Winners of Patrick White Playwrights' Award and Fellowship announced

Angela Betzien has been announced as the latest recipient of STC’s Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellowship at a special event at The Wharf on Friday 23 May. Now in its fourth year, the Fellowship is a position for an established playwright whose work has been produced professionally in Australia within the last four years. Angela received $25,000 in recognition of her body of work and previous artistic achievements. As well as including a commission from STC which she will develop during the year-long tenure, the Fellowship provides opportunities for her to share her skills with other playwrights and artists.

STC Artistic Director, Andrew Upton said: “Angela Betzien is an enormously talented playwright who has been making a great career crafting work of a consistently high standard. Politically and socially engaged, her plays are invariably courageous in terms of both the ideas they explore and the forms in which they do so. We hope that this year long Fellowship will make for a great collaboration with the Company and we look forward to working with her.”

Hilary Bell, the outgoing Fellow, said: “I’m delighted to pass on the baton to a writer as wonderful and deserving as Angela. Kudos to STC for demonstrating, through the Patrick White Fellowship, their belief in living playwrights and local stories. The inclusion of a commission for a new play is a commitment reaching beyond the year’s tenure and into the future. It’s been a stimulating time for me of new ideas, projects and professional relationships.”

Also at the event, Chris Summers was announced as the winner of the Patrick White Playwrights’ Award for his play, King Artur. The evening culminated in a rehearsed reading of the play to a full house at STC as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Of King Artur, Andrew Upton said: “This is a play about a man nearing the end of his life, looking for one last adventure. When Artur, a retired film maker, is presented with the opportunity to revisit his former glories and direct a sequel to a cult film he made in his youth, he seizes it regardless of the potential personal cost. It’s a vast, sprawling story that travels from Kiev to Sydney and from the 1940s to the present. Full of colour, texture, humour and tragedy, King Artur asks intelligent questions about art; why we make it and who for. It is an enormously entertaining work that skilfully integrates cinematic elements into a theatrical form. The judges and I extend our congratulations to the playwright, Chris Summers, on his success in the competition.”

For the Award, 119 scripts were anonymously submitted to readers and judges, who aim to acknowledge a playwright whose play is ambitious, demonstrates skilful application of craft and reveals great potential for a stage production. As the winner, Chris Summers receives $7,500 as well as the opportunity to work with STC Co Resident Director, Kip Williams and actors for a rehearsed reading of the play.

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