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Maori playwright wins Adam NZ Play Award with story of coming home

26 Mar 2012

This content is tagged as Theatre .

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Maori playwright Mitch Tawhi Thomas won the 2012 Adam New Zealand Play Award, announced by Playmarket New Zealand this weekend.

 

Mitch Tawhi Thomas (Ngati Maniapoto) has won the 2012 Adam New Zealand Play Award for his play Hui. The award was presented at a ceremony in Wellington's Circa Theatre this weekend.

The Adam New Zealand Play Award recognises and celebrates the best in new writing for the theatre. The annual award, now in its fifth year, is the only one of its kind for new writing. Further special award winners were also recognised at the ceremony including playwrights Dawn Cheong, Philip Braithwaite, Jonathan Riley and Pip Hall.

Hui presents the story of four brothers who are drawn home to mourn the death of their father Bob - presiding over this forced reunion, dead in his armchair. Tempers have not cooled nor have old wounds healed in the 20-years since last these brothers were together. What ensues is a harrowing, charged and stormy night where these brothers must confront the past, take responsibility for the present and ultimately find a way forward.

With devastating clarity and courage Hui grapples with the concepts of love, loss and how, for these brothers, they have come to define each other.

"Hui's characters are ones that have been absent from our stages. This testosterone fuelled provocation invites the male population to look closely at themselves." says Director of Playmarket Murray Lynch, who announced the win at Circa Theatre on 24 March 2012 alongside the four other special award winners. A rehearsed reading of Hui followed the announcement.

Playmarket's only entrance requirements for nominations for The Adam New Zealand Play Awardare that the playwright be a New Zealandcitizen or permanent resident and that the play has not had a professional production. The freedom to submit plays of any length, style or cast size and without the burden of considering a play's affordability or a Theatre's demands has inspired some outstanding work, and seen submissions nearly double this year.

Mitch Tawhi Thomas (Ngati Maniapoto) was presented the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award in 2002, recognising early success in his playwriting career. Coupling (1994), Doughboy (1996), Take it or Leave it (1998), Have Car Will Travel (2001 and published by Tawata Press 2010) and Jangle (2010) all premiered at BATS Theatre inWellington.

In 2010 Mitch led the Basement programme at Centrepoint Theatre in Palmerston North where he spent the year teaching Drama workshops to teenagers and where he wrote and directed the play Smashed.

Mitch completed a Graduate Diploma in Teaching last year and is now living and teaching in Northland.

Thanks to the generosity of the Adam Foundation, Mitch received a cash prize of $5000.

 

ADAM AWARD WINNER 2012 and
BEST PLAY BY A MAORI PLAYWRIGHT:
Mitch Tawhi Thomas for Hui

Playmarket also announced the following category winners:

RUNNER-UP and
BEST PLAY BY A WOMAN PLAYWRIGHT and
THE PLAY PRESS SUBMISSION TO SUSAN BLACKBURN PRIZE:
Dawn Cheong for Remnants of the Silk Maker's Ghosts 

RUNNER-UP:
Philip Braithwaite for White City

BEST PLAY BY A PASIFIKA PLAYWRIGHT:
Jonathan Riley for Makigi

PUMPHOUSE THEATRE PRIZE FOR AN AUCKLANDPLAYWRIGHT:
Pip Hall for Ache