Staging the World 2023

STAGING THE WORLD is an intensive skills development program for artists, to work with and receive mentorship from established international BIPOC creatives.

Riverside’s National Theatre of Parramatta is an essential hub for inclusivity, creative exploration, growth and empowerment. Our work and programs are critical in that we invest in careers and open doors for our artists creating long term opportunities.

We launched our program in 2023 with a two week intensive mentorship with one of the world’s leading playwrights, Tarell Alvin McCraney.
Participant’s included: Challito Browne, James Elazzi, Moreblessing Maturure, Jules Orcullo, S. Shakthidharan.

Applications for our 2024 program for Directors are now open here.

SUPPORT STAGING THE WORLD through the Australian Cultural Fund  HERE 

I am always excited to engage writers and other artists in new work. I learn so much about the world and by offering what I know, I gain such insight and hope for the future.”  – Tarell Alvin McCraney

“….It will take a lifetime to catch up but we gave it a mighty effort and in turn began forging something new, with insights about what is working for us now, and what we dream for in future; I know I came away inspired, here were artists trying to hold space for the values of collaboration and care. I found myself looking at every part of what I do: organizing a chat, responding to work (my own and others), as part of my practice. How could I do more, be more intentional, lead from a place of love AND rigor?

 I’m deeply grateful to everyone involved: the Girgensohn’s who made it possible, Joanne Kee and the incredible team at Riverside’s National Theatre of Parramatta, the cast and crew, directors of Choir Boy and Challito, James, Jules, Moreblessing, and S. Shakthi for giving so much and the care of me while I was so far from my house. They helped me forge a new home.”

Tarell Alvin McCraney


A slow, organic and truthful way of working and getting to know other creatives in the room, including our mentor, Tarell.

Working with Tarell and the group of incredibly talented and generous writers that were selected to participate.

New ways of working on my own craft. Both as a writer and a dramaturg. Valuable techniques to help my work flow. A shift in how I think about and approach my art. A community of writers that I can approach, and a way to build community in the future.

A different approach of working in creative rooms. Realising that indeed the writer has power to say ‘this doesn’t feel right’ or remind people in the room the importance of checking in and making sure people are feeling ok.

Being able to connect with fellow Sydney writers was invaluable. Being exposed to a way of working outside what is considered the norm in Australia was also incredibly rewarding. Having more artists aware of alternative ways of working and thinking about the work is so valuable for our whole industry. It would be great if we could have more infiltration of new ideas floating around our zeitgeist. There is great value in learning new ways of working and approaching the work.


I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. I assumed it would be similar to other workshops that I’ve done in the past. It wasn’t that this program didn’t meet my expectations, it’s that, what we covered was so outside of my experience, I don’t think I could have seen it coming. It didn’t exist inside my awareness until we were in the middle of it. It was really valuable and I believe more people should have the opportunity to have space held for them in this way. It’s something that the five of us learned over the course of the week and I’d love if we had the opportunity to pass that on at some point.

I expected to have an intimate session with the writers in the two weeks, and to be honest, this is what I achieved, which I was so grateful for.

I had no idea what to expect and I’m glad none of my half-formed expectations were met. Instead, I got something completely different and much better.


A gracious, generous, and gentle teacher. Tarell led us by learning alongside us. I think it would have been very difficult to find someone better to lead us through the work that we did.

Tarell was incredible; vulnerable, generous, responsive, caring, smart, wise. It was a deeply meaningful experience that I will carry with me for a long time.

Generous with his information, empathy in all aspects of his work with us and grateful to be there. He was open to suggestions and work and created a harmony within the room. There was no ego, no one felt they could pose anything they wanted. It was an incredible experience.

A firsthand experience that you simply do not get anywhere else, and if you did, would cost thousands. Being in the room with Tarell really gave me a perspective that I needed to hear and see. To take my time and also live life.

Supported by the Girgensohn Foundation.