Having recently enjoyed excellent reviews for her directorial debut, Title and Deed, the multi-talented Jada Alberts has just received another impressive accolade. Last night in Sydney, the playwright and performer was awarded the inaugural Mona Brand Emerging Writer Award for her play Brothers Wreck, which premiered at Belvoir in 2014.
The award of $10,000, recognised an emerging female writer who is in the early stages of her career for her first substantial produced work. The judging panel deemed Brothers Wreck, about a 21-year-old Indigenous man dealing with the suicide of his cousin, a “superb professional playwriting debut”.
They went on to state: “Jada Alberts delivers an important message – one of compassion, understanding and respect – and she does it with the craft and intelligence of a playwright who we can’t wait to see more from.”
In accepting this award, named in honour of trailblazing Australian writer Mona Brand, Alberts said: “This is such an honour. To receive this award in tribute of such an incredible writer, feels precious and affirming and is undoubtedly the highlight of my career to date. Thank you. It means much more than I can say.
“I come from a very long line of extraordinary women who taught me story, and taught me truth. Larrakia women. Yanyuwa women. They made something out of nothing so often, and with such little support and recognition. For that I owe them everything.”
A former recipient of the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award, Alberts has appeared in Belvoir’s productions of This Heaven and Yibiyung, co-wrote Elektra / Orestes and was associate artist at Belvoir in 2014-15. She is currently shooting the second series of Cleverman.
The main award of the evening, which recognised an outstanding Australian woman writing for the stage or screen, was presented to prolific playwright Joanna Murray-Smith, whose work includes Switzerland and The Female of the Species.
Moving forward, the Mona Brand Award will be presented biennially.