Nakkiah LuiLeft – Nakkiah Lui. Photo – Prudence Upton

Sydney Theatre Company announced last night that Nakkiah Lui is the 2018 STC Patrick White Playwrights Fellow. It was also announced that this year’s Patrick White Playwrights Award recipient is Mark Rogers for his play Superheroes, which was presented as a rehearsed reading to a sell-out audience at the Richard Wherett Studio in the Roslyn Packer Theatre.

Nakkiah Lui is a Gamillaroi/Torres Strait Islander woman, a young leader in the Australian Aboriginal community, and a multi award-winning writer and actor in TV shows such as ABC’s Black Comedy and Kiki & Kitty. She has appeared on Q&A and The Drum, is a regular guest on Screen Time, and co-hosts the BuzzFeed podcast series Pretty For An Aboriginal. In 2018, Nakkiah won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award - Nick Enright Prize for her play Black is the New White.

Nakkiah Lui is well known to STC audience with three of her plays Black is the New White, Blackie Blackie Brown and How to Rule the World being staged in the last three years.

Now in its eighth year, the $25,000 Fellowship is awarded annually to an established playwright in recognition of their excellent body of work and achievements. As well as including a commission from STC, which each Fellow develops during their year-long engagement, the tenure provides opportunities for the playwright to share their skills with other playwrights and artists including the STC Emerging Writer’s Group. Previous STC Patrick White Fellows are Sue Smith, Andrew Bovell, Tommy Murphy, Kate Mulvany, Angela Betzien, Hilary Bell, Patricia Cornelius and Raimondo Cortese.

111 scripts were submitted anonymously for the 2018 Patrick White Playwrights Award, a prize of $7500 for an original, unproduced play, with Mark Rogers play Superheroes most impressing the judges. Told through interspersed monologues that come together in a simple and beautiful collision, this play tells the stories of two women on opposite sides of the world. Written with great control, this elegant play is both global and domestic in its reach. It demonstrates impressive craft in the way that it deals with complex themes and ideas in a deceptively simple way. “We are delighted to award this year’s prize to this accomplished piece of writing,” STC’s Literary Manager Polly Rowe said.

Mark Rogers is a playwright and theatre-maker living in the Illawarra. He holds a PhD from the University of Wollongong, where he lectures in theatre and performance. Superheoroes received a rehearsed reading directed by STC Richard Wherrett Fellow Shari Sebbens, and performed by Aleks Mikic, Teresa Moore and Adele Perovic.

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