Leading Indigenous playwright's award now accepting entries

Belvoir is now accepting entries for the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award. The award is open to all writers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander decent.
‘This is a prestigious award,’ said judge Wesley Enoch, Artistic Director of the Queensland Theatre Company. ‘It is significant because the award commits to creating the opportunity for playwrights to work with actors in a theatrical setting.
‘The award is an act of generosity on behalf of The Balnaves Foundation, which is so important as Indigenous storytelling often doesn’t fit into the structures of funding models.’
2014 is the third year this award has been offered. In the past two years the award has recognised playwrights Jada Alberts and Nakkiah Lui, but also inspired many Indigenous artists to dream up new plays.
At the time of winning the 2013 Award, Jada Alberts said ‘Not more than a year ago I was midway through writing the first draft of my first play, and knowing that this award had come into existence gave me inspiration and assurance that playwriting can be a practical and serious career choice.’
2012 winner, Nakkiah Lui, said: ‘Telling and sharing our stories empowers our communities and supporting new work and new voices is vital. That is why this award is such an important and innovative step for Indigenous playwrights and Indigenous theatre.'
The Balnaves Foundation is committed to working towards reconciliation and they support numerous Indigenous arts projects including Corroboree Festival and Black Diggers for Sydney Festival. Since 2011 The Balnaves Foundation supported the presentation of two Indigenous works as per year as part of Belvoir’s annual season. To further their commitment to the telling of Indigenous stories through theatre, the Foundation has committed $20,000 per year to this annual award for an Indigenous playwright.
‘Most non-Indigenous Australians are largely sheltered from the lives of Indigenous Australians,’ said Hamish Balnaves. ‘For many, they only see news reports of the Indigenous community’s interactions with police and justice, and motherhood statement from governments. This award is about creating the opportunity for Indigenous playwrights to tell their own stories directly to an audience that needs to hear the unfiltered reality of Indigenous experiences.’    
The award comprises a $7,500 cash prize and a $12,500 commission to write a new play with the support of Belvoir.        
Entries close on Friday 28 March with the winner announced in May during National Reconciliation Week.
Wesley Enoch is joined on the judging panel by the Artistic Director of ILBIJERRI Theatre Company, Rachael Maza, Belvoir’s Eamon Flack and Anthea Williams and last year’s winner Jada Alberts.
The guidelines available on the Belvoir website»


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