On the Couch with Sue Smith

AWG Sue Smith AARWho is Sue Smith?
A screenwriter and playwright who’s been incredibly lucky with the opportunities she’s had and the people she’s had a chance to work with.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would have started working in the theatre earlier than I did.

Who inspires you and why?
People who arrive in this country as refugees and rebuild their lives. Their courage and grit and resilience inspires me.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Change our government’s policies about climate change and immigration.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
India. It confronts all my senses and all my attitudes.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Probably Ku-ring-gai National Park. Natural beauty and breathtaking views at West Head.

What are you currently reading?
A Bed for the Night by David Rieff.

What are you currently listening to?
Various TED talks by African artists and intellectuals.

Happiness is?
Being in good health and being loved.

What does the future hold for you?
A trip to Africa to research a new play.

Sue Smith is a multi-award winning screenwriter, playwright and script editor. Recent screen credits include co-writer of feature film Saving Mr Banks, produced by Disney Pictures in 2013 and starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, and ABC telemovie MABO (screened SFF in 2012 and winning an AWGIE and Queensland Literary Award).

Other credits include the ABC miniseries Bastard Boys (won AFI Award for Best Screenplay in Television), feature film Peaches (nominated AWGIE Award) and SBS miniseries RAN, which Sue co-wrote with John Alsop and Alice Addison, receiving another AFI Award for Best Screenplay in Television. Telemovies Temptation and The Road From Coorain, and, in partnership with John Alsop, ABC series Bordertown, and miniseries The Leaving of Liverpool and Brides of Christ, both of which won AWGIE and AFI awards.

Sue’s first stage play Thrall, was produced by Tamarama Rock Surfers in 2006. Sue’s professional theatre debut, Strange Attractor, received a very successful premiere at the Griffin Theatre in 2009. Sue also wrote the libretto for Rembrandt’s Wife, which premiered at the Victorian Opera, and won the 2010 AWGIE award for Music Theatre. Her adaptation of Tolstoy’s The Kreutzer Sonata premiered at the State Theatre Company of South Australia to rave reviews.

Kryptonite was produced by State Theatre Company of South Australia and the Sydney Theatre Company in 2014 to rave reviews and was nominated for Best Play at the 2014 Sydney Theatre Awards. Her latest play, Machu Picchu, starred Lisa McCune in the 2016 program for the STC and STCSA. Sue is currently writing a play for the Queensland Theatre Company and is STC Patrick White Playwrights Fellow for 2018.

Sue Smith is the recipient of the 2018 Australian Writers’ Guild Lifetime Achievement Award (presented by Foxtel). For more information, visit: www.awg.com.au for details.

Image: Sue Smith (supplied)

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