Bellamy beats them all: 25 year old wins 2011 Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award

Sprout - Production ShotLast night, 25 year old Jessica Bellamy’s new play Sprout was awarded 2011 Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award.

The $20,000 award for the development of a play (or other approved performing arts project) attracted 72 submissions from across Australia, but Bellamy’s work which recently premiered at the Old Fitzroy Theatre, Sydney pipped the others at the post.

The decision was a difficult one, said Chairman of the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Trust, Gaz Simpson, explaining that two works were in close contention for the prize.

“The judges were also impressed by Justin Fleming’s screenplay Burnt Piano, which has already attracted widespread praise from critics and others in the film industry. While our principal award for 2011 will go to assist Sprout, the Trustees would like to explore with Justin the possibility of providing some limited assistance to develop a further draft of Burnt Piano and facilitate a workshop reading with actors and the film’s director.”

Jessica Bellamy, a graduate of UNSW (Bachelor of Arts, Hons) and the NIDA Graduate Diploma in Playwriting, was unable to attend the Award Ceremony however her Producer, Jacqueline Lucey said on her behalf:

“Apologies to all for being out of Sydney and unable to attend the event. It is such an honour and delight to be nominated for and to win this award. In developing this play with Director and Dramaturg, Gin Savage, we quickly established the premise of the story we wanted to tell. No matter what the future looks like – no matter what circumstances human beings find themselves in – we will still find a way of creating beauty, love, art and joy. Life will always crack through, like a sprout growing through a crack in the pavement.”

Sprout – a new Australian play is a love story set in Australia near the end of the world, which asks its audience to consider what sort of links bind us in a world that is falling apart.

See’s review of the World Premiere season here: Sprout Review

Bellamy is a Griffin Playwriting Australia Associate Playwright for 2011-12, and has been commissioned to write for the ACT Department of Education, has has tutored playwriting for ‘Workshops in the Arts for People with a Disability’ through Riverside Theatres, as well as having works performed in Melbourne, Byron Bay, and Sydney.

The final words in Bellamy’s absentee speech were filled with gratitude and hope: “Thank you for this wonderful award and for enabling us to share this idea and this play with a wider audience, by touring it to Melbourne”.

The announcement was made at the Seaborn Broughton and Walford Foundation (SBW) Christmas Party by Gaz Simpson, Chairman of the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Trust.

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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