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Bruce Mason Playwright Award Winner at Capital E

5 February 2008

Bruce Mason Playwright Award Winner at Capital E

Standing between the minions of the Boogeyman and his victims are toys; righteous defenders of innocence.

Playmarket and Capital E National Theatre for Children present a playreading of Albert Belz’s new commissioned work, Guardians of Boy, during the upcoming Fringe Festival.

Commissioned as part of Belz winning the 2007 Bruce Mason Playwright Award, Guardians of Boy will receive a staged reading. This will be followed by feedback session to assist the writer in further development of this script, Director Kerryn Palmer will facilitate this session which will be open to the public.

The Bruce Mason Award has been previously won by some of New Zealand’s favourite Playwright’s; Toa Fraser, Fiona Farrell, David Geary and Briar Grace-Smith.

Albert Belz’s is also premiering his new work Te Karakia at the International Festival of the Arts opening on February 27 at Downstage Theatre.

Guardians of Boy By Albert Belz
Fringe 08,
Capital E, Friday 27 February, 11.30am. Koha.
There are limited tickets to this special theatre event – door sales only.

The Bruce Mason Award and this playreading are supported by: Playmarket, Capital E National Theatre for Children, The FAME Trust and Downstage Theatre Society.

2006 Media Release announcing Bruce Mason Award Winner
Auckland playwright Albert Belz is the winner of New Zealand's most significant national theatre award. Belz has won the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award, it was announced at a function on Saturday night evening at Wellington's Downstage Theatre.

This prestigious annual award has existed since 1983 and recognises the work of an outstanding emerging New Zealand playwright. Such a playwright has had one or more full-length plays produced to critical and audience acclaim. Previous winners include many of this countries most celebrated writers, including Briar Grace Smith, David Geary and Toa Fraser. The award is sponsored by the International Arts Foundation of New Zealand, Downstage Theatre Society and Playmarket.

For the first time this year the award has been judged by a panel of leading directors and dramaturgs, and now includes a full-length play commission for the winning playwright.

Born in Whakatane and of Ngati Porou, Ngapuhi and Ngati Pokai descent, Belz's third full-length play Yours Truly recently premiered in Wellington to critical acclaim. It was announced last week that the play has garnered an enormous nine nominations at this year's Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards, including Best New New Zealand Play. The story choice was bold - a love story set in Victoria England focused around artist Walter Sickert, prostitutes, royalty and the story of Jack the Ripper.

His second work for the stage, Awhi Tapu brought Belz to national attention in 2003. A subsequent North Island tour with Taki Rua Productions sold out, with audiences and reviewers praising the play's power, vitality and emotional punch. Awhi Tapu also received an award from The Human Rights Commission for its "positive contribution towards harmonious race relations ".

It will shortly be published by the Play Press.

- Also an experienced television and film writer and actor, Albert currently has two full-length plays in development, an adaptation of short stories by Witi Ihimaera for Massive Company and Te Karakia, a commission for Taki Rua Productions. He is one of several writers

- The award is named after the man considered by most to be New Zealand's first most significant playwright, Bruce Mason who died in 1982. Born in Wellington in 1921, Bruce Mason was a key figure in the birth of a New Zealand theatre. His contribution was recognised in 2005 by the unveiling of a sculpture of Mason at Downstage in 2005.


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