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Announcement: 2016 Jill Blewett Playwright’s Award Winners

State Theatre Company and Arts South Australia on Saturday announced that South Australian playwrights Duncan Graham and Fleur Kilpatrick are the joint winners of the 2016 Jill Blewett Playwright’s Award, a major South Australian award which recognises excellence in writing for the stage.

Named in honour of the late Jill Blewett’s enormous contribution to theatre in Adelaide, the Award is made biennially as part of the Festival Literature Awards. In 2016, Duncan Graham has been recognised for his play Cut and Fleur Kilpatrick has been recognised for her play Blessed.

The joint winners will each receive a play commission of $12,500 and will also receive a creative development of their new plays at State Theatre Company. The Company’s Artistic Director Geordie Brookman will work closely with both playwrights in developing the concepts for the commissions and then oversee the creative development of the resulting plays.

Duncan Graham is an actor, writer and co-founding member of Floogle, an award-winning independent theatre company whose work has played in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. Duncan received the 2008 Jill Blewett Playwright’s Award and Adelaide Fringe Award for Most Original Work. As a writer his work includes Black Crow Lullabies, one long night in the land of Nod, Ollie and the Minotaur, Love Play, cut, No Exit from the Roof and Half Real.

Fleur Kilpatrick was 17 when she was the co-winner of the State Theatre Company’s Young Playwrights Award. She has since completed a theatre degree at Monash University, studied directing and completed a Masters of Performance Writing at Victorian College of the Arts. Her most recently performed play, Insomnia Cat Came to Stay, was nominated for Best Theatre 2013, Perth Fringe. In 2014 Fleur completed a dramaturgy internship with Melbourne Theatre Company and received Best Emerging Writer, Melbourne Fringe for The City That Burned.

2014’s winner was Phillip Kavanagh for Replay, a dark comedy exploring memory, family history and sacrifice. With a career nurtured by State Theatre Company, Phillip’s latest play Deluge premieres as part of the Adelaide Festival on March 8th. The first Award was made in 1992 and past winners include Nicki Bloom (2012), Andrew Bovell (2000), Hilary Bell (1998) and Daniel Keene (1996).

One of the country’s richest playwriting awards, the Award was created in memory of former State Theatre Company Chair, Jill Blewett after her tragic death in 1988 and was initially funded by donations. The award is now jointly funded by Arts South Australia and State Theatre Company, and was substantially increased in value in 2014.  Additional funds have been secured to make two awards in 2016.

State Theatre Company has initiated a major fundraising campaign to create an endowment fund of $100,000 in order that the Company’s contribution to the Award can be met in perpetuity from investment earnings, leaving the principal intact. Over $80,000 of the target has now been raised and the campaign will continue until the target is reached.