About a year before the pandemic hit, Polly Rowe, (outgoing Literary Manager at Sydney Theatre Company) and I were tossing around ideas for a new play. We’d worked together on The Hanging, an STC commission developed as part of my Patrick White Fellowship. The Hanging was a contemporary riff on that quintessential Australian novel, Picnic at Hanging Rock, and it sat very comfortably in the Australian Gothic camp. As is my penchant as a playwright, things did not end well for one of the characters. Most audiences left the theatre somber and contemplative, not smiling and joyous. I used to have a grim reputation among my creative peers for writing stories about babies left in bins. It did seem that everything I wrote involved a dead child or a child at risk. Since becoming a parent, I’ve kicked the habit – but no promises I won’t relapse.

Angela Betzien

Angela Betzien. Photo © Jessica Zeng

After The Hanging, my focus was on writing for the screen and I made a pact with myself that if I were...