Two Winners Announced For Patrick White Playwrights' Award

Two playwrights, Angus Cerini and Timothy Daly, are the recipients of the 2007 Patrick White Playwrights’ Award for their plays, Wretch and The Man in the Attic, respectively.

STC Artistic Directors Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett announced the winners of the Award ahead of rehearsed readings of both plays to a sold out house at STC’s Wharf 2 on 23 May 2008 as part of the Sydney Writer’s Festival.

Angus Cerini said about his play: “Wretch explores a mother’s love for her child, and a young man’s love for his mum. The play is set during a visit to the prison where the teenager is struggling with his guilt and remorse at the events that have led him there. Above all Wretch is a story about love and the things we do for it, because of it and despite it.”

Timothy Daly said of his play: “The Man In The Attic is based on an amazing true story, of a Jew who was hidden by a German couple during World War II, but when the war ended, they decided not to tell the man. The story is a unique blend of intimate and epic, personal and political. It’s a writer’s gift.”

The judges were Angela Bennie (The Sydney Morning Herald), Patricia Cornelius (playwright and winner of the 2006 Award), Katrina Douglas (director/dramaturg), Julian Meyrick (director) and Polly Rowe (Literary Manager, Sydney Theatre Company).

Extending congratulations to both winners, on behalf of the judges Polly Rowe said: “The Man in the Attic impressed us all by demonstrating authorial skill, dexterity and craftsmanship. It is a disturbing tale which juxtaposes the horror of humanity at its most ugly against the tragedy of humanity at its most vulnerable. Timothy Daly’s delicate use of language, form and stage imagery has shaped an elegant play that is at once deeply disturbing and overwhelmingly moving.

“Wretch grabbed hold of us, shook us up and left us devastated. Angus Cerini drags the audience into the lives of characters who share a cruel yet tender relationship in which resentment, blame and love co-exist. The playwright’s original style unearths the poeticism in fragmented and brutal language.”

The $20,000 Award, shared by the playwrights, is an initiative of STC and The Sydney Morning Herald established in 2000 in honour of Patrick White’s contribution to theatre and to foster the development of Australian playwrights. During the last seven years, 13 writers have been recipients, from over 1300 entries. Previous winners are: Patricia Cornelius (2006), Wesley Enoch (2005), Stephen Carleton (2004), David Milroy and Ningali Lawford (2003), Reg Cribb, Ian Wilding (2002), Brendan Cowell, Toby Schmitz, Jackie Smith (2001), Ben Ellis, Bette Guy, Ailsa Piper (2000).

A writer and performer, Angus Cerini is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts. As a writer, his work has been commissioned and/or produced by companies including Arena Theatre Company, Melbourne Workers Theatre, Playbox Theatre Company (now Malthouse), Union House Theatre, Platform Youth Theatre and in community contexts including by the University of Melbourne/Australian Research Council and Nillumbik Shire Council. He was co-winner of the St Martins Play Prize and shortlisted for the New York Dramatists Fellowship.

As a solo performer/creator Angus has produced works performed locally, nationally and internationally, including seasons at the Sydney Opera House, Victorian Arts Centre, Festival of the Southern Ocean, Shepparton Arts Festival and most recently at Battersea Arts Centre, London, Sophiensaele, Berlin and at the Belltable Theatre, Ireland. Writing and performing, his works have included Filch, Saving Henry (version 5), Puppy Love, detest (this thousand years I shall not weep), and most recently Chapters from the pandemic. Puppy Love will shortly be presented in juvenile detention centres in Victoria.

Timothy Daly is a playwright, teacher and dramaturg, with numerous national and international productions of his plays. These include Kafka Dances, Livingstone, Complicity, and The Private Visions of Gottfried Kellner, which won the 2000 Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE for Best Australian Play. His radio plays having been broadcast in seven countries. Until 2002 he was Dramaturg-in-residence at the Australian National Playwrights’ Centre and is in demand as a teacher of writing, having conducted numerous courses and workshops in Australia and overseas. His play Kafka Dances has become one of the most internationally-performed Australian plays of the last three decades. Its most recent performance was a sold-out season in Paris, in February-March, 2008.

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