Peta Murray is a writer, dramaturge, teacher and newly appointed Vice Chancellor’s postdoctoral research fellow at RMIT. As a researcher, she is interested in the application of transdisciplinary and arts-based practices as modes of inquiry and as forms of cultural activism. Her practice-led PhD project, ‘Essayesque dismemoir: w/rites of elder-flowering’ employed variations of the ‘performance essay’ to devise playful and participatory nonfiction on themes of the creative life course and the embodied experience of ageing.
Peta’s best-known plays are Wallflowering and Salt, winner of the Victorian Premier’s Award for Drama. Other plays include The Law of Large Numbers, about the impact of gambling addiction on small communities, and AWGIE-award winning works, Spitting Chips, on adolescence and bereavement, and The Keys to the Animal Room, on family violence. In 2003 Peta was awarded a Centenary Medal for Services to Society and Literature. Recent works for performance include Things That Fall Over: an anti-musical of a novel inside a reading of a play, with footnotes, and oratorio-as-coda, and Missa Pro Venerabilibus: A Mass for the Ageing, both staged at Footscray Community Arts Centre. How to Die with Grace was presented at the Melbourne International Festival in 2017, under the banner of Survival Skills for Desperate Times. Critical writing includes a chapter in Creative Manoeuvres: Writing, Making, Being and a contribution, Please Supply Own Title to Text’s Special Issue on The Essay. Peta is co-founder and Creative Director of arts-and-health organisation The Groundswell Project.