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Now in it’s 21st year, the prestigious Griffin Award recognises an outstanding play or performance text that displays an authentic, inventive and contemporary Australian voice, with the winner receiving a $10,000 prize.

This year, 116 entries were received. The plays were read anonymously by a panel of artists charged with the unenviable task of whittling them down to a shortlist of just five. Each play was read at least twice, with any conflicting opinions resolved by a third reader. The shortlist is put before a judging panel of industry leaders who select the winner. 

The winner of this year’s award will be announced at a special event at Griffin on Sunday 3 June. At this event an excerpt of each of the five shortlisted plays will be read, before the winner is announced. This year’s finalists are:

Jane Bodie for Laura
Will O’Mahony for Minneapolis
Suzie Miller for On the Face of It
Vernon Sik Chuan Pua for Burung Kakak Tua
Kirk Dodd for The Tragicall Hiftorie of Woollarawarre Bennelong, Native Ambassador of Nova Hollandia

The Griffin Award is generously supported by Copyright Agency Limited. We hope to see you at this special event to celebrate new Australian playwriting.

Please note: the event is free to attend, however due to our small capacity registration is essential. 

Jane Bodie
Jane is an internationally renowned playwright and mentor. Her plays, including Savage, Music, Hinterland, This Years’ Ashes, A Single Act, Still, Ride and Fourplay have been performed worldwide, from London to New York to Brazil. She won the Victorian Premier Literary Award in 2006 for A Single Act and a Green Room Award in 2003 for Still. Jane has also written for TV and radio, including The Secret Life of Us, Crash Burn, Tashi and Moving Wallpaper, and for radio Seeing Somebody, In Glass for Radio National and Well for BBC Radio 4. Jane has worked as dramaturg on many standout Australian productions, including Katie Beckett’s Which Way Home and Michelle Lee’s Rice. She worked at The Royal Court Theatre in the UK, as a writing tutor, and was Head of Playwriting at NIDA from 2009 – 2012. She was Associate Artist at The Griffin Theatre in 2013 and Artistic Associate at Playwriting Australia in 2014. In 2014 she was awarded an Arts Victoria Fellowship to create three new plays. She is currently working on new plays for Red Stitch (with music by Mark Seymour) and for Black Swan Theatre Company, and on a screen adaptation of This Year’s Ashes.

Will O’Mahony
Will O’Mahony is an award-winning actor, writer and director based in Perth, Western Australia. Founder of the critically acclaimed independent theatre company The Skeletal System, Will has written seven plays – Great White, Coma Land, Marshmallow Men, Tonsils + Tweezers, Helium, The Mars Project and Minneapolis. Acting credits include Hir, Angels in America, Part One, Glengarry Glen Ross, Flood, Twelfth Night, Pool (no water) and The Dark Room – Black Swan State Theatre Company. Directing credits include Coma Land (BSSTC) Body Farm (Blue Room Theatre), Tonsils + Tweezers (BSSTC), The Mars Project (WAAPA), Great White (Blue Room Theatre), Punk Rock (WAAPA), The Boys (WAAPA) and Fire (WAYTCO). Will is about to begin rehearsing Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins for Black Swan State Theatre Company. Will’s 2018 Griffin Award finalist play Minneapolis was developed by Playwriting Australia through the National Script workshop and the National Play Festival 2018.

Suzie Miller
Suzie Miller is a multi-award winning playwright who lives and works between Australia and the UK. She has had over 40 works produced to critical acclaim in theatres and festivals around the world including Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth), UK, Ireland, Canada, London and New York. Other works include an opera libretto for Opera Qld (Snow White); film scripts and TV screenplays. Miller has been professionally in-residence or formally attached to various theatre companies including: Ex Machina Quebec with Robert Lepage (2012), National Theatre in London (2011 and 2009), National Theatre of Scotland (2013), Griffin Theatre Sydney (2012), Ransom Theatre in Ireland (2009), Theatre Gargantua Toronto (2013), and La Boite Theatre Brisbane (2016). Miller spent two years mentored by renowned American playwright Edward Albee. In 2018 The Mathematics of Longing will open in June at La Boite Theatre in Brisbane; Velvet Evening Séance is currently touring Scotland; and the Griffin Independent show Sunset Strip is about to embark upon a national tour. Amongst other awards, Miller has won: the 2008 National Kit Denton Fellowship for writing with courage; 2016 Winner of the WA Premier’s award for drama; AWGIE award in 2013; Best New Play – Irish Times 2012; New York Fringe Festival ‘Overall Excellence Award for Outstanding Playwriting’. She has received a prestigious Australia council fellowship and various grants to write for theatre and film. She is the 2018 creative fellow at University of Queensland.

Vernon Sik Chuan Pua
Vernon Sik Chuan Pua is a graduate of the Actor’s Pulse and the Writer’s Studio (NIDA). His short fiction has appeared in Washington Square Review (New York University). He was awarded the Sydney University Literature prize and was nominated for the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award. In 2017, he was a Patrick White Playwriting Award finalist for The River of Grace.

Kirk Dodd
Kirk originally trained as an actor on a scholarship at the Actor’s College of Theatre and Television and has worked as an actor in various television and stage formats for the last 20 years. He has written a number of short films, screenplays and plays and his first feature screenplay, a Film Noir Comedy called Shooting the Breeze, received development funding from the Australian Film Commission. In 2009, Kirk pursued a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and in 2017 completed a PhD in Creative Writing and Shakespeare Studies at the University of New South Wales. Kirk’s ‘Shakespearean’ play, The Tragicall Historie of Woollarawarre Bennelong, is informed by his PhD research into the rhetorical methods of composition used by William Shakespeare, and Kirk has engaged in cultural consultation as part of his decision to place Bennelong as the protagonist of this drama. Kirk is currently a Sessional Lecturer at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney, teaching courses on writing and Indigenous culture.


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