One of the things that might surprise you about Sydney is how many local playwrights we have. You might be familiar with our independent theatres (there are a multitude just in my local area of Kings Cross, and even more in the city and inner west) and if you're smart you may have seen amazing thinking works by Sydney playwrights Paul Gilchrist, James Balien, Wayne Tunks, Daniela Giorgi and more. And now you might like to add Joanna Erskine to that list, as on Monday night she won the Silver Gull Play Award for her second time.
Now in its 5th year, the Silver Gull Play Award recognizes an outstanding play by a local writer that explores philosophical or political themes. One of the judges, Daniela Giorgi said "We’re interested in other people, in the exploration of local and global issues, in our responsibilities in the world, and in the right to live our lives with dignity." Her full discourse of discovery is here.
While the judges - Nick Atkins, Joy Minter, Helen Tonkin, Daniela Giorgi, Paul Gilchrist - read all the entries as complete plays, we witnessed excerpt readings from the five 2019 shortlisted finalists at the award presentation on Monday night. From the shortlisted plays (drumroll please) Field of Vision by Joanna Erskine was announced the winner in a more than packed house at Old 505 Theatre Newtown. Joanna Erskine, as the winning playwright, receives $3000 - and each of the other shortlisted playwrights - I Damo by Pauline Bleach for I Damo, James Elazzi for Son of Byblos, Deborah Mulhall for Breathless and Kel Vance for The Deal - receive $500 each. Congratulations to all and we look forward to seeing all of your thoughtful works in production.
Previous winners of the Silver Gull Play Award
2015 TickTickBoom by Melissa Lee Speyer
2016 People Will Think You Don’t Love Me by Joanna Erskine
2017 For Unknown Reasons by Zoe Cooper
2018 Lions and Tigers and Bears by Phillip James Rouse