2 June 2019
Now in its 22nd 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, 94 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 2 June at 4pm. 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:
Olivia Clement for Heart Soul Yoga Studio Beirut
Shannon Murdoch for Dog & Boy
Mark Rogers for Superheroes
Diane Stubbings for Night
Ryan Watson for The Fountain
The Griffin Award is generously supported by Copyright Agency Limited. The Griffin Award is a free event, but registration is essential, as we’re only little!
Olivia Clement is a French-Australian playwright who grew up in Sydney and currently lives in New York. Her plays include Dirt Magnet, Where’s the Exit? (Seymour Centre; Winner of the Sydney Theatre Company Young Playwrights Award), and A Thank You Left Unsaid (Red Line Productions at the Old Fitz; Sydney Fringe Festival). Her writing has been published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Sunday Life, Lenny Letter and Marie Claire. She used to volunteer behind the bar at Griffin.
Shannon Murdoch is the winner of the Yale Drama Series Award for her play New Light Shine, which was also selected for the National Play Festival. It is published by Yale University Press with a foreword written by John Guare. Virus Attacks Heart was produced at EAT New Works Festival NYC, Planet Connections Festival NYC and Venus Theatre Company in Maryland. It is published by Original Works. Dog & Boy was a finalist for the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award and the Patrick White Playwright Award from Sydney Theatre Company. break, or catch fire was also a finalist for the Patrick White Playwright Award. Other plays include One Cloud (Theatreworks, Melbourne), Everything in Between (Smith&Kraus, Best 10 Minute Plays) and Act Accordingly (JAC Publishing). Shannon holds a first class honours degree in Theatre and Creative Writing from Griffith University and is a graduate of The Playwrights Studio at NIDA. An Australian delegate to the International Youth Playwrights Festival (Interplay), she has received writing fellowships from the Australia Council for the Arts, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in California, Victoria Writers Centre and Hothouse Theatre.
Mark Rogers is a playwright and theatremaker living in the Illawarra. He holds a PHD from the University of Wollongong, where he lectures in theatre and performance. His previous work as a playwright includes: The Pecking Order (Shopfront Arts Co-Op, Commission), Tom William Mitchell (Merrigong-X), Plastic (Old 505 Theatre), We’ll Become Good People, You’ll See (Crack Theatre Festival), Target Audience (Novelty UK), The Buck (Rock Surfers, Bondi Feast), Soothsayers (Brisbane Festival: Under The Radar), Blood Pressure (Tamarama Rock Surfers, Red Line Productions at the Old Fitz) and Gobbledygook (PACT, AC Arts Adelaide). He is a founding member of the performance collective Applespiel. Mark also runs Merrigong Theatre’s Playwrights’ Program—a new initiative providing long-term mentorship to local writers. His play Blood Pressure is published by PlayLab. He is a proud member of the NTEU.
Diane Stubbings is a writer and reviewer. Her plays include: Solas (VCA), The Parricide (La Mama), Entangled (New Plot/107 Projects), Void, The Annotations, and Willowdene. Her work has been shortlisted for the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award, and longlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award and the Theatre 503 (UK) Playwriting Award. Diane has a Masters degree in writing for performance, and is currently undertaking practice-based postgraduate research at the Victorian College of the Arts.
Hailing from Perth, Ryan Watson was first introduced to the art of playwriting through part-time courses at Griffin Theatre Company (2011) and the craft of directing at NIDA. He was accepted into the playwrights’ group at The Royal Court and has completed a Master’s degree in directing, with distinction, at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. He has written many short plays that have been staged in various theatres around the world, and has directed productions of new work in both London and Australia. Highlights include: as Director: Monster Songs, Mountview at the V&A; and as Playwright: The Other Palace, Trump Talk Trademarked (Theatre 503); and as Director and Playwright: Get Me to the Stage on Time (Short+Sweet).