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CJ McLean and Jack Cummins are the 2017 winners of the Flinders University Young Playwrights Award, State Theatre Company’s major award for the encouragement and support of new writing talent, now in its 17th year.

The Award consists of two categories – the Junior Award and the Senior Award. This year’s Junior Award winner is Year 11 St Ignatius College student Jack Cummins, who received $500 cash prize; a 4-play State Theatre Company subscription; and a development session under the guidance of Director and Dramaturg Sarah Dunn.

Jack was inspired to submit his play Clanstow for the Young Playwright’s Award after completing the State Theatre Company’s work experience program in 2016. Jack intends to use the feedback from the mentoring opportunity that Flinders University Young Playwright Award winners receive to develop his work with his acting school Actors Ink for a performance at the 2018 Adelaide Fringe.

The Senior Award winner is CJ McLean whose play The River explores the relationship between love, hatred and jealousy, and the poisonous effect of this mix on life decisions.

CJ McLean is an emerging Adelaide writer. His fiction and poetry has appeared in InDaily and Vaein Zine, and he has read and performed at Speakeasy and The Hearth.

In 2015, CJ was mentored by Adelaide-based playwright Nicki Bloom in the Australian Theatre for Young People’s (ATYP) Fresh Ink Mentoring Program. He developed a seven-minute monologue, Changing Room, at ATYP’s National Studio, which was later selected for The Voices Project 2016. Changing Room was reworked and broadcast on ABC Radio National’s Pocketdocs program in late 2016, and published by Currency Press in an anthology of the same name.

In 2017, CJ mounted his first one-man cabaret show for the Adelaide Fringe, Love & Anger, which explored themes of lost love and self-identity.

CJ completed his Honours in Creative Arts (Creative Writing) at Flinders University in 2015. During his degree, he also attended Oxford University’s Creative Writing Summer School, and travelled to Guangzhou, China as part of the AsiaBound project to mentor creative writing students at Sun Yat-sen University.

In 2015, CJ was nominated in the Express Media Awards for Best Piece Published in Buzzcuts, and he has received two Commendations from the State Theatre Company in the Young Playwrights Award.

As the senior young Playwrights Award winner, CJ received $1000 cash prize; a 4-play subscription; script development with Dramaturg and Director Sarah Dunn and cast, culminating in a public reading of his work by actors Annabel Matheson and Matilda Bailey in the Dunstan Playhouse this evening.

2017 Commendations Junior Category:

Caitlin Howie – Unexpected Life

Abby Smith – House

2017 Commendations Senior Category:

Matthew Cropley – Linger

Brandon Scane – Phoenix

Entries for Flinders University Young Playwright’s Award 2018

Serious about writing for the stage and consider yourself a budding Shakespeare, Beckett, Young Jean Lee or Joanna Murray-Smith? Get cracking on your entry for the 2018 Flinders University Young Playwright Award… its never too early!

Entries are accepted the following categories:

Junior Award (High School Students)

  • $500 cash prize
  • 4 Play Subscription to our 2017 season (valued at $112)
  • A script development session under the guidance of a professional director and mentoring playwright.

Senior Awards (Age 18 – 25):

  • $1000 cash prize
  • 4 Play Subscription to our 2017 season (valued at $112)
  • A script development session under the guidance of a professional director and mentoring playwright.
  • A public reading of their work

Entries will open in early 2018. Check back for important dates and information.

Click here for full terms and conditions.


2016 Flinders Young Playwright Awards

Senior Winner : Peter Beaglehole – Strata

Junior Winner: James Watson – Empty Vanity