Daylesford-based theatre company Lab Kelpie was recently announced as the recipient of the 2023 Joan and Betty Rayner ACTF Commission, a $20,000 national award to support the creative development of a new play for primary school children.

Supported by the Australian Children’s Theatre Foundation and Regional Arts Victoria, the award will also see the work tour to Victorian schools via Regional Arts Victoria’s 2024 Arts & Education Program.

Lab Kelpie will work with playwright and children’s author Katy Warner to develop Reasons To Stay Invisible, an uplifting new play about friendship, courage and finding your voice – and having fun while doing it!

“Reasons is a beautiful play for kids – and kids at heart! – and we are thrilled to be developing Lab Kelpie’s first children’s show with the support of the ACTF and RAV,” said director, Lyall Brooks.

The award will see Lab Kelpie, who relocated to Daylesford in 2020 after a decade of operation in Melbourne, develop their first work regionally. The work will undergo a development week in May at Lyonville Hall before a free development showing for community at Daylesford Town Hall on Saturday 13 May.

“Audience feedback is a really valuable part of our development process, so we’d love to see some local parents, kids and teachers join us for the development showing.”

The project has also been supported locally by Community Bank Daylesford District and will feature regional performers and local creatives such as Director Lyall Brooks from Hepburn Springs and Designer Martelle Hunt from Trentham.

The development showing of Reasons To Be Invisible will occur at Daylesford Town Hall from 2–4pm on Saturday 13 May. You can register for free online at