January 27, 2011


When Robert Lord took up a Burns Fellowship at Otago University in 1987, he bought his first home – a small cottage close to the university and the town centre of Dunedin. His tragically few years in Titan Street were happy and productive ones. Before he died Robert put in place a plan that the cottage would become a home for other writers who choose to come to Dunedin to write and a Trust was established to administer the plan.

Today, as was his plan, Robert Lord’s hundred-year-old worker’s cottage (three furnished rooms and a courtyard garden) is run as a rent-free residency for writers.

To date, playwrights who have lived and worked there include Gary Henderson, Renee, Jan Bolwell, Vanessa Rhodes, Vincent O’Sullivan, Branwen Millar and Paul Rothwell.

Applications for the residencies in 2012 for periods of 3 to 6 months are now being received. (Please advise preferred dates and whether you have flexibility on dates). 


For more information contact:
Murray Lynch
Playmarket Director
PO Box 9767, Wellington
+64 4 382 8464

The cottage is cared for by the Trust established by Robert and by Friends of the Cottage.

It is being maintained as a living heritage building.

The Trust also works in partnership with the University of Otago College of Education Creative New Zealand Children’s Writer in Residence.

This residency is also open to writers in all genres. The six month residency from February to July offers a stipend and the option of living in the Robert Lord Cottage.

Details: http://www.otago.ac.nz/otagofellows/writers.html  

ROBERT LORD (1945 – 1992)

Robert studied for an Arts Degree at Victoria University and in 1969 was awarded the Katherine Mansfield Young Writers Award. His first full-length play It Isn’t Cricket premiered at Downstage Theatre in 1971. From 1970-74 he was an editorial board member of ACT magazine and during this period helped to found Playmarket.

His play It Isn´t Cricket was featured as part of the inaugural Australian National Playwrights Conference in 1973 and in 1974, he travelled across the United States on his way to the O’Neil Playwrights Conference in Connecticut. On his return to New Zealand he was instrumental in establishing the workshopping process in New Zealand.

Throughout the 1980s Robert was based in New York, a city he loved. His script Well Hung was warmly received at the Trinity Square Repertory and he became a leading figure in the New Dramatists group. A prolific playwright, his work was seen throughout New Zealand as well as in Australia, Canada and the United States.

Robert wrote numerous television programmes as well as the screenplay for the New Zealand feature Pictures. At the time of his death, he was working on the screenplay The Big Ditch.

Robert was playwright in residence at Auckland’s Mercury Theatre and Burns Fellow at Otago University in 1987. In 1990 he returned to Dunedin where he died aged 46. His commitment to New Zealand writing is reflected in his decision to make his Dunedin cottage available to writers.

The trustees of the Robert Lord Cottage are Bruce Aitken and Colin Gibson of Dunedin, Judy Russell, Richard Lord and Nonnita Rees. Robert’s intention was that the Trust would open the Titan Street cottage after his mother’s death. Bebe Lord decided to mark the tenth anniversary of Robert’s death and to make the cottage available as a rent-free writer’s residence from 2003.

Robert Lord Writers Residents (to date)

Pauline Cartwright (2003)
David Hill (2003)
Gary Henderson (2003-04)
Brigid Lowry (2004)
Nelson Wattie (2004-05)
Vanessa Rhodes (2005)
Shirley Corlett (2005)
Joy Tonks (2005-06)
Pierre Furlan (2006)
Tania Roxborogh (2006)
Peter Grant (2006)
Jan Bolwell (2007)
Vincent Ford (2007)
Gerry Evans (2007)
Margaret Scott (2007)
Renee (2008)
Vincent O’Sullivan (2008)
Branwen Millar (2008)
Jan White (2008-09)
Joanna Orwin (2009)
Pat White (2009-10)
Paul Rothwell (2010)
Kyle Mewburn (2011)
Linda Tyler (2011) 

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