A spotlight will be shone on the power of Illawarra creative artists tonight with the return to the stage of a crowd favouirtie.

Up-and-coming Wollongong creatives will showcase their talent at the Merrigong Theatre Company’s ‘Made from Scratch‘.

Producer of New Works at Merrigong, Annie Clapton has been co-running ‘Made from Scratch’ since 2016. She said it’s a platform for artists to test new ideas and it’s a great way for the theatre company to source potential talent.

“You might be working on a play, and you just need to say it out loud in front of a group of people or you’ve been working on a new trick or dance move,” Ms Clapton said.

“It’s just coming to a really supportive crowd and testing it out and see what works and what doesn’t work.

“It’s a really nice sense of community in that room where you can meet other artists and just sort of bounce off each other.”

Local playwright and former University of Wollongong performance student, Irelish Barker is one of the artists whose work will feature in tonight’s show.

Actors Clementine de la Hunty and Jack Taylor will perform her play, ‘Curbsquatters’ which draws attention to the perils of a night out in Wollongong.

Ms Barker started dabbling in play-writing only a year ago and said tonight’s performance means a lot to her, as it’s a chance to express her newly-found passion.

“I only focussed on acting while I was at university and then last year I got into writing because I felt like I had plateaued in creativity. I thought writing was a way of getting back into something creative,” Ms Barker said.

“I really enjoy doing it – it’s something I do to wake up my brain.”

Despite her university qualifications, it’s been hard for Ms Barker to get a job because COVID-19 disruptions during her degree meant she couldn’t get any substantial work experience. She hopes tonight’s play will help kick-start her career in the performance industry.

“The piece is very much influenced by my life in Wollongong, and I thought tonight would be the perfect place to show my play and see how the audience reacts”, she said.

“The piece I’ve written is a fully formed piece, but it still has a lot of work to be done.

“I would love to be able to perform my play somewhere where I can have a long season rather than just one night.”

The annual event, spanning three nights, will host a range of acts, including musicians, dancers, poets, writers, and actors.

Tonight’s event starts at 7:30 and will go for about three hours.

Ticket holders are asked to contribute a monetary sum of their choice after the show, based on their experience.