MONSTER BY ERIN MIDDLETON

Erin Middleton is an emerging writer, PYT Ensemble member and assistant tutor for our after-school PILOTS program.

In late 2019, she began the development of her new full-length play MONSTER. With PYT’s support, Erin received mentorship and dramaturgical support from Anthea Williams on her play and this week, the play will have its first reading.

Erin shares her experience of the mentorship below.

WORKING WITH ANTHEA WILLIAMS ON MONSTER

In 2019, I wrote and produced my first one-act play, Kallistei, as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival. I’d been supported throughout the year with space, conversation, and people by PYT Fairfield. Myself, my co-producer, some actors, and the director were all current or past members of PYT’s Ensemble, which supports emerging artists in a year-long program.

After seeing Kallistei on stage, I was approached by Karen Therese, PYT’s Artistic Director, to talk about my development as a writer, and how PYT could support me in the next stage of my artistic practice.

I have been extremely lucky and grateful over the past few months to be supported by PYT Fairfield with a mentorship from Anthea Williams.

Anthea is a Director, Dramaturg, and Developer, and like me, she is disabled. I cannot stress enough the significance of learning from, and working with, someone who can appreciate my own lived experience. It has brought another layer to this mentorship, beyond the play I’ve been writing, helping to embolden and brighten my ambitions for a life in the arts.

My mentorship with Anthea has focused on the writing of a new work, titled Monster. Monster is my second one-act play, and like the first (Kallistei) it retells Ancient Greek myth with women’s voices at the centre.

Anthea and I first met late last year, and have continued to meet every month or so since then. With the impact of COVID-19, Anthea and I took to meeting online (meaning my mentor was in New Zealand while I was in Sydney!) and I would email her drafts as they emerged after each session of feedback. We’re now planning a development reading for Monster, generously supported by PYT, which will allow me to hear the play spoken aloud by a group of actors for the first time. There’ll be more conversations, more edits, and a final draft, before finally a public reading to introduce Monster to the theatre world.

Working with Anthea has been the best writing experience of my life. I have been supported at every stage, from inception to final drafts, and Anthea’s enthusiasm for the work has only made mine greater. Having a mentor means having someone to encourage you; to tell you when things are good, and when they’re really not; to make you question and consider; and to make you dig out the things you’re really trying to say, to get them on the page and discard the drab. Anthea has done all of this and more, and I know without a doubt that Monster would not be where it is today without her guidance.

– Written by Erin Middleton

MORE ABOUT MONSTER
On the rocky island of Sarpedon, Medusa and her sisters Stheno and Euryale live out their days reading poems from Sappho, cooking scrambled eggs, and scaring off the men who come to kill them. They’re after Medusa – the monstrous gorgon of myth, with snakes for hair and eyes that turn men to stone. But the woman who crashes onto their island in the middle of a storm isn’t after the monster, and doesn’t believe in her at all. Can Sofia be trusted? Or will she bring everything crashing down with her? 

Image courtesy of Erin Middleton