Mark Rogers wins the 2019 Griffin Award for new Australian writing

Griffin Award Mark RogersGriffin Theatre Company has announced that Playwright Mark Rogers has won the 2019 Griffin Award for new Australian writing for his play, Superheroes.

Accepting the award from Griffin’s Artistic Director Lee Lewis and Jane Curry of Copyright Agency at the historic SBW Stables Theatre, Rogers said: “I think we all know how important Australian storytelling is, how important it is to get those plays up, and how important this space is for the cultural landscape in Australia. I’m thrilled and shocked and unbelievably stoked. Thank you so much.”

Superheroes is a chamber-play following the lives of two women – Emily and Jana – one in Thirroul, NSW and the other in Mostar, Bosnia. By tracking a day in the life of two women on different continents, the play asks if there is a connection between an inability to take responsibility for our actions on a personal level, and a larger failure of responsibility on an international scale. In this climate, what does it truly mean to take responsibility for your actions?

The other shortlisted plays in this year’s Griffin Award were: Heart Soul Yoga Studio Beirut by Olivia Clement, Dog & Boy by Shannon Murdoch, Night by Diane Stubbings and The Fountain by Ryan Watson.

The national competition, which celebrates an outstanding play or performance text that displays an authentic, inventive and contemporary Australian voice, has a rich history of recognising new talent and propelling forward the careers of emerging Australian writers.

Previous winners include Lachlan Philpott, Debra Oswald, Brendan Cowell, Mary Rachel Brown and Suzie Miller, whose Griffin Award winning play, Prima Facie is currently enjoying a critically acclaimed premiere season at the SBW Stables Theatre. Angus Cerini’s The Bleeding Tree took out the Award in 2014 and went on to win both a NSW Premier’s Literary Award and the Helpmann Award for Best Play in 2016. Rogers now joins this prestigious list, along with receiving a $10,000 prize.

Mark Rogers is a playwright and theatre-maker living in Illawarra. He holds a PhD from the University of Wollongong, where he lectures in theatre and performance. He is a founding member of the performance collective Applespiel. Mark also runs Merrigong Theatre’s Playwrights’ Program – a new initiative providing long-term mentorship to local writers. He is a proud member of the NTEU.

His previous work as a playwright includes: The Pecking Order (Shopfront Arts Co-Op, Commission) Tom William Mitchell (Merrigong-X), Plastic (Old 505 Theatre), We’ll Become Good People, You’ll See (Crack Theatre Festival), Target Audience (Novelty UK), The Buck (Rock Surfers, Bondi Feast), Soothsayers (Brisbane Festival: Under The Radar), Blood Pressure (Rock Surfers, Old Fitz Theatre) and Gobbledygook (PACT, AC Arts Adelaide).

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Image: Mark Rogers (supplied)