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2016 Flinders University Young Playwrights Award Winners Announced

Peter Beaglehole and James Watson are the 2016 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 16th year.

The Award consists of two categories – the Junior Award and the Senior Award. This year’s Junior Award winner is Year 12 St Ignatius College student James Watson, who received $500 cash prize; a four-play State Theatre Company subscription; and a development session under the guidance of Resident Director Nescha Jelk and mentoring playwright, Phillip Kavanagh.

His play, Empty Vanity tells the story of Iggy, who returns home to his sister after a long absence. He kills a prostitute before moving onto others. By the end of the play we are left  questioning the line between reality and delusion. James said, ”I was encouraged to write this play and enter due to being shortlisted last year for A Domestic Autumn. I hope to gain experience and improve my writing to one day be a professional playwright.”

The Senior Award winner is Peter Beaglehole whose play Strata tells the story of a party, washed up on the beach without the guests. We find Robyn searching for her brother Brody, and husband Phil. Strata peels back layers of this trios’ shared history to see how the give and take between them brews into a storm of distrust and fear. Though they’re not afraid of their differences, they’re afraid that they’re exactly the same. Strata is driven by the question of how our relationships change when we feel our resources shrinking. How can we give and forgive when those close to us are seen as competitors?

Peter Beaglehole is an emerging playwright. In 2015 he and Back Porch Theatre were awarded a Carclew Project and Development Grant to work on his play Milk-teeth. In 2014 he was mentored by Nicki Bloom as part of ATYPs Fresh Ink program, and his play May Day was shortlisted for the Young Playwrights Award.

Peter has worked as an assistant tutor for Urban Myth Theatre Company and as dramturg on Pericles. He has read short fiction and personal essays with The Hearth and Speakeasy, and published micro-fiction in Dubnium, Flinders Indaily and Antipodean SF. Prior to this he appeared regularly on the Adelaide comedy circuit, and wrote and performed in the Adelaide Fringe as a comedian and musician in Taking the Piss, Adelaide Comedy Next Gen and Amuse Bouche. Peter also researches the history of Australian drama, with a specific focus on the productions of Dorothy Hewett’s plays.

As the senior young Playwrights Award winner, Peter received $1000 cash prize; a 4-play subscription; script development with mentoring playwright, Phillip Kavanagh; and rehearsals with Resident Director Nescha Jelk and cast, culminating in a public reading of his work by actors Claire Glenn, Shedrick Yarkpai and Dale March in the Dunstan Playhouse.