This week at Sydney Theatre Company the focus has been on Australia’s finest young playwrights, with the announcement of STC’s new Patrick White Playwrights Fellow, Nakkiah Lui, the winner of the Patrick White Playwrights Award, Mark Rogers for his play Superheroes, and the four new members of STC’s Emerging Writers Group: James Elazzi, Jordyn Fulcher, Enoch Mailangi and Wendy Mocke. Get to know these talented writers below…
Nakkiah Lui is a Gamillaroi/Torres Strait Islander woman, a young leader in the Australian Aboriginal community and a multi award-winning writer and actor in TV shows such as ABC’s Black Comedy and Kiki & Kitty. She has appeared on Q&A and The Drum, is a regular guest on Screen Time and co-hosts the BuzzFeed podcast series Pretty For An Aboriginal. In 2018, Nakkiah won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award - Nick Enright Prize for her play Black is the New White. Nakkiah Lui is well known to STC audience with three of her plays Black is the New White, Blackie Blackie Brown and How to Rule the World being staged and toured nationally in the last three years.
Now in its eighth year, the $25,000 Fellowship is awarded annually to an established playwright in recognition of their excellent body of work and achievements. As well as including a commission from STC, which each Fellow develops during their year-long engagement, the tenure provides opportunities for the playwright to share their skills with other playwrights and artists including the STC Emerging Writer’s Group. Previous STC Patrick White Fellows include Sue Smith, Andrew Bovell, Tommy Murphy, Kate Mulvany, Angela Betzien, Hilary Bell, Patricia Cornelius and Raimondo Cortese.
THE AWARD WINNER
111 scripts were submitted anonymously for the 2018 Patrick White Playwrights Award, a prize of $7,500 for an original, unproduced play. It was Mark Rogers’ play, Superheroes, which most impressed the judges.
Told through interspersed monologues that come together in a simple and beautiful collision, this play tells the stories of two women on opposite sides of the world, connected by questions of responsibility that they must grapple with. Superheroes received a rehearsed reading directed by STC Richard Wherrett Fellow Shari Sebbens, and performed by Aleks Mikic, Teresa Moore and Adele Perovic.
Mark Rogers is a playwright and theatre-maker living in the Illawarra. He holds a PhD from the University of Wollongong, where he lectures in theatre and performance. His previous work as a playwright includes: The Pecking Order (Shopfront Arts Co-Op, Commission) Tom William Mitchell (Merrigong-X), Plastic (Old 505 Theatre), We’ll Become Good People, You’ll See (Crack Theatre Festival), Target Audience (Novelty UK), The Buck (Rock Surfers, Bondi Feast), Soothsayers (Brisbane Festival: Under The Radar), Blood Pressure (Rock Surfers, Old Fitzroy Theatre) and Gobbledygook (PACT, AC Arts Adelaide).
THE EMERGING WRITERS GROUP
The new Emerging Writers Group, James Elazzi, Jordyn Fulcher, Enoch Mailangi and Wendy Mocke, will meet regularly throughout the year-long program (May 2019 to May 2020) and will receive mentorship from STC’s Literary Manager and Resident Artists, including the Patrick White Playwrights Fellow and Associate Director. The group will attend all of STC’s productions, company runs of STC shows and take part in workshops with STC artists, as well as have opportunities to discuss with mentors the work they see and create.
James Elazzi is an Australian writer who grew up in Western Sydney. His writing seeks to find a balance between both cultures of Australian and his Lebanese heritage. James completed the 2017 National Theatre of Parramatta’s script program, Page to Stage, culminating in a public reading of his script Miriam. James was also chosen to be part of the 2018 NToP’s emerging playwrights program, ‘Creative Futures’. James’ play Omar and Dawn showcased in the 2018 bAKEHOUSE Storyteller’s festival at Kings Cross Theatre. In February 2019, James’ play, Son Of Byblos in partnership with Siren Theatre Company, was chosen to have a public reading. In May 2019, James’s sold out play Lady Tabouli was chosen to be part of Griffin Theatre’s Batch Festival.
Jordyn Fulcher is an actor and emerging playwright from Sydney. Graduating from her Advanced Diploma in Acting at AFTT (The Academy of Film, Theatre, and Television) in 2017, she then turned her focus to writing. Penning her first novel at eleven years old in her grandparent's living room, Jordyn found her home in the stories she told and the natural wonder of the world around her. Her notable acting credits include: Caryl Churchill's ensemble piece Love and Information (2017), The Nurse in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (2016), Karen in David Mamet's Speed the Plow (2016), Olga in Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters (2015), Diana Rivers in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (2013), Horatio in Shakespeare's Hamlet (2013), Marina in a staged adaption of John Marsden's So Much To Tell You (2012).
Enoch Mailangi is a text-based artist and writer for performance based in Lakemba, Sydney. Currently studying a Masters of Fine Arts (Writing for Performance) at NIDA, Enoch just finished their first production with Campbelltown Arts Centre, FLORA 4 FLORA, a movement comedy about a Grindr hook-up between a Native Wattle and Introduced British Rose, which was only watchable off Facebook live. Their work currently interrogates three main ideas: who Indigenous characters are on screen when they’re not responding to whiteness, Blak Mediocrity as a tool against the dangers of Blak Excellence, and celebrity culture as a vehicle of colonisation. Their works also explore larger themes of desire, shame, and the internet.
Wendy Mocke is a Papua New Guinean inter-disciplinary storyteller. She is a NIDA Acting graduate and Creative Director of Melanin Haus, a creative arts company based in Cairns. Her acting credits include: ABC’s The Code, Home Invasion at the Old 505 and Moby Dick at the Seymour Centre, where she was nominated for a Sydney Theatre Award. Wendy performed in last year's Festival Fatale at Darlinghurst Theatre in a play she co-wrote called Jelbu Meri. Wendy has also undertaken a residency at Rex Cramphorn Studio for a verbatim theatre piece she devised called Voices of West Papua. One of Wendy's quests as a writer and artist is to make alive what is quiet and asleep in Melanesian stories and unpack the myriad of layers that is black Pacific Islander identity.
STC acknowledges the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund for supporting the Emerging Writers Group project.