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Young Playwright Winners Announced

MEDIA RELEASE 10 June 2003


Eight young playwrights have been singled out in the Seventh New Zealand Young Playwrights Competition, an event that has established itself as an important stepping stone in the development of new writers for our theatre. Organised by script development agency Playmarket, the competition (open to those aged between 16 and 22) this year has recognised three winners and three runners-up:

Northern Region
Winner: Benjamin Cleaver (Auckland) - Bus Stop
Runner-Up: Rochelle Bright (Auckland)- A Long Walk in the Rain

Central Region
Winner: Daniel Musgrove (Welllington) - About Time to Blind Jack Hunter
Runner-Up: Claire Van Beek (Wellington) - Yours For the Taking

Southern Region
Winner: Lisa Norriss (Christchurch) - The Glockenspiel Dockyards
Runner-Up: Sarah Robertson (Christchurch) - Portrait

These writers will be teamed up with professional directors and dramaturgs and casts for a week of workshops and professional development in Dunedin from Monday June 30 to Friday July 4. The plays will receive presentations at Allen Hall Theatre during the day on the Friday. This year's competition is run in association with the Theatre Studies Department at Allen Hall Theatre, Otago University with further support from Aoraki Polytechnic.

The judges and Playmarket also awarded Highly Commended to two scripts they considered of distinction: Miria George (Wellington) with Oho Ake/The Awakening and Thomas Sainsbury (Auckland) with Epidemic. The judges were Christchurch dramaturg and director Elizabeth O'Connor and Paekakariki playwright Sarah Delahunty, with Playmarket's Mark Amery facilitating.

And what are our young playwrights writing about? The scripts to be presented in Dunedin feature an absurdist take on life on your local bus, the fantastical games of an elderly couple, the strange world of a young blind man, an encounter between a Vietnam vet and an angel, the story of a middle class Christchurch family, and three sisters' quest for love.

"The entries for this year's competition proved there are plenty of young writers in New Zealand who aren't afraid of tackling either the real, dark dangers inherent in ordinary life or the absurdist and fantastical possibilities that writing for the stage can achieve," says Playmarket Script Development Manager Mark Amery. "This competition suggests that the future of New Zealand playwriting is in really interesting hands."

For further information on the results or the presentations in Dunedin contact Mark Amery at Playmarket ph. 04 382 8462 or email

Mark Amery

Script Development Manager, Playmarket

New Zealand's playscript advisory service and playwrights' agency

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