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Prize for Drama (2011-)
Louis Esson Prize for Drama (1985-2010)
Subcategory of Victorian Premier's Literary Awards
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Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2022

winner y separately published work icon Milk Dylan Van Den Berg , 2020 Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2021 21417867 2020 single work drama

'Like a smack in the face.  That’s how I’d describe it.

'On the precipice of something life changing, a young Palawa man plunges into an exploration of self and Country. 

'Carried with the winds of a metaphysical Flinders Island, the land of his mob and the place where it all happened, he is drawn back to the dawn of colonization. To a woman who bore the brunt of the oppressors’ violence and then forward to her granddaughter, who buried the truth as a means of survival. Stirring up stories together, with parts both  achingly sad and unexpectedly funny, what unfolds reveals by slow degrees painful but important truths.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2021

winner Wonnangatta Angus Cerini , 2020 single work drama

'Wonnangatta Station, 1918. Two men arrive at a dark and empty farmhouse looking for the manager, their friend Jim Barclay. No one’s heard from him for more than a month. Something’s amiss. Then a grim discovery sets the men off on a journey across the harsh Australian terrain, looking for answers, maybe for revenge.'

Source: Sydney Theatre Company.

Year: 2020

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.

Year: 2019

winner y separately published work icon The Almighty Sometimes Kendall Feaver , 2015 Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2018 14128590 2015 single work drama

'Anna is coming of age. Possibilities are unfurling in front of her and she’s ready to take control. But her mother’s been standing guard all these years, taking care, editing the choices.

'When Anna makes a decision that could affect the rest of her life, can Renee stand by and watch?'

Source: Royal Exchange Theatre.

Year: 2018

winner y separately published work icon Rice Michele Lee , 2014 Fortitude Valley : Playlab , 2016 9703058 2014 single work drama

'Rice explores the business of global food production, namely rice, and women in business. There are two main characters. The central character is Nisha. She’s 28, a young and precocious corporate hotshot working as the Executive Officer of Golden Fields, Australia’s biggest rice company. She’s a second generation Indian. Yvette is 61, Chinese; she’s a cleaner in the Golden Fields building. Golden Fields is in Melbourne; Nisha and Yvette play all the other characters.

'Nisha is close to sealing a confidential contract with the Indian government, which would see Golden Fields taking over India’s public food distribution systems – rice is a major staple distributed through this system. This secret contract is worth billions. When a flood in one of the southern states in India looks to distract the government and delay the deal, Nisha decides that she needs to go to India to finalise the contract in person, taking with her Graeme, the CEO, and Tom, the marketing manager that Nisha has romantic feelings for.

'Yvette’s daughter, Sheree, is facing charges for a protest that resulted in the assault of the CEO of Coles.'

Source: Author's website (http://www.michelevanlee.com.au/current-projects/rice/) (Sighted: 12/07/2016)

Works About this Award

Kick up the Arts Would Benefit Us All Chips Mackinolty , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: NT News , 14 February 2016; (p. 12)
Bovell's Dramatic Reward, 10 Years in the Making Jo Roberts , 2002 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 12 November 2002; (p. 4)
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