Previous winners Leah Purcell, Jada Alberts and Nakkiah Lui. Photos: Brett Boradman

Previous winners Leah Purcell, Jada Alberts and Nakkiah Lui. Photos: Brett Boradman

Belvoir is now accepting entries for the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award. The award is open to all writers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander decent.

‘This is a prestigious award,’ said judge Wesley Enoch, Artistic Director of the Queensland Theatre Company. ‘It is significant because the award commits to creating the opportunity for playwrights to work with actors in a theatrical setting.

‘The award is an act of generosity on behalf of The Balnaves Foundation, and is important as Indigenous storytelling often doesn’t fit into the structures of funding models.’

2015 is the fourth year this award has been offered. In the past three years the award has recognised playwrights Leah Purcell, Jada Alberts and Nakkiah Lui, but also inspired many Indigenous artists to dream up new plays.

At the time of winning the 2015 Award, Purcell said ‘I’m very grateful that this award can go to ‘first time writers’ and to those of us with experience, this really is an amazing opportunity.’

2013 winner Alberts said ‘Not more than a year ago I was midway through writing the first draft of my first play, and knowing that this award had come into existence gave me inspiration and assurance that playwriting can be a practical and serious career choice.’

The Balnaves Foundation is committed to working towards reconciliation and have supported numerous Indigenous arts projects including the creative development of I Am Eora and Black Diggers for Sydney Festival. Since 2011 The Balnaves Foundation 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.

‘Over the previous three years of this award, we have uncovered some extraordinary talent,’ said Hamish Balnaves. ‘Nakkiah Lui’s Kill the Messenger opens this week. It’s a remarkable play that challenges the audience to confront the deadly reality of the institutionalised racism at the heart of Australia’s bureaucracies. This is exactly the kind of work the Balnaves Award was set up to champion and we can’t wait to see what the next winner has in store for us.’

The award comprises a $7,500 cash prize and a $12,500 commission to write a new play with the support of Belvoir.

The Balnaves Foundation logo small mono

Indigenous theatre at Belvoir supported by The Balnaves Foundation

Notes for Editors

How to Apply
The guidelines are available on the Awards page here. Completed applications forms along with full script or writing examples along with the pitch for a new play should be sent to [email protected].

Entries close on Friday 27 March with the winner announced in May during National Reconciliation Week.

Wesley Enoch is joined on the judging panel by the Artistic Director of ILBIJERRI Theatre Company, Rachael Maza, Belvoir’s Eamon Flack and Anthea Williams and last year’s winner Leah Purcell.

The Balnaves Foundation
The Balnaves Foundation is a private philanthropic organisation established in 2006 by Neil Balnaves AO to provide support to charitable enterprises across Australia.

Dispersing over $2.5 million annually, the Foundation supports eligible organisations that aim to create a better Australia through education, medicine and the arts with a focus on young people, the disadvantaged and Indigenous communities.

Contact Details

For media information and interviews contact Elly Michelle Clough
[email protected] | 02 8396 6242 | 0407 163 921