Political shennanigans, ecological terrorism and twitchy fairytales lead to award for Wellington playwright
24 Nov 2014
The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award was presented to Ralph McCubbin Howell at the Playmarket Accolades in Wellington on 23 November 2014.
The $10,000 cash prize recognises early success in the career of the winning playwright and is designed to encourage their continued exploration of the theatre medium.
Ralph graduated from Victoria University with a BA (Honours) First Class in Theatre and English Literature before going on to train at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the UK.
He is co-director of Trick of the Light Theatre Company alongside Hannah Smith. For Trick of the Light he has written The Engine Room (2011 Chapman Tripp Theatre Award for Outstanding New Playwright), The Road That Wasn’t There (2013 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards for Outstanding New New Zealand Play and Production of the Year, Auckland Arts Festival Award – Auckland Fringe Awards 2013) and The Bookbinder (Best Theatre, Best in the Fringe, the Tiki Tour Ready Award – NZ Fringe Awards 2014, International Excellence Award – Sydney Fringe Festival).
In 2013 he wrote Broken River, the BATS Theatre STAB commission, and in 2014 his play Second Afterlife premiered as part of the Young and Hungry Festival of New Theatre at BATS Theatre in Wellington before a season at The Basement Theatre in Auckland. Other credits include collaborating on A Most Outrageous Humbug (Pick of the Fringe, NZ Fringe 2009), and Who’s Neat? You! (Best of Theatre, NZ Fringe 2010).
Since 1993 The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award has recognised the work of an outstanding emerging New Zealand playwright. The recipient is decided through voting by a panel of leading Artistic Directors and Script Advisors throughout New Zealand. Previous winners include many of this country’s most celebrated writers including Hone Kouka, Briar Grace-Smith, Jo Randerson and Arthur Meek.
The Award is named after the man considered to be New Zealand’s first most significant playwright, Bruce Mason, who died in 1982. His plays are still produced widely today and many, such as The Pohutakawa Tree and The End of the Golden Weather have come to be considered New Zealand classics. The award is funded by The Bruce Mason Estate, The FAME Trust, and Downstage Theatre Society.
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