Belvoir is thrilled to announce Birripi, Worimi, Waddi Waddi and Walbunga actor and director Guy Simon as the 2023 Balnaves Foundation Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fellow, who will receive $45,000 over an 18-month period to create a new work as a resident artist at Belvoir in 2024/25.
The Balnaves Fellowship is open to playwrights to write a new play and to directors that can lead the creation of an Indigenous-led new stage work, whether that be a new play, an adaptation or through a devised process. It also includes an invitation to have a voice in Belvoir’s artistic decision-making.
The Fellowship has long been recognised as one of the most prestigious theatre awards?in Australia, attracting entrants of the highest calibre. Previous recipients (including Leah Purcell, Nakkiah Lui, Kodie Bedford and Nathan Maynard, Thomas Weatherall) have submitted exceptional works that consistently affirm the depth of talent amongst our nation’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander theatre-makers. 2022 recipient, Dalara Williams, is currently working on her play, made possible by The Balnaves Foundation.
Simon’s new project will draw on his upbringing in the La Perouse community, delving into and creating a narrative that combines horror and dark comedy. An Indigenous family move into a house which holds a rich history deeply embedded in the foundations of the land it occupies, where they confront an unsettling presence, prompting in a swift decision to leave. Following this, a non-Indigenous family takes up residence.
Guy Simon was born on Birripi country and was raised in La Perouse on Gadigal country. He graduated from National Institute of Dramatic Art in 2010. His stage credits include Melbourne Theatre Company’s Jacky; Sydney Theatre Company’s The Visitors, The Tempest, Playing Beatie Bow, Grand Horizons, The Harp in the South, The Battle of Waterloo; Belvoir’s Jasper Jones, My Brilliant Career, and Griffin’s Whitefella Yella Tree, First Love is the Revolution.
“The Foundation strongly believes in supporting the next generation of Indigenous artists and the creative development of new works that reflect Australia’s diverse stories and enrich us all,” said Hamish Balnaves, CEO of The Balnaves Foundation.
“Congratulations to Guy on being awarded the 2023 Balnaves Fellowship at Belvoir St Theatre, we are truly excited to see how he will use the Fellowship to further develop his creative work over the next 18 months.”
Belvoir is also excited to announce Brendon Boney and Abbie-lee Lewis as 2023 Balnaves Associate Artists. They will each receive $5000 and will participate in two one-week writing intensives, along with Balnaves Fellows Dalara and Guy, and participate in Belvoir’s Associates Program.
Brendon is a Wiradjuri & Gamilaroi man who was born and grew up in Wagga Wagga. He is a Sound Designer, Composer, Writer and Performer now based in Darkinjung country on the Central Coast of New South Wales. Brendon is working on a new play exploring brotherhood, inheritance and what it means to step into leadership roles.
Abbie-lee is a Kalkadoon woman who grew up in Western Australia. In recent years Abbie-lee has developed a passion for directing and theatre-making and has sought to further her development of the craft by assistant directing, and she is currently developing a contemporary re-telling of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein.
For more information about the Balnaves Foundation Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fellowship, visit: www.belvoir.com.au for details.
Image: Guy Simon – courtesy of Belvoir