Andrew Bovell, one of Australia’s foremost playwrights, is the new STC Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellow and this year’s Patrick White Playwrights’ Award recipient is Lewis Treston for his playHot Tub. The members of STC’s inaugural Emerging Writers’ Group have also been announced as Emme Hoy, Julian Larnach, Moreblessing Maturure and Disapol Savetsila.
Andrew Bovell, STC’s new Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellow, said: “Where the novelist and the poet can exist alone and in isolation, the playwright seeks to work in collaboration with other theatre artists; actors, directors, designers and composers. Great theatre comes out of the relationship between these disciplines and it’s our theatre companies that bring these disciplines together. As a playwright I want to be as much a part of the companies that produce my work as possible. I want to belong. I want to collaborate. The Patrick White Fellowship offers me the opportunity to be a part of STC and its creative team under Kip Williams’ artistic directorship. As part of the Fellowship I look forward to mentoring and working with the STC’s newly announced Emerging Writers’ Group. It’s an important initiative and one that acknowledges the company’s commitment to developing the writers of the next generation.”
Bovell is well known to STC audiences for his acclaimed adaptation of Kate Grenville’sThe Secret Riverwhich premiered in 2013 before touring throughout Australia, the hilarious revival of his 1980’s playAfter Dinnerin 2015 at The Wharf, and Brink’s production of When the Rain Stops Fallingwhich was presented by STC in 2009.
Now in its seventh 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. Previous STC Patrick White Fellows are Tommy Murphy, Kate Mulvany, Angela Betzien, Hilary Bell, Patricia Cornelius and Raimondo Cortese.
The Award winner
106 scripts were submitted anonymously for the 2016 Patrick White Playwrights’ Award, a prize of $7500 for an original, unproduced play, with Lewis Treston’s playHot Tubmost impressing the judges. Treston’s eccentric comedy, set in the Gold Coast’s Surfers Paradise, follows the fading fortunes of the Whites, a dysfunctional family who own and live in a 20 storey high-rise. When estranged daughter, Dido, comes to live with the family she finds herself drawn into a chaotic world of money-making scams and enterprises. She discovers a surprising solution to her body image issues but also finds herself embroiled in the sex industry, organised crime and the opportunistic underbelly of Australia’s playground.
Hot Tub received a rehearsed reading directed by STC’s Richard Wherrett Fellow, Jessica Arthur, and performed by Tony Cogin, Jennifer Hagan, Mark Hill, Patrick Jhanur, Amber McMahon, Susan Prior and Contessa Treffone.
The Emerging Writers’ Group
A new initiative, STC’s Emerging Writers’ Group aims to encourage the next generation of Australian playwrights, supporting their professional development, expanding skill sets and helping them discover and hone their own distinctive voices.
Emme Hoy, Julian Larnach, Moreblessing Maturure and Disapol Savetsila will meet regularly throughout the year-long program and will be mentored by STC’s Artistic Director, Literary Manager, Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellow and resident directors. They will attend STC productions, company runs and take part in workshops with STC artists, as well as have opportunities to discuss work they see and their own artistic practice. Each participant will also have the opportunity to develop a commission pitch for STC programming consideration.
Andrew’s recent work for the stage includes Things I Know to be True, co-produced by the State Theatre Co of SA and UK company Frantic Assembly, the adaptation of Kate Grenville’s novel The Secret River, for the Sydney Theatre Company and When the Rain Stops Falling, commissioned by Brink Theatre, which premiered at the Adelaide Festival of Arts in 2008. Other works for the Stage include Speaking in Tongues, Holy Day, Who’s Afraid of the Working Class, Ship of Fools and After Dinner, which was revived by the Sydney Theatre Company in 2015. His most recent screen credit is the French language film, Iris directed by Jalil Lespert (2016). His adaptation of the John Le Carre’ novel, A Most Wanted Man, directed by Anton Corbijn and staring Phillip Seymour Hoffman premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2014 before its US and International release. His first major screen credit came in 1992 when he wrote the original screenplay for Strictly Ballroom. In 2001 he adapted his own stage play Speaking in Tongues into the acclaimed feature film Lantana. His other film credits include Edge of Darkness, Head On (based in the Christos Tsiolkas novel, Loaded); The Book of Revelation and Blessed, adapted from the stage play Who’s Afraid of the Working Class?
Lewis is playwright based in Sydney. Last year he was the resident playwright at ATYP. As a part of this residency he developed the full-length play Hot Tub and two short plays for the company’s Lend Me Your Ears theatre-making class. Earlier this year Lewis’ short play The Arcade was presented as a part of Intersection at ATYP. In 2015 his play Reagan Kelly was produced by NIDA as a graduation piece and was subsequently shortlisted for Belvoir’s Philip Parsons Award. Other plays include Pre-Drinks and Anita Elizabeth Jensen. Lewis studied playwriting under Stephen Sewell at NIDA, graduating 2013. He has also attended ATYP’s National Studio and completed the Dramaturgy Internship at Playwriting Australia. Lewis is currently under commission at ATYP.
In 2014 Emme won a place at ATYP’s National Studio and – whilst completing her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing at UNSW – received the School of the Arts & Media Prize for Best Performance in Creative Writing. In 2016 she completed her MFA in Writing for Performance at NIDA, and her original television series Nobody’s Perfect was longlisted for AWG’S Primetime TV competition. In 2017 she was shortlisted for the Patrick White Playwright’s Award and the Griffin Award. Currently, Emme is resident playwright at the Old 505 Theatre, co-Director of Pretty Nice Company, and in June her newest play, Salem, will be
performed at NIDA’s Playhouse Theatre. She’s currently working on a film and co-writing Pretty Nice Company’s upcoming play, No Love for Iguana.
2017 sees the premiere of Julian Larnach’s plays Folk Song: a large scale community verbatim project for Outback Theatre for Young People and In Real Life: a new play for Darlinghurst Theatre Company. In 2014, he was awarded the inaugural EMERGE: Riverina Playwrights Commission. His commissioned play, Beneath an Oxbow Lake, premiered in Griffith in June 2015. He was Resident Playwright at ATYP in 2015 and an Affiliate Writer for Griffin Theatre Company in 2013. Julian has been shortlisted for the Griffin Award for New Australian Playwriting, the Edward Albee Scholarship and the PWA Re-Gen Seed Commission.
Moreblessing Maturure, the Creative Director of FOLK Magazine is a Zimbabwean/Australian inter-disciplinary artist. As an actor on both stage and screen in various projects, Moreblessing has garnered a wealth of experience in the performing arts including writing, devising, directing and producing. As a writer, Moreblessing utilises various forms of linguistic expression ranging from poetic, dramatic and analytical writing. This year she’s developing various works with Playwriting Australia, ATYP, and the Information and Cultural Exchange Centre in Parramatta.
Disapol Savetsila’s writing credits include Unwrap Me and Hothouse (Budding Theatre), as well as Hissyfest Wyong and Hissyfest 2015 (Tantrum Theatre). In 2013, he was a winner of ATYP’s national monologue competition ‘Where in the World’ and Stringybark’s ‘Future Times Award’. He is a member of Theatre versus Everything, co-writing PressOne4Love for Crack Theatre Festival 2015 and A Walk to Remember for You Are Here 2017. In 2017 his first full-length play, Australian Graffiti, is produced by Sydney Theatre Company.