Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the finalists for the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award 2022-23. Artists Ryan Enniss, Phoebe Grainer and Anthony Mullins, have been selected from a field of over 200 entries Australia-wide.
New South Wales writer, Ryan Enniss is being acknowledged for his work on Drizzle Boy – a play that shares the story of a young autistic man making his way through a life filled with miscommunications, misnomers, and misunderstandings.
Far North Queensland creative, Phoebe Grainer earned the honour of finalist with her play Burning House – a drama which gives a glimpse into the realities of small towns and exposes the darkness and unpredictability of the people in them.
Finally, Queensland writer Anthony Mullins has reached the finals with his first play The Norman Mailer Anecdote – which is centered on one night, one room and one family as they wrestle with accusations from the distant past.
The three finalists are now in the running for the title, guaranteeing the professional production of the winning play in Queensland Theatre’s 2023 Season, a $16,000 commission fee to develop their play ahead of the premiere production, and a $30,000 cash prize from QPDA Prize Sponsor Griffith University.
The previous winner, Steve Pirie and his play Return to the Dirt premiered in Brisbane in October 2021.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk congratulated playwrights Ryan Enniss, Phoebe Grainer and Anthony Mullins on their exceptional entries, which stood out from the 216 submissions received.
“This year marks 20 years of the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award – a successful partnership with Queensland Theatre which has supported storytellers and encouraged the growth and evolution of our unique arts sector,” said the Premier.
“Over the last two decades, this initiative has provided professional opportunities for more than 260 local actors, writers and directors, has developed 34 plays, and has helped 10 captivating original works make the leap from the page to the stage.”
“There was an overwhelming response to the call for submissions for the QPDA 2022-23 and once again the judging panel were faced with a difficult task in selecting just three finalists for the Award.”
“Finalists Ryan Enniss, Phoebe Grainer and Anthony Mullins come from diverse backgrounds and different lived experiences, informing how they explore major themes like justice, memory and human connection.”
“It’s clear that all our finalists have a promising future writing for the Australian stage, and we look forward to seeing the winning work fully-realised as part of Queensland Theatre’s 2023 season,” said the Premier.
The Queensland Premier’s Drama Award covers a two-year cycle. In the first year, three finalists are selected and their works undergo creative development with industry professionals prior to judging and the announcement of the winner.
The second year involves further development of the winning play followed by the professional world premiere production and publication of the script.
Enniss, Grainer and Mullins will develop their works throughout the coming year, with the winner announced in May 2022. Queensland Theatre will produce the world premiere of the winning work in Season 2023, curated by Artistic Director, Lee Lewis.
“Our stories are our national treasures. The Queensland Premier’s Drama Award is the most significant playwriting award in the country in offering playwrights a production of their play and the prize money provides financial support to live while they write,” said Lee Lewis.
“In a year when so many entries reflected the difficulties of the times we are all struggling with, these three finalists’ plays speak urgently about resilience, resistance, truth and power. It is inspiring to see so many brave playwrights challenging us all to see, to understand and to work to make a better world for everyone.”
“Our playwrights are our leaders and this award signals the commitment of the Queensland Government, Griffith University and Queensland Theatre to support the growth of our national imagination,” said Lewis.
The Queensland Premier’s Drama Award is an initiative of the Queensland Government, delivered in partnership with Queensland Theatre. For more information and to learn about the Finalists, visit: www.queenslandtheatre.com.au for details.
Image: Ryan Enniss, Phoebe Grainer and Anthony Mullins – courtesy of Queensland Theatre