Kate Mulvany has been announced as the latest recipient of Sydney Theatre Company’s (STC) Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellowship at a special event at The Wharf on Friday 22May. Now in its fifth year, the Fellowship is a position for an established playwrightwhose work has been produced professionally in Australia within the last fouryears. Mulvany receives $25,000 in recognition of her body of work and previousartistic achievements. As well as including a commission from STC which she willdevelop during the year-long tenure, the Fellowship provides opportunities for herto share her skills with other playwrights and artists.
STC Artistic Director, Andrew Upton said: “I’m delighted that Kate Mulvany will bethe Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellow for the next year. She is a writer who isrespected by fellow writers and audiences alike. She has a remarkable nose forstory, be it a deeply personal one, like The Seed, or an adaption of a cherished novellike Jasper Jones. Kate’s ability to dramatise tragic events with humour andempathy makes her a very special writer. We look forward to welcoming Kate toThe Wharf!”
Angela Betzien, the outgoing Fellow, said: “I’m thrilled to vacate my fellowship seatfor the tremendously talented Kate Mulvany. I hope she’ll be as inspired by thisopportunity as I have been. The Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellowship is aunique and vital investment in Australian playwrights and plays.”
Also at the event, Debra Thomas was announced as the winner of the PatrickWhite Playwrights’ Award for her play,The Man’s Bitch. The eveningculminated in a rehearsed reading of the play to a full house at STC as part of theSydney Writers’ Festival. The actors involved included Tina Bursill, AndreaDemetriades, Darren Gilshenan, Josh McConville, Ash Ricardo, Helen Thomsonand Elizabeth Wymarra.
Of The Man’s Bitch, Andrew Upton said: “This exceptionally clever play satirisesthe rise and fall of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, in order to examine thetreatment of women in public life. Making a respectful nod to Caryl Churchill’s TopGirls, the play highlights how little the world has changed for women sinceChurchill’s play was written in 1982. Meticulously plotted and sophisticated in itsuse of form, this is a play of both craft and inspiration. Like many of the plays thatdid well in the competition this year, The Man’s Bitch is fiercely political. It isheartening to know that political playwriting in Australia is as vibrant as it alwayshas been.”
For the Award, 105 scripts were anonymously submitted to readers and judges, whoaim to acknowledge a playwright whose play is ambitious, demonstrates skilfulapplication of craft and reveals great potential for a stage production. As thewinner, Debra Thomas receives $7,500 as well as the opportunity to work withSTC Richard Wherrett Fellow, Paige Rattray, and actors for a rehearsed reading ofthe play. Verity Laughton received a commendation from the judging panel for herplayWhat Has Been Taken.