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Flinders University Young Playwrights' Award

State Theatre Company South Australia’s major award for the encouragement and support of new writing talent enters its 21st year in 2021. The Flinders University Young Playwrights’ Award provides an opportunity for new and emerging young writers to introduce their voice and perspective to theatre professionals.

We award entries in the following categories:

Junior Award (ages 13-17) – The winner will receive a $500 cash prize, a double subscription to our 2022 Season and a script development session under the guidance of a theatre professional.

Senior Award (ages 18-25) – The winner will receive a $1000 cash prize, a double subscription to our 2022 Season, script development and dramaturgy workshops under the guidance of a theatre professional director, and a public reading of their work. Please note: script development and public reading prizes may be offered virtually or in-person depending on COVID-19 restrictions and personal needs.

Need some tips to help get you started? Visit our Playwriting Resources page.

Submissions are now closed for the 2021 Award.

If you have any questions please email education@statetheatrecompany.com.au.

Flinders University Young Playwrights' Award by Year

  • Modified by Ren Williams

    Ren Williams’ Modified is based on her experiences as a young woman grappling with the system she has grown up in. Set over the course of one life-changing night, besties Rain and Helix are forced to confront themselves, their friendship and… the patriarchy.

    About the playwright:

    Recent 2020 Honours Graduate at the Flinders University Drama Centre; Ren
    Williams (she/her) is an Actor, Writer, Director and Film-maker creating work on
    Kaurna Yerta.Ren’s film-making has won multiple awards over the last four years at the Adelaide 48 Hour Film Project; her 2018 film ‘Andii’ winning Best Film, taking it to Filmapalooza in Orlando Florida. This has led to Ren co-founding her new film
    company ‘Error Squared Productions’ which has recently released their 2021 film
    ‘INGÉNUE’, winning her the title of this years Best Actress at the 48HFP.

    In August, Ren is looking forward to working with Under the Microscope with their
    interactive theatre development of ‘Guthrak’ and with Kinetik Collective’s
    development for ‘Kill Climate Deniers’ by David Finnigan, which will be shown later
    in 2022.

    Making her Stage Directing debut in November 2021, Ren is thrilled to be directing
    Deadset Theatre Company’s production of Lachlan Philpott’s ‘Truck Stop’.
    Ren is a proud member of MEAA and RUMPUS.

  • Junior Category:

    Winner: Chi Runs by William Harris
    Commendation Award: Beach Wood Café by Mackenzie Richardson
    Special Mention: Piled Questions by Amelia Cartwright.

    Senior Category:

    Winner: Coldhands by Dora Abraham
    Commendation Award: River Road by Nicholas Duddy
    Merit Awards: We Need to Talk about Julia by Aarod Vawser and Touch by Ren Williams

    A staged reading of the senior category winning play and a presentation of the awards was held on Monday 12 October, 2020, at the Flinders University Drama Centre.

  • Senior Category (ages 18-25)
    Award Winner: Zachary Sheridan (The Dead)
    High Commendation: Dora Abraham (Race of Giants)
    Merits: Nick Duddy (We Three, The Sea) & Jamila Main (How To Eat Rabbit)

    Junior Category (high school students)
    Award Winner: Laneikka Denne (Dead Skin)

    A staged reading of the senior category winning play and a presentation of the awards was held on Monday 22 July, 2019, at the Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre.

    2019 winners received:

    Junior Award (high school students)

    • $500 cash prize
    • 8 Play Subscription to our 2020 season
    • A script development session under the guidance of a professional director and mentoring playwright

    Senior Award (ages 18 – 25)

    • $1000 cash prize
    • 8 Play Subscription to our 2020 season
    • Script development and dramaturgy workshops under the guidance of a professional director and mentoring playwright
    • A public reading of their work
  • The 2018 Senior award winner was Jamie Hornsby, whose psychological thriller Ascend was inspired by his extensive research of cults, and the notion of living in a ‘post-truth’ world.

    Currently an Honours student specialising in Playwriting at UniSA, Jamie is also an actor, director and musician.

    His play because there was fire, commissioned by Jopuka Productions, won Best New Work at the 2018 Newcastle Fringe awards and will tour nationally this year.

    Three of his short plays have appeared in Jopuka Productions’ Whatever Theatre Festival, and he has been commissioned to write an ambitious piece of youth theatre, Transcendence.

    Jamie is a graduate of the Adelaide College of the Arts and in his time there served as the head writer on the devised theatre piece, Canto. As an actor, he has toured South Australia with Waxing Lyrical Productions’ Romeo and Juliet and toured Disneyland, California with Adelaide Youth Theatre. His music also appeared in Adelaide University Theatre Guild’s Much Ado About Nothing.

    Zoe Muller won the award in the 2018 junior category for her work Rattling the Keys and has been working on the script under the guidance of director Corey McMahon.

    Fascinated by the small towns of rural South Australia, Zoe was inspired to write a story that would connect with young adults and focus on a prominent issue within that community. In this play, Zoe explores the issue of methamphetamine addiction through the lens of teenagers living in Coober Pedy.

    The high school student, who says the award has inspired her to keep writing, wrote a stage adaptation of Puberty Blues in 2017 and made her directing debut at the Adelaide Fringe. She is also the co-creator of Deadset Theatre Company, which aims to produce shows for young audiences.

    Find out more about the 2018 winners here.

  • Jack Cummins won the award in the 2017 Junior Category for his work Clanstow, which he has begun developing further with his acting school Actors Ink for a performance at the 2018 Adelaide Fringe. The Year 11 St Ignatius student was inspired to submit for the competition after completing the 2016 State Theatre Company work experience program.

    The 2017 Senior Award winner was 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 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. The emerging Adelaide writer developed a seven-minute monologue, Changing Room, which was later 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.

    As winners of the Flinders Young Playwrights Award Jack and CJ were awarded script development with Dramaturg and Director Sarah Dunn, with CJ’s development culminating in a public reading at the Dunstan Playhouse with actors Annabel Matheson and Matilda Bailey.

    2016 Flinders Young Playwrights Awards

    Senior Winner: Peter Beaglehole – Strata

    Junior Winner: James Watson – Empty Vanity


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Student Achievement Awards

State Theatre Company’s Student Achievement Awards recognise eight graduating Year 12 students who have demonstrated commitment and passion throughout their high school drama education. Nominations are assessed on the basis of willingness to learn, dedication to the subject and extracurricular commitment, regardless of grades. Winners receive a State Theatre Company 4-Play Subscription.

Nominations close 30 November, 2020. Complete the form below to nominate a student.

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