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Short List For New Zealand National Playwriting Award Announced

15 Nov 2010

This content is tagged as Multi-Artform .


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Playmarket is proud to announce the four playwrights shortlisted for one of New Zealand’s most significant national theatre awards - the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award.

They are Arthur Meek, Eli Kent, Lynda Chanwai-Earle and Thomas Sainsbury. Each of these playwrights has been nominated in previous years.

The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award has since 1983 recognised the work of an outstanding emerging New Zealand playwright who has had one or more full-length plays produced to acclaim. Previous winners include many of this country’s most celebrated writers, including Toa Fraser, Hone Kouka and Jo Randerson, and was last year awarded to Pip Hall. The winner will be announced and the award - sponsored by the Bruce Mason Estate, Downstage Theatre Society, The FAME Trust, and Playmarket - presented at Downstage Theatre on 3 December.

Nominations and the award winner are decided through voting by a panel made up of leading directors and script advisors throughout New Zealand and Playmarket staff. The winner will be awarded a $10,000 cash prize.

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 End of the Golden Weather, have come to be considered New Zealand classics.

The nominees:

Arthur Meek’s plays include Young & Hungry commission Yolk, Mando the Goatherd, Fringe hit The Cottage and On the Conditions and Possibilities of Helen Clark Taking Me as Her Young Lover which toured nationally in 2008. Collapsing Creation premiered in Christchurch and was produced at Downstage last November as part of the worldwide celebrations of the 150th Anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species. Arthur is currently working on a commission for ATC – On the Upside-Down of the World – based on Our Maoris, the 1840s memoirs of Lady Martin.

Eli Kent emerged on the scene in 2008 with Rubber Turkey, performed at BATS and The Basement Theatre, and won “Best New New Zealand Playwright Award” at that year’s Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards.
Last year The Intricate Art of Actually Caring was produced in Eli’s bedroom in the Wellington Fringe, going on to pick up “Best Theatre” at the Fringe Awards and transfer as part of the Best of the Fringe to Downstage. It also gathered “Most Original Production" at the 2009 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards. This year the play has toured extensively to much critical acclaim and audience delight.

His 2010 Young & Hungry commission Thinning, about six high school graduates apple picking for the summer, was performed in both the Wellington and Auckland seasons.

This year Lynda Chanwai-Earle’s company Ice Floe Productions toured festivals with her award winning play Heat. The innovative production runs solely on alternative energy, with a solar panel and wind turbine powering all lights and sound.

Lynda’s groundbreaking one-woman play Ka Shue (Letters Home) toured to Ireland in 1997 and Hawaii in 2004. Semi-autobiographical, Ka Shue is the first authentically New Zealand–Chinese play for mainstream audiences. Together with her second play, Foh-Sarn (Fire Mountain) it was published by The Women’s Play Press in 2003. Both plays are prescribed texts with the NCEA (National Certificates of Educational Achievement) and Victoria University. Ka-Shue has been published in Canada and Hawaii and is now in its third print. Nominated for two Chapman Tripp Awards, Lynda’s play Monkey premiered at the 2004 International Festival of the Arts and toured as part of Capital E National Theatre for Children programme.
Lynda is currently working on a commission with The Court Theatre - Man in a Suitcase.

Thomas Sainsbury is one of New Zealand’s most prolific and popular playwrights, gaining considerable attention and praise in the past few years for productions of his dark comedies in Auckland, Wellington, Australia and London. His plays include Sunday Roast, LUV, The Mall, Loser, Beast, The Christmas Monologues and the collaboration Gas. He has previously been selected three times for Playmarket’s New Zealand Young Playwrights Competition. The Mall, Loser and The Christmas Monologues have been published by The Play Press.
Thomas is currently working on several plays including The Canary, and directing a regular series of monologues with a different theme each time, including - The Masculine Monologues, The Awkward Monologues, Monster Monologues and the latest: Fairy Tale Monologues.

The award is sponsored by the Bruce Mason Estate, Downstage Theatre Society and the FAME Trust.
Playmarket receives major funding from Creative NZ.

For further information:
Aneta Ruth
Playmarket I Communications
+64 4 382 8462 ext 2