Tommy Murphy has been announced as Sydney Theatre Company’snew Patrick White Fellow at a special event at The Wharf on Friday 20 May.
Also at the event, Neil Levi was announced as the winner of the 2015Patrick White Playwrights’ Award, receiving a prize of $7,500 for his play,Kin.
Now in its sixth 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 he will develop during his year-long tenure at STC, the Fellowship provides opportunities for Murphy to share his skills with other playwrights and artists.
Tommy Murphy said: “The Patrick White Fellowship grants everything a playwright ought to need: a desk, a commission, and the encouragement of a theatre company – a great theatre company – to get that promised play written and on the stage. It entails so much more. It offers a sense of belonging. We dramatists tend to be lured to our profession via a deep desire to connect with people. We opted for a medium that brings a community together: an audience, and before that collaborators united in a common endeavour. We crave people, yet so much of our time is spent in solitude. I hate that necessary part of the job - just me and the cat. As much as I'll miss Narelle walking on my keyboard, I am delighted with the remedy this fellowship offers to the solitude and the invitation to participate in the life of a company.
“I am particularly excited to be on The Wharf at the outset of Jonathan Church’s Artistic Directorship and to be again working alongside Polly Rowe, the STC Literary Manager, who now has a long history nurturing plays in this city. I am immensely grateful for this opportunity and its inducements to get busy,” he said.
The evening culminated in a rehearsed reading of the winning playKin, featuring actors including Danielle Cormack, Yure Covich, Deborah Kennedy, Rebecca Massey and Susan Prior, as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival.
Kin is an absurdist tragedy about who we grieve, how we grieve, and when it might be right to stop. Moving between highly poeticized, rhythmic dialogues and wild, free-flowing monologues, the play tells the story of the tragic collision of two families, of different religions and classes, each of whom holds the other responsible for the death of one of their own.
For this year’s Award, 131 scripts were anonymously submitted to readers and judges. The aim each year is to acknowledge a writer whose play is ambitious, demonstrates skilful application of craft and reveals great potential for a stage production.