For the first time in the award’s history, the three finalists for the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award 2016-17 are all women.
Queenslanders Kathryn Marquet for her work This Furious Sea, and Suzie Miller with I Looked Up And There You Were, along with Melbourne writer Michele Lee with Rice, have been chosen as the finalists with the playwriting award guaranteeing a professional production of the winning entry within two years.
The process of development will include dramaturgy, workshops with industry experts and a public presentation of the artists’ work. The artists or team selected will receive a development fee for the work.
The Queensland Premier’s Drama Award is an initiative of the Queensland Government, delivered in partnership with Queensland Theatre Company.
Premier of Queensland and Minister for the Arts, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the Queensland Government had maintained its serious and ongoing commitment to the arts through the Award, “Since its inception in 2002, Queensland Theatre Company has developed 24 plays as part of this award, employed more than 160 actors, writers and directors, and generated audiences of more than 26,000 to new and emerging Queensland work.”
The award last year went to Dylan Evans whose work, Australian-suburbia-meets-Greek-tragedy, Oedipus Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, was produced as part of Queensland Theatre Company’s Season 2016 to much acclaim.
Kathryn Marquet: In 2014, Kathryn Marquet’s debut play, Pale Blue Dot, was produced by La Boite, published by Playlab Press and nominated for five Matilda Awards, including Best New Australian Work. As an actor, she has worked extensively for La Boite, Queensland Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare and many independent companies and, in 2016, will complete her Masters of Philosophy (Playwriting) at UQ, while now, also working on her screenplay.
Her work, This Furious Sea, is based in Southwest Tasmania, where a Bulgarian drug cartel with curious links to Canberra plans to destroy the old-growth forest. Local scientist, Alek, decides to take matters into her own hands, but her only ally is a marsupial with a tiger-ish behind that’s been dead for 80 years. This Furious Sea is a black comedy about extinction, environment, and the tastiest nuggets ever tasted.
Michele Lee: A playwright and writer working across stage and audio, Michele’s current projects include an Arts House digital theatre commission, The Naked Self (co-created with Tanya Dickson); a commission for a new play Going down (Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne via the Malcolm Robertson Prize); and a commission for a short plays project, Power plays, with Sydney Theatre Company. Michele is the 2016 WrICE Early Career Fellow and resident at the Playwrights Centre, Minneapolis in 2016.
Her entry RICE is the story of two women – Nisha, the right-hand woman to the CEO of Australian rice company, Golden Fields, which is poised to seal a contract for rice distribution to the Indian government; and Yvette who is working as a cleaner in the Golden Fields office, cleaning up the food scraps from Nisha’s table and bins. This is a fluid two-hander play where women topple women and women rescue women.
Suzie Miller: Already a multi-award winning Australian/international playwright, Suzie has recently been in residence with, amongst others, Ex Machina & Robert Lepage (2012), National Theatre London (2011/2009), National Theatre of Scotland (2013) and Griffin Theatre, Sydney (2012). She has had over 30 productions of her works at international festivals and on stages around the world and has won and been shortlisted for numerous awards including the National Kit Denton Fellowship for writing with courage; Australian Writers Guild Awards; State Premier’s Awards, Irish Times award, and the New York Fringe Festival ‘Overall Excellence Award for Outstanding Playwriting’.
Her entry I Looked Up And There You Were is the story of an unexpected passion that drags two people through something they don’t fully understand. Deliberately experimenting with different forms and concepts, the works looks at the vulnerability of lives, and about how, for women, autonomy and responsibility are always in a state of flux.
PREVIOUS QPDA WINNERS:
2014-15 Daniel Evans for OEDIPUS DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE
2012-13 Maxine Mellor for TROLLOP
2010-11 Marcel Dorney for FRACTIONS
2008-09 Richard Jordan for 25 DOWN
2006-07 David Brown for THE ESTIMATOR
2004-05 Adam Grossetti for MANO NERA
2002-03 Sven Swenson for ROAD TO THE SHE-DEVIL’S SALON