Patrick White shortlist ~ theatre notes

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Patrick White shortlist

Sydney Theatre Company today released the judges’ shortlist of six plays in the running for the prestigious 2008 Patrick White Playwrights’ Award. The Award is an annual initiative of Sydney Theatre Company and The Sydney Morning Herald, and was established in 2000 in honour of Patrick White’s contribution to Australian theatre and to foster the development of Australian playwrights.

The $20,000 award, which is judged anonymously, is Australia’s richest prize for an unproduced play. The winning playwright is given the opportunity to work with STC directors and actors during a workshop that culminates in a rehearsed reading of their play during the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Previous winners include Angus Cerini for Wretch, Timothy Daly for The Man in the Attic, Patricia Cornelius for Do Not Go Gentle…, Wesley Enoch for The Story of the Miracle at Cookie’s Table and Stephen Carleton for Constance Drinkwater and the Final Days of Somerset.

The 2008 Award received 143 entries from around Australia. The shortlist of six plays is:

Muff – Van Badham
Bloodwood – Nicki Bloom
Thomas Murray and the Upside Down River – Reg Cribb
And No More Shall We Part – Tom Holloway
Hardcore – Ross Mueller
The Lion’s Mouth – Alexandra Woods

The shortlisted playwrights include: Reg Cribb, winner of the Patrick White Playwrights’ Award in 2001 and author of The Haunting of Daniel Gartrell, which was staged at Perth Theatre Company earlier this year; Nicki Bloom, whose play Tender won the Inscription Chairman’s Award for Best Play in 2007 and has been staged by B-Sharp, Griffin Theatre Company and HotHouse Theatre; Tasmanian playwright Tom Holloway, who studied at NIDA’s Playwriting Studio before going on to win the 2008 AWGIE award for Best Stage Play with Beyond The Neck, was shortlisted in 2009 for a NSW Premier’s Literary Award, and whose play Red Sky Morning was a hit last year at Red Stitch; and Ross Mueller, winner of the 2007 Wal Cherry Award and author of Concussion, which recently premiered by Sydney Theatre Company and Griffin Theatre Company, and Construction of the Human Heart (The Store Room and Malthouse Theatre).

The judges are Hilary Bell (playwright), Alison Croggon (writer and poet), Clare Morgan (Arts Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald), and Andrew Upton (Co Artistic Director, Sydney Theatre Company).

The winner will be announced at Wharf 2 on Saturday, 23 May at 2.15pm by STC Co Artistic Director Andrew Upton, followed by a rehearsed reading of the play by STC artists. Limited tickets for the event are available from the STC box office: Tickets $5. (02) 9250 1777 or


Admin said...

A list of previous winners and information about the plays and playwrights is available here

Top award, Top playwrights!

Maude said...

I don't understand how the award is judged anonymously, and yet you include a list of the judges.


Alison Croggon said...

Apologies, Maude, I didn't realise it was ambiguous. I meant that the plays are judged with no names attached, so you don't know who wrote them. Impossible, of course, not to try to guess: but interestingly on this one, I was wrong each time.

Shonky Donkey said...

So do you pick the winner before you see the names, or just the shortlist? And how on earth do you guess when it could be anyone? And how do they rehearse a reading without revealing who the winner is?
I don't understand, Alison.
You've frazzled my meagre wits.

Alison Croggon said...

Gracious. I didn't realise it would be such a hot wire. Yes, the winner is picked anonymously, and the names are revealed after the decision (there's some complex numbering system). You try to guess from writing styles - or at least, I do. Writing can be, after all, quite distinctive... As I said, I was wrong in all my guesses. When I judged a poetry prize with similar conditions of anonymity several years ago, I had a much better strike rate. I don't know whether this reflects something profound about poetry and plays...

And of course some people know who the winner is, so actors can furtively rehearse with TOP SECRET written over their scripts. It's just not public yet.

Anonymous said...

Do we have to be a published playwright to enter? I've never had anything published and I submitted a play for this year's competition..