2016 Balnaves Indigenous Playwright’s Award now open

Belvoir Theatre is now accepting entries for their fifth annual Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award. The award is open to all writers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent.

Katie Beckett accepts the 2015 Balnaves Award. Image: Patrick Boland.
Katie Beckett accepts the 2015 Balnaves Award. Image: Patrick Boland.

Since 2011, the Balnaves Foundation has supported the presentation of two Indigenous-led works per year as part of Belvoir’s annual season. Furthering their commitment to the telling of Indigenous stories through theatre, the Foundation has committed $20,000 per year to this annual award for an Indigenous playwright. The 2016 award is comprised of a $7,500 cash prize and a $12,500 commission to write a new play with the support of Belvoir.

As noted at an award ceremony by previous judge and Artistic Director of Sydney Festival, Wesley Enoch, Indigenous storytelling does not always fit the structures of funding models by government organisations, which makes this specifically designed award even more important to the future of Indigenous artists.

“Our aim with The Balnaves Award is not just to encourage and support Indigenous playwrights in their writing, but to see their story and vision through to production. This is why we fund both the award and the production of Indigenous-led work at Belvoir,” says Hamish Belnaves, General Manager of the Balnaves Foundation.

“We have uncovered some extraordinary talent through this award. In Belvoir’s 2016 Season the first Balnaves Award commission to be completed will have its world premiere. We cannot wait to see what the formidable Leah Purcell has done with her adaption of Henry Lawson’s The Drovers Wife, and even better, she’s playing the title role.”

The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award is open to both experienced and aspiring writers of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, with the award to be presented in June.

Full application details for the Belnaves Award are available at this link.

Maddi Ostapiw

Maddi is a performer who has been too scared to stand in the spotlight for the last few years, so she channels her need for love and appreciation into writing about the theatre instead. An energetic consumer of musical theatre, she is currently earning a degree in journalism and teaches voice in her small hometown. Maddi is normally covered in cat fur, has an opinion on everything, and in the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda, is not throwing away her shot.

Maddi Ostapiw

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