July 2023 Newsletter

July 31st, 2023

Lysicrates on the upswing!

7th Lysicrates Prize Event 2023 Videos Released

Three very different plays to choose from.
A moving tribute to a father felled by environmental disease (Illuminationby Joanna Erskine), a tumultuous plunge into revolution in the Philippines (Malacanang/Montgomeryby Jordan Shea), and a blackly humorous visit to small town Australia (Murder, Murder, Hair!by Suvi Derkenne).

These plays vied for the seventh Lysicrates Prize on Saturday 29th April. A really tough call. All three plays were outstanding. At Lysicrates, we are so encouraged by the depth of talent out there in the Australian playwriting community, and are truly proud to have showcased the work of these masterly writers.

Judge for yourself – watch the highlights video here.

At the event, the Chair of the Lysicrates Foundation, John Azarias, welcomed the audience.

The winner, chosen by the votes of the audience in the trademark Lysicrates way, wasMurder, Murder, Hair!  by Suvi Derkenne  Her play featured shocks and laughter, often at the same time, a pretty hard feat to pull off.

The winner was announced by Tony Burke, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, and Leader of the House.

A wonderful time had been had by all, three young Australian playwrights had had their work showcased, actors and directors had demonstrated their talent to a live audience, and new people had been attracted to experience the magic of live theatre. Patricia Azarias, co-founder of the Lysicrates Foundation, gave the closing address.

And since it was raining, the traditional post-play festivities moved from the Botanic Gardens down to the Conservatorium reception area. There were a Greek trio, lots of food and drink, and plenty of conviviality, arguments about the plays, and general good cheer.

More details, including a list of the distinguished guests that attended, can be found on our 2023 website page.

Come next year! The event is becoming a necessary part of the Australian arts calendar! Unmissable!

The First Martin Children's Walk will take place on Wednesday 29th November 2023

What’s the Martin Children’s Walk?

Friends of Lysicrates will know the famous James Martin episode, immortalised in the twin statutes in Martin Place and Parramatta, in which the 12-year-old James Martin, determined to get the high school education unavailable at home in Parramatta, decided that, since his parents couldn’t afford the carriage fare, he would walk the distance to Sydney himself.

Which he did.

James Martin Statue in Parramatta and Martin Place

The Martin Children’s Walk will re-enact and celebrate the boy’s bravery and love of learning. Children from six schools will do the same walk, in five relays of about 5kms each, starting at 6 am from Parramatta Square and ending at around 11.30 am in Martin Place.

The “baton” will be a copy of the Iliad, the prize given to the 14-year-old James Martin for excellence at school.

In Martin Place, the Premier will welcome the children, and there will be some short festivities.

A HUGE event, a great leap forward for the Lysicrates project.

Keep your eyes open for the media.

The Sixth Martin Lysicrates Prize Event will also take place on Wednesday 29th November 2023

The sixth Martin Lysicrates Prize Event will take place immediately after the Martin Children's Walk is completed. The event will take place in the Martin Place Amphitheatre from noon until 1:30pm. About 600 kids are expected to attend.

Invitation to Playwrights

Supported by the Australian Writers’ Guild & Australian Plays Transform


The annual Martin-Lysicrates Prize, first award in 2017, celebrates the best new Australian writing in theatre for young people. At the heart of the Martin Lysicrates Prize are young people and their worldview. Young people are the inspiration and intended audience of this unique commission; as well as key participants in the process of awarding the annual Prize.

The inspiration for the Martin Lysicrates Prize is the Great Dionysia Ancient Greek theatre festivals where the city of Athens stopped, spirited audiences converged, new plays were watched, and the people effectively chose their annual award-winning playwright. The Martin Lysicrates Prize honours past tradition and today’s young people by weaving democratic ideals and new cultural experiences together.

The Martin Lysicrates Award is a genuine endeavour to inspire new stories and support playwrights to develop original scripts ready for production consideration. Along with a full commission, the winner enters a dramaturgical process, providing a fantastic opportunity for a playwright to work with a dramaturge from Australia’s leading producer of new works for young people.

You are invited to submit the first 10-12 minutes of a new play for young people aged 12 – 15 years. The play must be able to be performed by no more than 4 actors (actors can perform multiple roles). Actors can include adults and young people.

Following a short-listing process, three scripts are presented to a live and online audience of school students of the relevant age. It is the audience of young people who judge which play is awarded a full commission.

Prizes are awarded as follows:

  • On the day, the most votes from audience in the theatre plus votes of those watching via live streaming - $3,000 for the winner and $1,000 each for the runners-up.
  • Some weeks later votes are counted from audiences who have watched the recorded performances on website from all over the world.
  • The combined votes from both 1) and 2) are counted and the overall winner receives a commission worth $12,000 and dramaturgical support to complete the play.

How To Apply

Applications are now open and will close on Friday 18th August 2023 at 5pm.

To submit, please email hello@lysicratesfoundation.org.au with the following information: Cover page with play title and contact details (name, email, phone number, address).

  1. A synopsis (max. 300 words)
  2. Proposed cast size and character information
  3. The first 10-12 minutes of your play for young people aged 12 – 15 years (approx. 10-12 pages)

Please note that there should be no identifiable contact details on the actual script itself as the assessment process will be anonymous.

The shortlisted finalists will be announced by the end of September.