughs with actors and lead creatives.

Management, marketing and administration costs

Reimbursement of reasonable management, marketing and administration expenses will be considered but should be for no more than 15% of total budget.


Reasonable travel costs will be considered for regional projects that would benefit from on-the-ground community-based research.

When can I apply?

The key dates calendar has application opening and closing dates, activity start dates, draft review deadlines and notification dates.

All times are in AWST (for Perth, Western Australia).

Processing of grant payments to successful applicants will not start until after the grant contract is signed and returned. Depending on the activity start date, we cannot guarantee notification and/or availability of grant funds before the activity begins.

What can’t I apply for?

  • International travel
  • Projects or activities that do not involve or benefit Western Australian practicing artists, creatives, arts or cultural workers
  • Purchase of capital equipment including instruments, equipment, software, computers, tablets (iPads) and/or uniforms
  • Capital works such as construction or purchasing of studios, work spaces or gallery spaces
  • Activities already funded by DLGSC culture and the arts grant programs
  • Activity relating to radio broadcasting
  • Display, restoration or conservation of cultural and/or historical material
  • Costs of manufacturing and/or producing prototypes
  • Activities relating to podcasts and audiobooks that do not involve creative arts practitioners
  • Fundraising, competitions, prizes and trophies
  • The work of State or Federal government departments
  • Activity that will be academically assessed or any school curriculum-based activity
  • Facsimiles, genealogical works and histories of local governments, clubs, districts and organisations
  • Activities related to an individual’s membership in a national organisation
  • Ongoing staffing costs
  • Film and television activities such as:
    • the development or production of narrative shorts or features, pilots for television series, web series, mainstream animation e.g. conventional character-based narrative cartoons
    • documentaries, including documentaries on the arts
    • screenwriting activities or script development for film and television
    • stand-alone documentation activities
    • education activities, or activities where members of the public take part, where the main or only art form being used is film or digital, unless it’s in support of an artist’s work
    • film festivals, unless they support works created by practicing artists.

What will make my application ineligible?

Your application will be ineligible if you:

  • do not adhere to support material limits and format requirements
  • do not adhere to budget requirements including requesting more than 50% of your project cost
  • start the activity before the eligible start date
  • submit an application late
  • have any key personnel with an overdue acquittal
  • are a staff member of the DLGSC (staff of portfolio organisations may apply subject to meeting the Code of Conduct and Secondary Employment Policy)
  • request funding that exceeds the funding cap of the program
  • apply for activity that will be academically assessed
  • are a Portfolio Organisation of the DLGSC.

How many times can I apply?

The producing partner may submit multiple applications, however the playwright may be part of only one application to this program.

Applications to this program do not count towards the DLGSC culture and the arts grant programs three-application limit.

How do I apply?

Please apply using the Online Grants web portal.

More information on how to apply can be found in the application manual.

For your reference, the core application questions are required.

The key dates calendar has opening and closing dates and activity start dates.

How will my application be assessed?

Applications to this funding program are assessed by a peer assessment panel.

All applications are assessed against the 4 criteria:

  • Quality 
  • Reach 
  • Good planning
  • Financial responsibility.  

Each has a subset of dimensions and weightings which have been developed by artists and creatives representing their sector. More information about the dimensions and definitions follows this section and can also be found in the application manual. You are not expected to address all dimensions and definitions, only those most relevant to your application.  

Your activity must meet at least one of the objectives of the program to be successful. Assessors will consider your application against the relevant dimensions and definitions and allocate a weighted score for each of the four criteria. 

See the application manual for more information about how your application will be assessed. Final approval of successful applications depends on available budget and approval by the Minister or delegated authority.


Dimensions of quality

Imagination, authenticity, originality, inquisitiveness, excellence, captivation, relevance, innovation, challenge, risk and rigour.

Weighting 35%

Quality refers to the level of artistic and cultural significance of the activity. Quality may be demonstrated by, but not limited to; examples of previous work, sector support, timeliness of the work and a strong history in your area of practice. It may also be demonstrated through the skills and experience of the people involved in the activity, and the alignment of those skills and experience to deliver the project.


Dimensions of reach

Diversity, platform, collaboration, leverage, number and growth.

Weighting 25%

Reach refers to the level of impact the activity is likely to have. Reach may be demonstrated by including information for relevant marketing and promotional strategies, number of participants and the potential increase in audience or markets.

Good planning

Dimensions of good planning

Realistic, achievable, considered, demonstrated research and/or consultation, evaluation.

Weighting 20%

Good Planning refers to the level of consideration which has been given to practically undertaking the activity. Good Planning can be demonstrated by, but not limited to; carefully considered preparation, confirmation of key personnel, a realistic timeline and achievable outcomes, documented research and/or consultation, and a process of evaluation.

Financial responsibility

Dimensions of financial responsibility

Value, comprehensive budget, financial self-sufficiency.

Weighting 20%

Financial Responsibility refers to the sound management of the budget.  Financial Responsibility can be demonstrated by but is not limited to; efficient use of resources, reasonable expenses and an accurate and comprehensive budget. Other sources of income have been considered and included where appropriate and the activity goes some way towards self-sufficiency.

Four components of your application

There are 4 components of a grant application: core application questions, project targets, financial information and support material. Each plays a significant and distinct role in creating a whole picture about your activity.

Core application questions

Your answers to the core application questions should give assessors a concise overview of your activity. Each question has a 1500-character limit.

If you need more information on how to prepare your application, please read the application manual.

1. What is the activity you are seeking funding for?

Describe your planned activity. Outline your ideas, what is involved, who you will be working with and how they will contribute. Briefly describe your creative process.

2. Why do you need to undertake this activity and why do you need to do it now?

Explain the strategic significance of undertaking this activity at this time. Demonstrate the relevance, timeliness and impact of the work in the context of your individual practice, other WA practitioners, WA communities and/or the Western Australian theatre sector.

3. What outcomes will be achieved? 

List the direct outcomes you hope to achieve from your activity. These may include producing a new work or revisiting an extant work, reaching new audiences or markets, contributing to growing the theatre sector, providing employment opportunities, or engaging with specific communities. Where relevant, you should include outcomes and benefits for the audiences for your activity.

4. How do you plan to undertake the activity? 

Describe in detail the stages or steps in planning, developing and implementing your activity. Include as many specific details that are essential to the success of your activity. If your activity engages with an Aboriginal community evidence of consultation with the community must be provided in your support material.

5. What is the timeline for the activity?

Provide a timeline outlining what will happen at each stage of your activity. The timeline should begin and finish with the Activity Start and End Dates you entered at the beginning of your application.

6. How will you evaluate this activity?

Outline the methods, processes or tools you will use to measure and report your progress towards, and/or achievement of the activity outcomes you outlined in Question 3. Consider how you will know whether you achieved your proposed outcomes.

7. What are your plans for marketing, promotion and/or distribution for the activity?

Marketing includes audience and sector engagement, promotion and distribution strategies. Describe the different methods you will employ to market your activity or distribute your product to your desired audience, client, consumer or peer group. You can include a marketing plan with your support materials.

Project Targets 

You are required to provide relevant project target information for your activity. This information will be considered as part of the assessment of your application. 

Project target information will be used to provide further clarity on your activity for the assessor and will provide important data for the department for research, analysis and advocacy purposes. 

You only need to provide information for the categories and items relevant to your activity.  

If your application is successful you will be required to report against the planned project targets at the acquittal stage. 

Please contact us if you have any questions. 

Financial information

The financial information in your budget helps to demonstrate that all elements of your activity have been considered, thoroughly researched and costed. A good budget also provides confidence for the department that your activity will be a sound investment for the State of Western Australia.

You should indicate which expenditure items you want the department to support. List those items in the ‘Additional Notes’ section of the application budget page.

If you are registered for GST, you should not include GST in the budget figures.  All amounts should be in Australian dollars.

Your funding request is the difference between your expenditure minus your income. To ensure this amount is calculated accurately, seek quotes for all expenditure items (whether or not you intend to include these as support material) and include all costs associated with the activity, even if they are supplied in-kind.

Many activities will include in-kind contributions in the form of offering something for free or at a discount. More information on in-kind expenditure and income as well as an example of how to demonstrate your in-kind support follows this section.

For each expenditure or income item you add to the budget, use the notes area alongside the item to explain how that item relates to the delivery of your activity and how the cost was calculated.


Expenditure items can vary significantly from one activity to another. Any legitimate expense that is eligible can be included in the budget.

Do not duplicate costs in the budget form. For example, if you receive a quote for advertising which includes design, do not add an additional item for design. Simply use ‘advertising’ as the expenditure item, and add a note explaining that the cost includes design.

Make sure you check What Can't I Apply For? for ineligible items.

Eligible expenditure items


Expenses related to the management and administration of the activity e.g. telephone/internet, travel and other insurance, passports/visas, postage and stationery.

Eligible expenditure items in this category may also include audit costs and accessibility costs (expenditure associated with making your activity accessible to participants or audiences with a disability).

Marketing, promotion and distribution

Costs associated with marketing to your target audience e.g. information, promotion and audience engagement activities, advertising, graphic design, merchandise photography, videography, public relations and production of marketing collateral.

Preparation, development, production and exhibition/presentation

Costs related to the remount, production and delivery of the activity or its deliverables, including the costs of presentation and exhibition.

Eligible items may include venue hire, lighting hire, set construction, manufacturing costs, recording fees, rehearsal space hire, props and audio-visual costs. Evidence of a confirmed venue booking agreement must be included with your support material.

Salaries, fees and living allowances

Expenditure in this category should include salaries, fees and living costs (including accommodation) and allowances for all key personnel, with separate components itemised in the budget notes. We support appropriate rates of pay for all people involved in your activity. Refer to the following websites for information on industry standard payment rates:

If these standards do not apply to your activity then you must outline how reasonable rates have been calculated.

Travel and freight

Costs associated with transporting people, equipment or goods. Eligible items may include fares (taxi, airplane, bus etc.), tolls, land or air freight, vehicle hire and visa expenses.


This program does not fund 100% of your activity costs. You must demonstrate matched support from your producing partner, at least 50% of total project costs (which may include in-kind support) or your application will be ineligible.

Eligible income Items

Earned income

May include ticket sales, product sales, performance fees and merchandise sales. For performances, this amount should factor in the number of performances, average ticket price and projected venue capacity.

Corporate sponsorship

List any income received through sponsorship from corporate bodies or businesses. Income received through government sponsorship should be included in the relevant government income category. 

Philanthropic donations

May include contributions from fundraising, crowdfunding, donations, gifts and bequests.

Australia Council, other Federal Government, other State Government, local government

All grants and sponsorship being sought from local, state and federal government, the Australia Council, and other government sources must be included, whether or not this support has been confirmed. As your application is to be assessed by a peer assessment panel, we will attempt to confirm the status of any pending funding applications directly with the funding body prior to the panel assessment. Do not include DLGSC grant funds being requested as part of this application.

Other income

If you are making a cash contribution, or someone is providing cash to the activity, list this item as a ‘cash contribution’ or similar. Include any other income source that does not fit within any of the above categories and provide enough detail to identify the income source. 

In-kind expenditure and income

Some expenses may be offered to you for free or at a discount. This might be borrowed equipment, the use of a rehearsal space, donated or discounted goods or services, volunteers (including yourself), negotiated discounted fees and allowances. Anything given to your project at no expense to you is considered in-kind.

All in-kind items must be included as a budget item under the in-kind expenditure category. The corresponding recognition of in-kind income is created automatically in your online application, and you do not need to enter any in-kind income budget items. The total in-kind expenditure must always equal the total in-kind income.

If, for example, you are hiring a venue, which would normally charge $2000, and you have successfully negotiated an $800 (40%) discount, you would include venue hire fee as a budget item under the Expenditure category of $1200 and $800 under the In-Kind Expenditure category.

As a guide, volunteer labour may be costed as follows:

  • Unskilled: general work where no recognised qualification is required. Max $25 per hour.
  • Skilled: recognised qualification or trade specific. Max $40 per hour.
  • Specialised: highly skilled professional. Max $60 per hour.

Additional notes

This section of the budget provides an opportunity for you to detail any additional information you feel may help to clarify items within your budget. For example, for fees and salaries you can indicate in this section how you calculated your amount.

You should use this section to indicate which expenditure items you want the department to support.


The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) considers any grant payment to be taxable income for the purposes of your annual income tax return. If you receive a grant you are encouraged to discuss your tax implications with your tax agent or the ATO.

Registered for Goods and Services Tax

If you are registered for GST you must show your expenditure items exclusive of the GST component. For example, you have been quoted $550 including GST for lighting hire. In your expenditure budget you would only show lighting hire of $500.

If you are registered for GST and your activity is funded, the department payment will include a 10% GST component to cover those items on which GST is payable.

Not registered for Goods and Services Tax

If you are not registered for GST you must show your expenditure items inclusive of the GST component. For example, you have been quoted $550 including GST for lighting hire. In your expenditure budget you would show lighting hire of $550.

If you are not registered for GST and your activity is funded, the department payment will include the GST component for those items on which GST is payable.

Support material

Support materials are critical to a successful application and are essential for assessors to fully gauge the merit of your activity. It is highly recommended you pay close attention to the support material you choose and make sure it offers the best support for your application.

Your choice of support material should help to demonstrate the four assessment criteria: Quality, Reach, Good Planning and Financial Responsibility as well as the objectives of the program.

You can select up to three out of the five units of support material. These units are outlined in the table below. Please note: if you need to submit a COVID-19 Plan, it does not count towards these limits.

Support materials particularly relevant to this program could include:

  • Unit 4 Text (maximum 10 pages): Playwright resume, producing partner profile including track record of commissioning playwrights and producing new theatre work(s), letters of endorsement and/or reviews of playwright’s previous work, commission proposal providing details of narrative and/or thematic focus, target audience and agreed scale of work including cast size.
  • Unit 5 Document (maximum 10 pages): Sample of writing and/or commission proposal.

Within each unit there are acceptable formats and limits. You must strictly adhere to these formats and limits or your application will be ineligible. Formats that are NOT eligible are: .pages, zip, excel, MP3s and .eml (however screenshots of emails are ok). 

As an Online Grants portal user, you must upload your support materials with your online application.

If you are submitting audio and/or video files you must upload them to file streaming sites like Vimeo, YouTube, Bandcamp or SoundCloud that do not require a log-in to access.

Do not use Dropbox or Google Drive for any support material. 

You can find instructions on how to use these sites at the following links:

More information about how to submit your materials can be found in the application manual.

Units of support material (select up to 3)

Unit 1 - audio

6 minutes of audio (combined total length of all audio submitted for assessment).

Examples of material in this unit:
  • Examples of previous work or activities
  • Other audio (e.g. interviews, recordings, presentations) that supports your activity.
Acceptable limits
  • Maximum 3 links
  • Maximum 6 minutes total listening time (all files).

If your audio files are longer than 6 minutes in total, you must specify the exact minute markers the assessor should start and finish listening.

Unit 2 - video

6 minutes of video (combined total length of all video submitted for assessment).

Examples of material in this unit:
  • Examples of previous work or activities
  • Other video (e.g. interviews, recordings, presentations) that supports your activity.
Acceptable limits
  • Maximum 3 links
  • Maximum 6 minutes total viewing time (all files).

If your video files are longer than 6 minutes in total, you must specify the exact minute markers the assessor should start and finish viewing.

Unit 3 - images

10 images (combined total of all images submitted for assessment).

Examples of material in this unit:
  • Examples of previous work, design collections or activities.
Acceptable limits

Maximum 10 images in one of the following formats:

  • One PDF document containing up to 10 images (maximum file size 5mb) OR
  • 10 image files (maximum file size 5mb per image).

Note: weblinks to images online are not accepted.

    Unit 4 - text

    10 pages of text (combined total number of all text pages in documents submitted for assessment).

    • Applicant CV – (up to 2 pages recommended)
    • Short biographies/profiles for key creative or artistic personnel*
    • Participant confirmation*
    • Venue confirmation (mandatory)
    • Quotes for major expenditure items/ confirmation of fees*
    • Business, brand, group or organisation profile
    • Letters of peer/industry support*
    • Reviews, media reports or articles on your previous work
    • Evidence of confirmed events, activities or appointments*
    • Confirmation of consultation and/or support from the target community/participants such as Aboriginal communities or young people
    • Evidence of significant Aboriginal involvement, participation and decision making (where relevant)
    • Invitations to present, perform or showcase*.

    *can include emails as screenshots, converted to PDF or printed. For quotes, you can take a screen shot or snip of the essential information and would suggest you paste up to 5 on an A4 page.

    Acceptable formats and limits

    Maximum 10 A4 pages of text in PDF or Word ONLY (maximum file size 5mb per document).

    Note: weblinks to this information online are not accepted.

    All text must be legible at 100%. If text is not legible the assessors will be unable to review this document.

    Unit 5 - document

    10-page activity-specific document.

    Examples of material in this unit

    You may use Unit 5 to include documents such as:

    • Synopsis of proposed text/script (1 page recommended)
    • Play script sample (up to 5 pages)
    • Director’s notes (1 page recommended)
    • Activity plan
    • Marketing plan.
    Acceptable formats and limits

    A single Word or PDF document only, containing a maximum of 10 A4 pages (maximum file size 5 MB).

    Note: weblinks to this information online are not accepted.

    All text must be legible at 100%. If text is not legible the assessors will be unable to review this document.

    Acquittal report

    If you’re successful you will be required to fill in an acquittal report when your activity has finished. An acquittal report details your activity and how you spent the grant. The acquittal report will be available for you to access in Online Grants once a copy of your signed funding agreement has been received.

    Your acquittal report must be submitted within 90 days of the activity completion date as specified in the funding agreement.

    You will need to attach relevant documents, images and videos that substantiate the delivery of the activity and that may demonstrate the impact and outcomes achieved.

    The report will also include your activity budget and you will be required to enter all the actual figures against each budget item and add any additional items not in the original budget.

    Variations between budget and actual figures are acceptable; however, you must provide an explanation for large variations in the Notes for that item. As you enter actual figures, the activity profit/loss will be automatically updated and displayed at the top of the Financial Information page.

    The funding acquittal report also includes the option to provide feedback to help us to continually review and improve the service we provide.

    Assistance for applicants

    More information on how to apply can be found in the application manual.

    Grants Officers are available via telephone and email to answer queries about applications and suitability of activities to specific programs.

    If you need extra assistance due to disability, language barriers or any other factor that may disadvantage you in completing your application, please contact us.

    The advice provided by Grants Officers does not guarantee the success of your application.

    Due to the high number of applications received, each funding round is highly competitive.

    All applications are considered on their own merits and against the assessment criteria and program objectives.

    Contact us

    Online Grants portal technical support

    For assistance using Online Grants or to report any related technical issues, contact the Online Grants Support Team:

    Grants Officers

    For enquiries relating to this funding program, including advice or assistance with your application, contact a Grants Officer: 

    Telephone 61 8 6552 7400
    Toll Free (Country WA callers only) 1800 634 541

    Assistance for people with disability

    The department is committed to supporting applicants with disability. Information can be provided in alternative formats (large print, electronic or Braille) upon request.

    If you require special assistance in preparing your application, please call 61 8 6552 7400 or toll free for regional WA callers on 1800 634 541 .

    Family, friends, mentors and/or carers can attend meetings with you.

    If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, contact us through one of the following:

    Interpreting assistance

    For interpreting assistance in languages other than English, telephone the Translation and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50 and ask for a connection to 6552 7400 or 1800 634 541.

    Regional applicants

    Toll Free (Country WA callers only): 1800 634 541 

    Email the Grants Officers:

    Page reviewed 06 December 2021