NED MANNING | PAINTING THE LIGHT
Ned Manning is a writer, actor, and teacher. Ned’s first novel, Painting the Light, published by Broadcast Books is a love story set pre, during, and post-WW2. It is about two people whose experiences of war result in them determining to make Australia a better, more equitable place.
His teaching memoir, Playground Duty, published in 2012 by NewSouth Books, has garnered excellent reviews and extensive coverage in print and electronic media throughout the country. Ned has appeared on panels at prestigious events like the Byron Bay Writers Festival, as well as appearing on talk shows on both radio and television, discussing Playground Duty. The book has become required reading for young and old teachers alike.
Ned’s plays have been produced in Australia and overseas. They are published by Currency Press, Cambridge University Press and australianplays.org. His plays are performed and studied in schools throughout Australia. A number have been adapted for radio with one, his adaptation of Women of Troy, selected for competition in Prix Marulic, Croatia’s International Festival for radio drama.
His first play, Us or Them, was a smash hit for the Griffin Theatre Company, playing for 18 weeks and laying the groundwork for Griffin’s transition from an amateur to a professional company.
Ned was the first Australian playwright to write about the Stolen Generation when he wrote Close to the Bone with his students at the Eora Centre for Aboriginal Visual and Performing Arts in Redfern. Close to the Bone toured NSW and has had a number of productions throughout the country. His follow-up play on the same subject, Luck of the Draw, was the first play written by a white writer to be produced by Queensland’s Indigenous theatre company, Kooemba Jdaraa.
He wrote ten scripts for Bell Shakespeare’s Actors at Work program and, in 2011, was nominated for an AWGIE for Writing for Young People for his script, Romeo and Juliet Intensive. These plays are published by australianplays.org and are used widely in schools throughout the country. His most successful children’s play, Alice Dreaming, was published by Cambridge University Press and has had many productions in schools around Australia. Alice Dreaming is scheduled for two productions in 2022. He is a member of 7ON and has written a number of short plays for the writer’s collective. The latest in 7ON’s 2021 publication, Sharp Darts. As an actor, Ned has appeared in some of Australia’s most loved film, television, and theatre productions including Looking for Alibrandi, Offspring, The Shiralee, Bodyline, Aftershocks, The Sullivans, Home and Away, and Neighbors. He played the lead role in the 1980’s cult classic, Dead End Drive-In. His most recent performance was in the Foxtel series Mr. Inbetween in 2021. Ned’s teaching career has spanned nearly five decades. He was awarded the NSW Premier’s Teaching Award, has been a Senior Examiner in HSC Drama, lectured at Monash University, and taught in a wide range of both public and private schools. Ned is currently teaching Drama in an inner-city Sydney school. He has been a vocal and widely published advocate for teachers and the teaching profession since he began teaching in Tenterfield in 1973. His articles have been published in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Guardian, and various other publications.
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