Submissions Open – Richard Burton Award for New Plays


Submissions for one of Australia’s richest playwriting prizes is now open.

The second annual Richard Burton Award for New Plays, created by Sally Burton and her company Onward Production in association with Black Swan State Theatre Company, is now accepting submissions. Entries close in six months, on Friday, 1 July 2011, and winners will be announced at Black Swan’s 2012 season launch in October 2011. With a prize pool of $30,000, the Richard Burton Award for New Plays is one of the richest in Australia.

The Richard Burton Award for New Plays was established to celebrate the career of Richard Burton, one of the great actors of stage and screen, and to encourage great storytellers from all over Australia to develop new work. The competition is open to full length, unproduced plays which have been written in the 12 months leading up to the closing date of the Award. Plays that have been commissioned by a company are not eligible for the Award, and entrants must be at least 21 years of age by the closing date.

Each year, Onward Production in association with Black Swan State Theatre Company will appoint a judging panel chaired by Sally Burton. Black Swan State Theatre Company will stage a reading of the successful work, and Onward Production and Black Swan State Theatre Company will have the first exclusive rights to produce the play for 12 months from the Award being announced.

In 2010, Caleb Lewis won the inaugural Richard Burton Award for New Plays and received $20,000 for his play Clinchfield. Runner up Hellie Turner received $10,000 for her play The Time of Texas Wall. Black Swan is staging a reading of Clinchfield in March 2011.

Sally Burton said, “Richard was passionate about good writing and believed in developing new talent. I enjoyed reading the submitted plays for the Award in 2010 and I was delighted with the quality of plays and the success of the Award. I hope that the new works this year and in the many years to come will be just as promising.”

Kate Cherry, Black Swan State Theatre Company’s Artistic Director said, “I am so pleased that Black Swan and Sally Burton have this ongoing initiative to further talented playwrights. Black Swan has always  been committed to fostering new and emerging creative talent, and the Richard Burton Award for New Plays is supporting the development of new work that will be seen not only in Perth, but on stages across Australia. With 100 submissions in 2010, the Award is a definite success and I hope we will see even more submissions for 2011.”

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