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Winners

2017 winner y separately published work icon The Drover's Wife Leah Purcell , Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2016 11151204 2016 single work drama

'If anyone can write a full-throttle drama of our colonial past, it’s the indomitable Leah Purcell.

'We all know Henry Lawson’s story of the Drover’s Wife. Her stoic silhouette against an unforgiving landscape, her staring down of the serpent; it’s the frontier myth captured in a few pages. In Leah’s new play the old story gets a very fresh rewrite. Once again the Drover’s Wife is confronted by a threat in her yard, but now it’s a man. He’s bleeding, he’s got secrets, and he’s black. She knows there’s a fugitive wanted for killing whites, and the district is thick with troopers, but something’s holding the Drover’s Wife back from turning this fella in…

'A taut thriller of our pioneering past, with a black sting to the tail, The Drover’s Wife reaches from our nation’s infancy into our complicated present. And best of all, Leah’s playing the Wife herself.' (Publication summary)

2016 winner The Bleeding Tree Angus Cerini , 2015 single work drama

'In an isolated farmhouse, outside a small country town – a woman and her daughters have just killed their abusive man of the house. Known throughout the district as a cur and a dog, the women set about disposing of his body. However their task becomes fraught when several of the local villagers choose to pay a visit and grow suspicious at their behaviour – will their act become exposed before they can dispose of the body? A lyrical exploration of family, violence and revenge against a backdrop of a brutal, rural Australian landscape.' (Play summary)

2013 winner y separately published work icon The Secret River Andrew Bovell , 2013 Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2013 Z1887820 2013 single work drama (taught in 2 units)

'Convict William Thornhill, exiled from the stinking slums of early 19th century London, discovers that the penal colony offers something that he never dared to hope for before: a place of his own. A stretch of land on the Hawkesbury River is Thornhill’s for the taking.

'As he and his family seek to establish themselves in this unfamiliar territory, they find that they are not the only ones to lay a claim to the land. The Hawkesbury is already home to a family of Dharug people, who are reluctant to leave on account of these intruders.

'As Thornhill’s attachment to the place and the dream deepens, he is driven to make a terrible decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life.' (Source: Currency Press website)

2012 winner Ganesh Versus the Third Reich Back to Back Theatre , 2009 single work drama

'"Ganesh Versus the Third Reich' is a serious investigation into the issues about cultural appropriation: it explores who has the authority to tell stories, and how - via symbols, rituals and the like - stories can be told.

Back to Back Theatre is a theatre company with an ensemble of actors with disabilities at its core. In presenting "Ganesh Versus the Third Reich", Back to Back is seeking, in part , to examine how individuals who are perceived to be outsiders (of all kinds), can comment and respond to, and so by extension, be more strongly integrated into a pluralistic society. Through our work, we are seeking to engender dialogue and tolerance. In our opinion, Ganesh is treated with great respect in the work. His integrity and status is never threatened. He is all powerful.

Ganesh is the hero of the work and has an embodiment of goodness and greatness. The representation of Ganesh is not ridiculed or engaged in violent action in the performance. In developing the show, Back to Back Theatre has researched how Ganesh and other deities have been represented in cinema, theatre, graphic novels and dance from the 1960s to the present.

We consider the representation of Ganesh in the work is within the parameters of the cannon that currently exists. We would like to assure members of the Hindu community that it is not our intent to portray Ganesh in a way that is disrespectful. We regret any inadvertent concern or apprehension about the play which may have arisen prior to its performance. Source: www.malthousetheatre.com.au/ (Sighted 04/10/2011).

For the production by Back to Back Theatre, Malthouse Theatre and Melbourne Festival.
2007 winner The Lost Echo Tom Wright , Barrie Kosky , 2006 single work drama

'The Lost Echo' is based on the mythological stories in Ovid's Metamorphoses. It is 'a kaleidoscope of music, text, dance, and image using the music of Cole Porter, John Dowland and Franz Schubert.'

The twelve stories told are those of :
1. Phaethon: A boy whose search for his father leads him to incineration.
2. Callisto: A virgin girl who is seduced by a god, changed into a bear and transformed into a star.
3. Actaeon: A boy who is transformed into a stag as punishment for voyeurism and is eventually ripped apart by his own dogs.
4. Mestra: A girl whose father eats himself to death.
5. Myrrha: A girl whose incestuous lust for her father leads her to misery and transformation into a tree
6. Arachne: A girl whose pride, arrogance and insight leads her to be changed into a spider
7. Salmacis: A woman whose obsession for a younger man leads them both to be transformed into water.
8. Philomela: A girl who enacts devastating revenge on her rapist by feeding him his own child.
9. Semele: A girl who sleeps with a god and is obliterated by the gods.
10. Pentheus: A boy whose inner torment results in him being ripped into pieces by his own mother.
11. Narcissus and Echo :A boy who falls in love with his own reflection and a girl who vanishes into her own voice.
12. Orpheus and Euridice: A man who loses the woman he loves - twice.

Nominated for the 2006 Sydney Theatre Company production.
2005 winner The Sapphires Tony Briggs , 2004 single work drama

Meet the McCrae sisters - four gorgeous singers from country Victoria whose biggest dream is to become as famous as their Motown idols. It is 1969, and their Supremes cover band is performing in St Kilda's Tiki Club when the sisters are spotted by a talent scout. Soon they are dreaming of fame, fortune and glamorous international careers.

Instead, these Koori divas find themselves in the war zone of Vietnam, entertaining the troops. Based on the true story of his mother's and aunts' showbiz careers, Tony Briggs has created a steamy and swinging medley of the highs and lows of family, love, war and the hottest soul music in the jungle of 'Nam!' Source: /www.bsstc.com.au (Sighted 27/01/2010).

Nominated for 2004 MTC production.
2004 winner y separately published work icon Inheritance Hannie Rayson , Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2003 Z1008389 2003 single work drama Inheritance is a story of two families battling it out in the unforgiving terrain of Victoria's Mallee region. The elderly twin sisters, Dibs Hamilton and Girlie Delaney, represent two kinds of rural family story. Dibs inherited the family farm and has prospered; her children, Julia and William, are well educated city folk, and her adopted Aboriginal son, Nugget, is a successful farmer managing the family farm. Girlie, on the other hand, has had a rougher ride. Her son Lyle and his wife maureen are embittered by their experience of life on the farm as one of endless struggle and never getting an even break. (x). 'Speaking the Truth to Power: Hannie Rayson's 'Inheritance'. for the 2003 Melbourne Theatre Company production.
2002 winner y separately published work icon Cloudstreet Nick Enright , Justin Monjo , 1998 Sydney Perth : Currency Press Company B Belvoir Black Swan Theatre Company , 1999 Z396116 1998 single work drama (taught in 2 units) Tim Winton's quintessential Australian yarn of the spirited child Fish, his family and unlikely neighbours - sharing determination, faith, pain, and laughter is a story of love and the bonds that tie us to our sense of place. Hailed as one of the most acclaimed theatrical events of the decade, it is a five hour epic. (Source: Libraries Australia) Awarded for the 2001 season.
2001 winner y separately published work icon Life after George Hannie Rayson , Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2000 Z344453 2000 single work drama (taught in 1 units) Peter George, charismatic academic, idealist, lover of life, is dead. His wife, two ex-wives and daughter gather for his funeral. As the true nature of the man and his life unfolds, so these women discover much about themselves and the lives they have lived both within and outside his shadow. (Publisher's blurb, back cover). for the performance by the Melbourne Theatre Company
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