Mary Anne Butler – Playwright


Writing the short film  |  Writing grant applications  |  Writing for stage


“Some people can write. Some people can teach. This woman can do both.” – Peter Leo – Batchelor of Arts Creative Writing Student at Bachelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, 2010.

“I have attended AFTRS Dip Ed in Screenwriting and Maryanne was definitely up there with the best of speakers/teachers from that course.” – Katelnd Griffin

Please refer to further feedback / testimonials, below:



Writing the short film

A 6-hour workshop [can be divided into two x 3 hours]

This workshop will look at turning a short film concept into a well structured screenplay. By viewing and analysing short films on screen, topics covered include:  film as a visual medium, the ‘central question’, the protagonist’s ‘object of desire’, the forces of antagonism, major turning points, visual symbols, image systems, audience positioning, character empathy and avoiding character and filmic clichés.

Screenplay layout and formatting will also be touched on, with handouts provided.  Participants will emerge with an outline for a short film, which they can continue to develop post- workshop.

Target audience: Adults, Years 10-12


Writing grant applications

A 3-hour workshop

This workshop takes participants through the process of writing a clear and concise  artistic rationale for a grant application. Topics covered include: addressing the question directly, use of sub-headings and dot points, how to present a clear project  vision, knowing your audience [funding body research], suitable support material, using  positive language, and selling your vision.

NB: this workshop covers writing artistic rationales only, and does NOT cover budgetary matters.

Target audience: Independent artists [all genres], Arts Organisations.


Writing for stage

A 6-hour workshop [can be divided into two x 3 hours]

This workshop will look at how to create fully rounded characters for the stage. Focus will be on telling the story through active dialogue, keeping the story in the  immediate present [rather than characters telling a retrospective story] and engaging  techniques of plot and structure to keep your story moving forward. We’ll also look at upping the character stakes, forming character arcs, and creating character conflict.  For comedic or dramatic scripts, participants will emerge from the workshop with the seed of a play they can continue to write following the workshop.

Target audience: Adults, Years 10-12


Compiled feedback from Lens Flair Short Filmmaking Workshop participants, Alice Springs, 2011

“I’ve had writer’s block for about 18 months and somehow being at this workshop dislodged the blockage and now I’m bursting with ideas.” – Anonymous

“Mary Anne is obviously a gifted teacher – it was refreshing not to have a power point slide in sight.” – Tony Willis

“Great delivery overall by MAButler. She was well prepared, well structured yet flexible in being able to engage with where various ‘students’ were at which allowed learning from each other to flow.” – Fiona Walsh

“Great selection of resources. Reinvigorated my desire to write and make short films.” Anonymous


Compiled feedback from Lens Flair Short Filmmaking Workshop participants, Alice Springs, 2010

“Mary Anne was amazing she took us step by step as to how to build a script.”    



Compiled feedback from ‘Creating Real Life Characters’ Workshop, Darwin, 2009

“Well structured, balanced, coherent, logical. Lively, interesting presentation. Well planned and very focussed.” – Kaye Aldenhoven, Palmerston

“No other [workshop] I have attended has ever been so well prepared and presented.” – Jan Hills, Darwin

“Very well structured and organised – got through a lot, clearly well designed workshop.” – Robyn Mclean, Darwin

“Very welcoming, safe, easy to share and participate.” – Sue Moffitt, Darwin

“I found the workshop insightful, informative. Superb. Great to get some new skills.” – Natalie Sprite, Darwin

“Character biography exercises and notes really comprehensive and useful.” – Robyn Mclean, Darwin

“Mary Anne’s dynamic personality has me really inspired. The content is perfect with lots of reinforcement, examples and group participation.” – Sue Moffitt, Darwin

“Thoroughly built my concepts and vocabulary, kept my interest.” – Kaye Aldenhoven, Palmerston


Compiled feedback from Batchelor of Arts Creative Writing Students at Bachelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education [2008-2010]

“[Mary Anne] makes you understand how to plot a story or short film from start to finish, with putting in obstacles and hurdles and how to make the character overcome them.”

“The workshop made clear things I had heard for years, but never really understood.”

“Mary Anne was the key to this unit because she knows her subject so well.”

“Some people can write. Some people can teach. This woman can do both.”

“[It has given me] A much better understanding of how to write short films.”

“This gave me more confidence in my writing, and improved my understanding of film and theatre.”

“Great to be challenged and removed from my comfort zone so a different unrestrained thinking could occur.”

“This unit has definitely given me understanding that I have never had before… I feel that what I am being presented with is about the best that I could have.”

“I re-learnt writing skills that have been sleeping for a very long time.”

“Loved it!”

“This workshop has been very empowering for my writing skills.”

“Mary Anne has a very passionate style of teaching, that made me as a student want to respond at my best capacity.”

“Mary Anne’s composition of course content, mode of delivery and varied teaching and learning strategies were all power tools…”

“Totally enjoyed this class. Very interesting.”

“I feel I have begun to learn a whole new way of writing.”

“This unit taught me how to go to my limits.”

“Mary Anne encourages extremely active student contributions, so I felt like I could contribute if and when I wanted to.”

“An enlightening workshop.”

 “Brushed away cobwebs I had stored up.”

 “[The workshop] taught me to really think about novels and stories, and what goes into them and how to write them better.”

“GREAT for my structure.”

“I liked that the students who wanted to share their work, could, but those that didn’t want to, didn’t have to. It made me feel safe.”

“Building my confidence in a non-judgmental manner.”

“I enjoyed every aspect of this workshop, my skills have improved immensely.”

“[Mary Anne] teaches in a respectful manner. Thank you.”

“Thank you for the eye opener. Now I just have to knock a few walls down.”

“[This workshop] has given me a whole new outlook on the 20 years of writing I’ve already done and helped me reassess my work at home…”

“The lecturer [Mary Anne] has been able to repeat the concepts in many different ways and I like that.”

“This workshop has laid a foundation for my creative writing… by being taught the right tools and applying them constructively.”

“[Mary Anne] offers and encourages a lot of student discussion and in-put and feedback.” 

“[This workshop] moved this passion of writing I have, to an exhilarating understanding.


Would you like to book a workshop? Contact Mary Anne

PO Box 498, Nightcliff, NT 0814



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