New Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellow and Award winner announced

Actor, screenwriter, librettist and playwright Kate Mulvany is the latest recipient of Sydney Theatre Company’s (STC) Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellowship. The Fellowship, now in its fifth year, is a position for an established playwright whose work has been professionally produced in Australia. Mulvany  receives $25,000 in recognition of her body of work and previous artistic achievements. As well as including a commission from STC which she will develop during the year-long tenure, the Fellowship provides opportunities for her to share her skills with other playwrights and artists.

STC's Andrew Upton and Polly Rowe with the winners. Photo by Hon Boey.
STC’s Andrew Upton and Polly Rowe with the winners. Photo by Hon Boey.

“I’m delighted that Kate Mulvany will be the Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellow for the next year,” said STC Artistic Director Andrew Upton.

“She is a writer who is respected by fellow writers and audiences alike. She has a remarkable nose for story, be it a deeply personal one, like The Seed, or an adaption of a cherished novel like Jasper Jones.

“Kate’s ability to dramatise tragic events with humour and empathy makes her a very special writer. We look forward to welcoming Kate to The Wharf!”

It has also been announced that Debra Thomas has won the Patrick White Playwrights’ Award this year for her play The Man’s Bitch. The play was read to a full house at STC as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival, and the actors involved included Tina Bursill, Andrea Demetriades, Darren Gilshenan, Josh McConville, Ash Ricardo, Helen Thomson and Elizabeth Wymarra.

For the Award, 105 scripts were anonymously submitted to readers and judges, who aim to acknowledge a playwright whose play is ambitious, demonstrates skilful application of craft and reveals great potential for a stage production. As the winner, Debra Thomas receives $7,500 as well as the opportunity to work with STC Richard Wherrett Fellow, Paige Rattray, and actors for a rehearsed reading of the play. Verity Laughton received a commendation from the judging panel for her play What Has Been Taken.

 Of The Man’s Bitch, Andrew Upton said: “This exceptionally clever play satirises the rise and fall of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, in order to examine the treatment of women in public life.

“Making a respectful nod to Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls, the play highlights how little the world has changed for women since Churchill’s play was written in 1982. Meticulously plotted and sophisticated in its use of form, this is a play of both craft and inspiration.

“Like many of the plays that did well in the competition this year, The Man’s Bitch is fiercely political. It is heartening to know that political playwriting in Australia is as vibrant as it always has been.”

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and is the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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