It was also announced that this year’s Patrick White Playwrights Award recipient is Mark Rogers for his play Superheroes, which was presented as a rehearsed reading to a sell-out audience at the Richard Wherett Studio in the Roslyn Packer Theatre.
The Fellow Nakkiah Lui is a Gamillaroi/Torres Strait Islander woman, a young leader in the Australian Aboriginal community, and a multi-award-winning writer and actor in TV shows such as ABC’s Black Comedy and Kiki & Kitty. She has appeared on Q&A and The Drum, is a regular guest on Screen Time, and co-hosts the BuzzFeed podcast series Pretty For An Aboriginal. In 2018, Nakkiah won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award - Nick Enright Prize for her playBlack is the New White.
Nakkiah Lui is well known to STC audience with three of her plays Black is the New White, Blackie Blackie Brown and How to Rule the World being staged in the last three years. Black is the New White was first presented in 2017 with a sell-out season at the Wharf, and returned for an encore season at the Roslyn Packer Theatre in 2018. This was followed up by her critically acclaimed play Blackie Blackie Brown in 2018 which also had a season at Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne. In 2019 her play How to Rule the World premiered at the Sydney Opera House and played a season at Canberra Theatre Centre. This year all three works will be presented at mainstage theatres in Australia.
Now in its eighth year, the $25,000 Fellowship is awarded annually to an established playwright in recognition of their excellent body of work and achievements. As well as including a commission from STC, which each Fellow develops during their year-long engagement, the tenure provides opportunities for the playwright to share their skills with other playwrights and artists including the STC Emerging Writer’s Group. Previous STC Patrick White Fellows are Sue Smith, Andrew Bovell, Tommy Murphy, Kate Mulvany, Angela Betzien, Hilary Bell, Patricia Cornelius and Raimondo Cortese.
The Award winner
111 scripts were submitted anonymously for the 2018 Patrick White Playwrights Award, a prize of $7500 for an original, unproduced play, with Mark Rogers play Superheroes most impressing the judges
Told through interspersed monologues that come together in a simple and beautiful collision, this play tells the stories of two women on opposite sides of the world.
Anna, a young Australian woman is coming to terms with an unwanted pregnancy and dealing the fallout of her decision about it. Meanwhile in Mostar, Jana perpetrates an act of hatred that has deadly consequences. Although these women are in very different places, in very different situations they are connected by the questions of responsibility that they must grapple with. The monologues are beautifully observed, filled with evocative, almost filmic imagery; while the scenes that break the form are both surprising and moving. Written with great control, this elegant play is both global and domestic in its reach. It demonstrates impressive craft in the way that it deals with complex themes and ideas in a deceptively simple way.
“We are delighted to award this year’s prize to this accomplished piece of writing,” STC’s Literary Manager Polly Rowe said.
Mark Rogers is a playwright and theatre-maker living in the Illawarra. He holds a PhD from the University of Wollongong, where he lectures in theatre and performance. His previous work as a playwright includes: The Pecking Order (Shopfront Arts Co-Op, Commission) Tom William Mitchell
(Merrigong-X), Plastic (Old 505 Theatre),We’ll Become Good People, You’ll See (Crack Theatre Festival), Target Audience (Novelty UK), The Buck (Rock Surfers, Bondi Feast), Soothsayers (Brisbane Festival: Under The Radar), Blood Pressure (Rock Surfers, Old Fitzroy Theatre) and Gobbledygook (PACT, AC Arts Adelaide). He is a founding member of the performance collective Applespiel. Mark also runs Merrigong Theatre’s Playwrights’ Program – a new initiative providing long-term mentorship to local writers. His play Blood Pressure is published by PlayLab. He is a proud member of the NTEU.
Superheoroes received a rehearsed reading directed by STC Richard Wherrett Fellow Shari Sebbens, and performed by Aleks Mikic, Teresa Moore and Adele Perovic.