Born: Established: 29 Oct 1961 Melbourne ;
A dramatist, actor and director, Michael Gurr completed his his first play at eighteen. While studying at the National Theatre Drama School (NTDS) in St Kilda he wrote several more, including Indoors and The First Church in Hell. These were later sent to Ray Lawler (q.v.), then Literary Advisor to the Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC), by NTDS director Joan Harris. After being invited by Lawler to sit in on rehearsals Gurr was offered a position as Writer in Residence (1982) which led to the first professional production of one of his plays the following year - Magnetic North (1983). Gurr was then twenty-one years of age.
Michael Gurr's plays often centre around contemporary issues of Australia's political, cultural and trade relations, particularly with Asia, while looking at and questioning moral responsibilities. His works to date include a trio of once act plays staged collectively under the title These Days (1988), Victoria Bitter (1990, with Laurence Housman), Sex Diary of an Infidel (1992), Underwear, Perfume and Crash Helmet (1994), Jerusalem (1996), Crazy Heart (2000), Something to Declare (2003) and Mercy (2009).
A number of his plays have either been written or adapted for both radio (including the ABC and BBC) and film. One of his works, A Pair of Claws, first staged by the Melbourne Theatre Company in 1983, has been adapted both forms (notably as the 1986 feature film Departure). Another of his screenplays is Ninety Miles an Hour Down a Dead End Street.