DEAN PARKER AWARDED THE INAUGURAL Playmarket AWARD
The award was created to recognise a playwright who has made a significant artistic contribution to theatre in New Zealand, and grants a $20,000 cash prize.
With thirty plays in his catalogue at Playmarket, the New Zealand playwrights' agency, Parker's playwriting career spans from his first play produced at Downstage in 1974 to the production of Tigers of Wrath currently running at Circa Theatre.
His plays provoke and entertain audiences while examining New Zealand's political history and the political perspective of individuals. In 1988 he wrote; "I would describe myself as a class-conscious writer. I'm with Lenin. I'm for the working class seizing control of the wealth it creates, for the replacement of parliament, the army, the police, the judiciary - all those deadly manacles of state control – with workers' committees and militias, and all this done as part of a world-wide struggle." He has written plays set on a factory shop floor, within the National Party caucus, war-ravaged Baghdad, the New Zealand Legation in Moscow, and the story of Robert Muldoon. He is prominent in his union, the NZ Writer's Guild.”
He was born in Napier of mainly Irish ancestry and has worked as a writer for stage, television, and film for much of his life. He has also written many radio plays and contributes to the New Zealand Listener and the New Zealand Herald.
His plays include adaptations of Great Expectations, The Trial, The Hollow Men and Other People's Wars.
Other notable plays include The Man That Lovelock Couldn't Beat, Baghdad, Baby!, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem.
Midnight in Moscow which The Press reviewer Alan Scott called "entertaining and thought-provoking" and "one of his best to date", is being produced in two cities next year after a tumultuous start in its premiere at The Court theatre in Christchurch where it was playing on 22 February 2011 when the earthquake hit.
Parker has won awards for his screenwriting including for co-writing the successful big-screen comedy Came a Hot Friday. His television work includes the Welsh-Kiwi rugby tale Old Scores, which Parker co-wrote with Greg McGee. With McGee he co-created the ‘80s trucking series Roche, and the goldmining drama Gold, a co-production between New Zealand and Canada. He also worked on episodes of police drama Mortimer's Patch and Betty's Bunch.
The award is funded by Creative New Zealand and administered by Playmarket. Parker is the inaugural winner.