2019 Martin-Lysicrates Prize – and the winners are …

December 24th, 2019

The Martin-Lysicrates Prize is Australia’s only playwriting competition for plays written for young people (11-14 years) where the plays are judged by the young people themselves.

The annual competition was held for the third time at Riverside Theatre in Parramatta on Thursday 22 August.

The first acts of three shortlisted plays were professionally directed and performed by professional actors.  The plays in contention were given rapt attention by the discerning audience. 

They were:
  • Unicorn Girl, by Madelaine Nunn, exploring questions of self-realisation and fitting in.
  • Play Number Four, by Brendan Hogan, telling a story of family trauma, loss and grief, finding a balance between humour and hurt.
  • It’s a Tie, by Elliot Vella, about overcoming adversity through friendship.

Following the performance the kids filed out of the theatre to cast their votes, and returned to hear the result of the democratic process.

The winner was Brendan Hogan for his play “Play Number Four”

Brendan Hogan is a teacher, playwright and theatre maker who lives and works in the small town of Yackandandah, in Victoria.  Brendan also won the 2018 Martin-Lysicrates Prize for his play Farewell Mr Nippy.  First prize is a full commission ($15,000) to complete the play, and the chance to have it developed into a full production.  The runners-up received $1000 each.

For many of the young judges, this was their first experience of live theatre, as well as an opportunity to feel the power of their own democratic votes.

And they loved it!

Kids all over Australia also shared in the fun and participated in awarding a supplementary prize – The Viewers’ Prize.

After viewing the three videos, the kids were able to vote online.

Brendan won the online vote and took away the prize of $2,000.

For teachers there was the chance to win a special prize – two return tickets to Athens.

The winner, drawn from the hat by the Attorney General of New South Wales, the Hon Mark Speakman SC, was Alex Wharton from Carinya Christian School in Gunnedah, NSW.

By voting, students went into the drawer to win the latest 11-inch iPad Pro Wi-fi 64GB.

The winner, drawn from the hat by the Attorney General of New South Wales, the Hon Mark Speakman SC, was George Ingram from Trinity Anglican College, Albury, NSW.

Teachers asked their students in their class to write a 250 – 300 word essay that conveyed their opinion of the plays from the 2019 Martin-Lysicrates Prize. There were $50.00 book vouchers up for grabs and students in Mrs Danielle Wylie’s English class at Kingscliff High School, NSW won.

Watch the winner announcement video below. Congratulations to all winners!