Sydney Theatre Company has announced that Anchuli Felicia King is the 2019 STC Patrick White Playwrights Fellow. It was also announced that this year’s Patrick White Playwrights Award recipient is Keziah Warner for her play LuNa.
STC Artistic Director Kip Williams said: “In this time of uncertainty, it is so important to look to the future of our art form and support the next generation of theatre-makers. In this spirit, I’m thrilled to announce that Anchuli Felicia King has been named our Patrick White Fellow. Felicia is one of the most exciting young playwrights in the world right now and we are delighted she will be joining the STC artistic cohort”.
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 are Nakkiah Lui, Sue Smith, Andrew Bovell, Tommy Murphy, Kate Mulvany, Angela Betzien, Hilary Bell, Patricia Cornelius and Raimondo Cortese.
Anchuli Felicia King is a playwright and multidisciplinary artist of Thai-Australian descent. As a playwright, Felicia is interested in linguistic hybrids, digital cultures and issues of globalization. Her plays have been produced by the Royal Court Theatre (London), Studio Theatre (Washington D.C.), American Shakespeare Center (Staunton), Melbourne Theatre Company (Melbourne), Sydney Theatre Company, National Theatre of Parramatta and Belvoir Theatre (Sydney).
As a multidisciplinary artist, Felicia has worked with a wide range of companies and institutions, including Punchdrunk, PlayCo, 3LD Arts & Technology Center, Roundabout Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, 59E59, Ars Nova, the Obie Awards, The Builders Association, Ensemble Studio Theater, NYTW, American Shakespeare Company and Red Bull Theater. She is a member of Ensemble Studio Theater’s Youngblood Group and Roundabout Theater’s Space Jam Program.
Formerly based in New York, Felicia continues to work internationally and is based between London, New York and her hometown of Melbourne, Australia.
Particularly in this time of immense tumult and uncertainty in our industry, this fellowship is all the more precious to me and is a real creative lifeline. I am so immensely grateful to STC, to Patrick White, to the extraordinary cohort of artists I get to join who have occupied this fellowship before me, particularly Nakkiah Lui who is a huge inspiration to me (this year’s outgoing fellow).
133 scripts were submitted anonymously for the 2019 Patrick White Playwrights Award, a prize of $7500 for an original, unproduced play, with Keziah Warner’s play LuNa most impressing the judges.
LuNa follows twins, Cali and Nira, as they attempt to understand and come to terms with their unique origin story. The play visits the sisters at different moments in their lives and contemplates the issues associated with the genetic modification of humans. This restrained two-hander uses a simple structure and detailed character study to pose complex ethical questions about the psychological impact of tampering with biological destiny. It’s thrilling to watch the twins’ lives condensed into a one-act play; to watch their perspectives and voices mature over the sweep of time.
Keziah Warner is a playwright and dramaturg. She is an alumna of Melbourne Theatre Company’s Women in Theatre Program, Malthouse Theatre’s Besen Family Artist’s Program, Red Stitch’s INK Program, Playwriting Australia’s Post-Production Program and Soho Theatre’s Writer’s Lab, UK. She has been long-listed for Soho Theatre’s Young Writer’s Award and previously short-listed for the Patrick White Playwrights Award. Recent credits include: Control (Red Stitch, 2019), Help Yourself (MTC’s Cybec Electric, 2019) and Her Father’s Daughter (Hotel Now, 2018).
The Emerging Writers Group
It was also announced that The Emerging Writers Group of James Elazzi, Jordyn Fulcher, Enoch Mailangi and Wendy Mocke will continue for another year until May 2021.
The group of four emerging writers will meet regularly throughout the year (May 2020 to May 2021) 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.
STC and NIDA Pathways Commission Program
Sydney Theatre Company also announced a new artistic partnership with NIDA. STC and NIDA Pathways Commission program is a co-commissioning program run between STC and NIDA that will provide a pathway for writing alumni to have their work developed and considered for performance by Sydney Theatre Company. The successful applicant will have the unique opportunity to work with Sydney Theatre Company Literary Manager Polly Rowe and Artistic Director Kip Williams, and NIDA’s Head of Writing Dr Stephen Sewell.
The initiative brings together the combined resources of both organisations to be utilised to create new Australian work. NIDA’s emerging actors and Sydney Theatre Company’s directors will be involved in the process.
Throughout, the selected writer will have the unique opportunity of working with the combined artistic forces of the Sydney Theatre Company Literary Manager Polly Rowe and Artistic Director Kip Williams, and NIDA’s Head of Writing Dr Stephen Sewell.
This new Pathways Commission process recognises the long and collaborative relationship between the Sydney Theatre Company and NIDA, strengthening the pathway for alumni of NIDA’s MFA (Writing) program, said NIDA’s Head of Writing Dr Stephen Sewell.
NIDA CEO Liz Hughes said:
NIDA is delighted to be collaborating with the STC to support the development of new Australian work with this Pathways Commission. NIDA deeply values strong relationships with Industry and are delighted to be working again with the STC, a pivotal performing arts company with a strong commitment to fostering Australian writing. NIDA appreciates the generous support of the Longes Family towards the STC and NIDA Pathways Commission.
All NIDA writing alumni are eligible to submit a pitch. This initiative is possible due to the generous support of the Longes Family.