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Winners

2019 winner y separately published work icon Counting and Cracking S. Shakthidharan , 2019 Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2020 14530930 2019 single work drama

'On the banks of the Georges River, Radha and her son Siddhartha release the ashes of Radha’s mother – their final connection to the past, to Sri Lanka and its struggles. Now they are free to embrace their lives in Australia. Then a phone call from Colombo brings the past spinning back to life, and we are plunged into an epic story of love and political strife, of home and exile, of parents and children

'Counting and Cracking is a big new play about Australia like none we’ve seen before. This is life on a large canvas, so we are leaving Belvoir St and building a Sri Lankan town hall inside Sydney Town Hall. Sixteen actors play four generations of a family, from Colombo to Pendle Hill, in a story about Australia as a land of refuge, about Sri Lanka’s efforts to remain united, about reconciliation within families, across countries, across generations.'

Source: Belvoir St Theatre.

2018 winner Bennelong Bangarra Dance Theatre , Stephen Page , 2017 single work drama Indigenous story

'Bennelong is a dance theatre production that explores the story of Woollarawarre Bennelong (Bennilong, Baneelon) (c1764-1813), a Wangul man of the Eora nation who lived in the Port Jackson area at the time of the British first settlement. Today, Bennelong is one of the most celebrated and mythologised Aboriginal individuals from the days of early settlement. His wide notoriety is remarkable - not only for the stories about his interactions and relationships with the British, but for the amount of primary source material that refers to him in notebooks and diaries of several first fleet officers, as well as Governor Arthur Phillip himself.

'Bennelong’s story has been told and re-told many times over by historians, novelists and screenwriters, and his image has been depicted by artists from early times to the present in paintings, drawings and other media. Numerous geographical locations around Australia are named in his honour. Perhaps the most well-known ‘place’ name is Bennelong Point, where the iconic Sydney Opera House stands.

'Bangarra Dance Theatre’s unique telling of Bennelong’s story is imagined through the perspective of Bennelong himself as well as other Aboriginal people of the time. The work explores his personal character, his conflicts, his relationships, his community, and his standing within that community.

'Bangarra’s production of Bennelong is not a historical recount, nor is it a literal translation of events. The work looks between the lines and layers of the narrative that has gathered around this one man, and beyond the common perceptions that have prevailed in regard to Bennelong the man and his unique place in our post-colonial history.

'We are mindful that we look back to Bennelong’s time through the filter of our contemporary consciousness - what we know now is always superimposed over what we read about First Contact times and how we imagine the reality of those times.

'We hope to ignite audiences’ imaginations and focus their thoughts on the enormous impact brought to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through European settlement.'

Source: https://bangarra-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/pdf/e-Resources/Bangarra%20Dance%20Theatre_Bennelong_STUDY_GUIDE_compressed.pdf

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 Ladies in Black Carolyn Burns , 2015 single work musical theatre

'Step through the doors of F.G. Goode’s department store and into a marvellous musical whirl of glitz and glamour with Ladies in Black. This world premiere adaptation of Madeleine St John’s 1993 novel, The Women in Black, is brought to life by internationally-acclaimed director Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Love Never Dies) with original music from superstar singer and musician, Tim Finn (Split Enz, Crowded House).

'Sydney is crossing the threshold between the stuffy repression of the 1950s and the glorious liberation of the 1960s. Bright-eyed bookish school leaver Lisa is to join the sales staff in the city’s most prestigious department store. In that summer of innocence, a world of possibilities opens up as she befriends the colourful denizens of the women’s frocks department – including her new mentor, the exotic European Magda, mysterious mistress of the gowns.

'With a dash of delicate comedy, Ladies in Black is a magical modern-day fairytale set in a city on the cusp of becoming cosmopolitan, and marks the triumphant return of musical theatre to Queensland Theatre Company’s stage.' (Production summary)

2015 winner y separately published work icon The Rabbits Lally Katz , Kate Miller-Heidke (composer), 2015 8043706 2015 single work drama opera

'John Marsden and Shaun Tan's haunting picture book tells a story we all know: a story of colonisation, civilisation and progress — a story about displacement, destruction and culture clash. And in that landscape, it tells a story of hope taking root.

'It's a story for young people, it's a story for old people, it's a story for all of us.

'Opera Australia and Barking Gecko Theatre Company have assembled some of Australia's foremost creative talents to collaborate on a new opera for children and families.

'Gabriela Tylesova's kooky sets and costumes realise Tan's pictures in all of their mystical wonder, while Lally Katz has turned Marsden's spare poetry into an enchanting libretto. To write the score, Kate Miller Heidke: the butterfly-voiced, classically-trained indie-pop singer who is as at home on the charts as she is performing at the Met. As well as composing The Rabbits, Kate will perform in this production.' (Production 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 y separately published work icon Angela's Kitchen (Il-Kċina ta’ Angela) Paul Capsis , Julian Meyrick , 2010 Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2012 Z1741987 2010 single work drama (taught in 1 units)

'In 1948, Angela left Malta. Having gathered up five children, she sailed out on the Strathnavar, leaving poverty and the war behind. Her destination: Australia. In Surry Hills, she could build a bright new life. If only she could first learn the language, finish shoring up their dilapidated house, find new friends, get the racist neighbour off her back and keep her son away from sly grog queen Kate Leigh's kids.

'Back in Malta, someone else has made a journey. Making his way along Kalkara's glistening harbourside, a young man with flowing black hair has returned to claim his past. Paul Capsis is walking home.

'A journey that begins at a kitchen table becomes a sprawling family history and a fitting tribute to a much-loved matriarch. Told simply and truthfully, Angela's Kitchen is an astonishingly evocative piece of autobiographical theatre from one of Australia's most versatile performers.'

Source: Griffin Theatre Company website, http://www.griffintheatre.com.au/
Sighted: 15/11/2010

2009 winner Shane Warne : The Musical Eddie Perfect , Toby Schmitz , Eddie Perfect (composer), 2007 single work musical theatre
2008 winner y separately published work icon Toy Symphony Michael Gow , 2007 Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2008 Z1440999 2007 single work drama (taught in 4 units)

'Roland Henning has writer's block. When he tries to explain the situation to a therapist, his story begins to tumble back and forth between his childhood in The Shire and his work as a playwright. At the root of it all is that extraordinary day in primary school which shattered his boyhood and plunged him headlong into the dizzy circus of life and art.'

Source: Belvoir Street website, http://www.belvoir.com.au
Sighted: 05/11/2007

Nominated for the 2007 Company B production.
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).

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'.
2002 winner Batavia Peter Goldsworthy , Richard Mills (composer), 2001 2001 single work musical theatre opera
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