They laughed, they cried, they stamped their feet…

September 11th, 2018

The second annual Martin-Lysicrates Prize was held at Riverside Theatres in Parramatta last week, and six hundred 12-14-year-olds showed their appreciation as only adolescents know how.

Take the first act of three new plays written for this age group; add three days of rehearsal by a talented group of actors and director, Jessica Arthur. Then bring 600 kids to watch the results—pure theatrical magic!

And then let the audience decide which play is the winner.

The finalists in this year’s prize were Sydney’s Nick Coyle, Brendan Hogan from the northeast Victorian town of Yackandandah and Melbourne based writer, Katy Warner. All three playwrights were there to enjoy the atmosphere, excited to have the opportunity to present their work in this unique context.

Katy Warner said the Martin-Lysicrates Prize presents an all too rare opportunity for playwrights to focus on writing for young people.
‘These audiences are discerning and smart and need work that challenges, inspires and delights them,’ she said. ‘The chance to connect with a young audience, presenting a scene from a new work created for them, along with the support offered by the Prize is a unique and very special opportunity. I am thrilled to be a part of this.’

Having watched the three plays, the kids filed out one door of the theatre, cast their votes by placing their ‘Greek tokens’ into one of three urns, came back through another door, and sat to wait to hear their own verdict. That’s where the foot stamping came in.

This year’s winner was Brendan Hogan for his play Farewell Mr Nippy. Brendan took away a full commission ($15,000) to complete the play, and two return tickets to Athens. The two runners-up received $1000 each.