As a commitment to nurturing artists we provide a number of award opportunities.

The NSW Philip Parsons
Fellowship for Emerging Playwrights

On 7 December 2015 the Fellowship was jointly awarded to two people – Nakkiah Lui and S. Shakthidharan. Read the media release.

About the Fellowship & previous recipients
The NSW Philip Parsons Fellowship for Emerging Playwrights and Memorial Lecture commemorate the life’s work of Philip Parsons AM (1926-1993). Dr Parsons was an influential teacher and mentor to many of the students, scholars, actors, directors and playwrights who created the new wave of theatre and drama in the 1970s. Both the Fellowship and Lecture are part of artist development activities at Belvoir.

The Fellowship is presented, in partnership with Arts NSW, to an emerging playwright whose work demonstrates an original and compelling theatrical voice. The Fellowship money forms a $12,500 commissioning fee for the writer and $7,500 towards a creative development, with a view to developing a new work with support from Belvoir’s artistic staff. (Note: This Fellowship replaces the Philip Parsons Young Playwright’s Award previously offered by Belvoir and Arts NSW)

Applications are accepted from NSW-based writers whose plays have had a public showing or season in Australia or internationally within the last 12 months. Submitted plays will be assessed by the Fellowship panel and shortlisted writers chosen on the strength of these works. Shortlisted writers will be asked to submit a brief treatment and up to five pages of scene work for a proposed new piece.


Past recipients

2015 – Nakkiah Lui and S.Shakthidharan

2014 – Julia-Rose Lewis

2013 – Ian Meadows

2012 – Kit Brookman

2011 – Zoe Coombs Marr

2010 – Matthew Whittet

2009 – Tahli Corin

2008 – Khoa Do

2007 – Tommy Murphy

2006 – Patrick Brammall and John Leary

2005 – Brendan Cowell

2004 – Kate Mulvany

2003 – Jonathan Gavin

The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award


The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award is the most prestigious award for Indigenous playwrights in Australia. The $20,000 award includes a $12,500 commission for a new play and a cash prize of $7,500. Applications are open nationally to writers of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. They are assessed by a panel including both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists.

Now in its fifth year The Balnaves Award has become one of the most prestigious playwriting awards in Australia, be it for Indigenous or non-Indigenous Australians. The calibre of entries and winners has consistently proven the depth of talent in the Indigenous theatre industry.

In the past four years the award has recognised playwrights Katie Beckett, Leah Purcell, Jada Alberts and Nakkiah Lui, but also inspired many Indigenous artists to dream up new plays. The award to open to everyone from the most experienced playwrights, to people just starting out on their first plays and any writer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander decent is encouraged to apply, regardless of whether or not they have written for theatre before.

Actor, singer and writer Ursula Yovich (A Christmas Carol, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie ) won the Award in 2016 with a commission to write a play that touches on traditions and rituals in Indigenous culture that are little known to the non-Indigenous community.

Since 2011 The Balnaves Foundation has supported the presentation of two Indigenous-led works per year as part of Belvoir’s annual season. To further 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 Balnaves Foundation is committed to working towards reconciliation and has supported numerous Indigenous arts projects including the creative development of I Am Eora and Black Diggers for Sydney Festival.



2016 – Ursula Yovich
2015 –
Katie Beckett
2014 –
Leah Purcell
2013 –
Jada Alberts
2012 – 
Nakkiah Lui