The announcement was made at an event at the Belvoir St Theatre on Wednesday 27 May,the first day ofNational Reconciliation Week. The award was be presented byHamish Balnaves, General Manager ofThe Balnaves Foundation.
‘I am so excited to have won the 2015 Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright's Award, I'm still pinching myself,’ said Beckett.
‘What an amazing opportunity Belvoir and the Balnaves family have provided, to be able to write a story that holds so much meaning to me and many others, with a platform for it to be heard. We all have so much to say, we have a story to tell, but unfortunately so many go unheard. This chance to be heard holds great value to me. I would like to thank Belvoir and the Balnaves family for their support and the opportunities they provide for Indigenous writers.’
‘I’m thrilled that Katie Beckett is the recipient of this year’s Balnaves Award,’ saidAnthea Williams, Belvoir’s Associate Director - Literary and a member of the judging panel for the Balnaves Award. ‘Katie is no stranger to Belvoir audiences, she appeared on our stage twice, firstly inCoranderrk and more recently in Nakkiah Lui’s productionKill the Messenger. Nakkiah was the first recipient of this fantastic award.
‘Katie plans to write the story of the new, and largely unknown, Stolen Generation. In NSW 6300 Indigenous children are wards of the state. This number is nearly 10% of the Aboriginal child population. Katie is writer with great passion who believes this story needs to be uncovered. The judges were convinced both her unique voice and her commitment to developing her writing craft.’
The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award was established to encourage the telling of Indigenous stories with the aim of fostering understanding and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. ‘One of the objectives for the Balnaves Award is to investigate stories of Indigenous experience,’ said Hamish Balnaves. ‘The rates of Indigenous children being taken into care are staggering. Many children are being placed with non-Indigenous carers, in contravention of the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle. This loss of culture and kinship leaves us facing the very real possibility of a second Stolen Generation. Katie’s play will dramatise this experience and bring wider scrutiny to this critical issue.’
The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award is a $20,000 award which is comprised of a $12,500 commission to write a new play and a $7,500 cash prize.