Kate Mulvany has been announced as the latest recipient of STC’s Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellowship at a special event at The Wharf on Friday 22 May. Now in its fifth year, the Fellowship is a position for an established playwright whose work has been produced professionally in Australia within the last four years. Mulvany receives $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: “I’m delighted that Kate Mulvany will be the Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellow for the next year. She is a writer who is respected by fellow writers and audiences alike. She has a remarkable nose for story, be it a deeply personal one, like The Seed, or an adaption of a cherished novel like Jasper Jones. Kate’s ability to dramatise tragic events with humour and empathy makes her a very special writer. We look forward to welcoming Kate to The Wharf!”

Angela Betzien, the outgoing Fellow, said: “I’m thrilled to vacate my fellowship seat for the tremendously talented Kate Mulvany. I hope she’ll be as inspired by this opportunity as I have been. The Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellowship is a unique and vital investment in Australian playwrights and plays.”

Also at the event, Debra Thomas was announced as the winner of the Patrick White Playwrights’ Award for her play, The Man’s Bitch. The evening culminated in a rehearsed reading of the play to a full house at STC as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival. The actors involved included Tina Bursill, Andrea Demetriades, Darren Gilshenan, Josh McConville, Ash Ricardo, Helen Thomson and Elizabeth Wymarra.

Of The Man’s Bitch, Andrew Upton said: “This exceptionally clever play satirises the rise and fall of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, in order to examine the treatment of women in public life. Making a respectful nod to Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls, the play highlights how little the world has changed for women since Churchill’s play was written in 1982. Meticulously plotted and sophisticated in its use of form, this is a play of both craft and inspiration. Like many of the plays that did well in the competition this year, The Man’s Bitch is fiercely political. It is heartening to know that political playwriting in Australia is as vibrant as it always has been.”

For the Award, 105 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, Debra Thomas receives $7,500 as well as the opportunity to work with STC Richard Wherrett Fellow, Paige Rattray, and actors for a rehearsed reading of the play. Verity Laughton received a commendation from the judging panel for her play What Has Been Taken.

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