Patrick White Playwrights’ Award and Fellowship

Patrick White

Patrick White Playwrights' Award and Fellowship

The Patrick White Playwrights’ Award has been an annual initiative of the Sydney Theatre Company since 2000. It is held in honour of Patrick White’s contribution to Australian theatre and to foster the development of Australian playwrights. In 2010 an additional prize, the Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellowship, was introduced to recognise and support more established Australian playwrights. The awards are designed to benefit both emerging writers and mid-career writers, which together have a total prize pool of $32,500.

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2017 Patrick White Playwrights’ Award and Fellowship

The 2017 Patrick White Playwrights’ Award recipient is Kim Ho for his play Mirror’s Edge. The judges applauded the ambition and inventiveness of the play. The Award offers a cash prize of $7,500 for a full-length unproduced play of any genre written by an Australian playwright over 18 years of age. The readers and judges assessing the scripts seek a work that is original and ambitious with great potential for staging. 

The Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellowship has been awarded to Sue Smith. Smith is well known to STC audiences for her play Kryptonite in 2014 which was nominated for Best Play at the 2014 Sydney Theatre Awards, as well as Machu Picchu in 2016 which starred Lisa McCune and Darren Gilshenan. The Fellowship is a position for an established Australian playwright whose work has been produced professionally in Australia within the last four years. The winning playwright receives a total prize package of $25,000 which includes a year-long Fellowship in recognition of their excellent body of work, and a commission to write a new play.

The five shortlisted plays for the 2017 Patrick White Playwrights’ Award were:

Find out more about the award recipients in the media release.

Enquiries: (02) 9250 1700 or playwrights@sydneytheatre.com.au

Sue Smith, STC Artistic Director Kip Williams, STC Literary Manager Polly Rowe, and Kim Ho. Photo by Pedro Greig.

Sue Smith

Sue Smith is a multi-award winning screenwriter, playwright and script editor. Her first stage play Thrall, was produced by Tamarama Rock Surfers in 2006 and her professional theatre debut, Strange Attractor, premiered at Griffin Theatre in 2009. Sue also wrote the libretto for Rembrandt’s Wife, which premiered at the Victorian Opera. Her adaptation of Tolstoy’s The Kreutzer Sonata premiered at the State Theatre Company of South Australia to rave reviews. Her play Kryptonite was produced by Sydney Theatre Company and State Theatre Company of South Australia in 2014 and was nominated for Best Play at the 2014 Sydney Theatre Awards. Her play, Machu Picchu, starred Lisa McCune in the 2016 program for the Sydney Theatre Company and State Theatre Company of South Australia, and her newest play Hydra is under commission with Queensland Theatre. Sue’s screen credits include co-writer of Saving Mr Banks; MABO; Bastard Boys; Peaches; RAN; Temptation; The Road from Coorain; Bordertown; The Leaving of Liverpool and Brides of Christ.

Kim Ho

Kim Ho is a Melbourne-based writer, performer and dramaturg. His short film The Language of Love, produced by Australian Theatre for Young People, screened at over thirty film festivals worldwide, including the Sundance Film Festival. Kim was the 2013 recipient of the Besen Family Artist Programme, Writer’s Development at Malthouse Theatre, and in 2016 he co-coordinated the company’s Provocateur programme. In 2017, an excerpt of his play Mirror’s Edge received a staged reading in Cybec Electric at Melbourne Theatre Company as part of AsiaTOPA. Later that year Kim co-devised and performed in the inaugural La Mama Youth Ensemble show Kiss Sigh Shout Laugh Cry Dream. A passionate advocate of empowering marginalised voices through art, he aims to make and support culturally diverse Australian writing. Kim is currently undertaking a Masters of Writing for Performance at the Victorian College of Arts.

Past winners

Lewis Treston, Award
Andrew Bovell, Fellowship

Neil Levi, Award
Tommy Murphy, Fellowship

Debra Thomas, Award
Kate Mulvany, Fellowship

Chris Summers, Award
Angela Betzien, Fellowship

Anna Barnes, Award
Hilary Bell, Fellowship

Phillip Kavanagh, Award
Patricia Cornelius, Fellowship

Melissa Bubnic, Award
Raimondo Cortese, Fellowship (inaugural)

Ian Wilding

Nicki Bloom

Angus Cerini
Timothy Daly

Patricia Cornelius

Wesley Enoch

Stephen Carleton

David Milroy and Ningali Lawford

Reg Cribb
Ian Wilding

Brendan Cowell
Toby Schmitz
Jackie Smith

Ben Ellis
Bette Guy
Ailsa Piper

Patrick White Biography

Born in 1912, Patrick White received international success with his novel The Tree of Man in 1954 and went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973. His body of work for the theatre comprises eight published plays. The first major play, The Ham Funeral, written in 1947, was not performed until 1962 at the Union Theatre in Adelaide, after being rejected for the 1961 Adelaide Festival. It received critical and public acclaim.

His next three plays, The Season at SarsaparillaNight On Bald Mountain and A Cheery Soul, premiered in the 1960s. Mixed critical responses prevented White, to a large extent, from seriously engaging with Australian theatre for a period of 13 years. It was not until 1976 that Jim Sharman's production of The Season at Sarsaparilla for Sydney's Old Tote Theatre Company convinced White to re-emerge as a playwright. Big Toys was written within a year. At the same time, a number of revivals of the early plays renewed audience interest in White's work.

Jim Sharman's production of A Cheery Soul was the first play of the Interim Season of Sydney Theatre Company in January 1979. It opened at the Drama Theatre of the Sydney Opera House with Robyn Nevin in the role of Miss Docker. White went on to write three more plays - Signal Driver (1982), Netherwood (1983) and Shepherd on the Rocks (1987) - establishing a body of work of formidable imagination. Subsequent revivals have included Neil Armfield's productions of The Ham Funeral (1989), Night on Bald Mountain (1996) and, in 2001, A Cheery Soul (an STC production with Company B) in which Robyn Nevin revived the role of Miss Docker. Most recently, in 2007, STC produced a critically acclaimed production of The Season of Sarsaparilla performed by the STC Actors Company.