November 17, 2007


Best known as Dr Chris Warner of Shortland Street medical practice, Michael Galvin has been recognised as an outstanding emerging playwright, with the award of New Zealand’s most significant national theatre award, the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award. The award was announced at Playmarket, New Zealand’s playwrights’ organisation, at a function on Friday 16 November.

This prestigious annual award has ,since 1983, recognised the work of an outstanding emerging New Zealand playwright. Such a playwright has had one or more full-length plays produced to acclaim. Previous winners include Briar Grace Smith, David Geary and Toa Fraser. The award is sponsored by the Downstage Theatre Society, The FAME Trust and Playmarket. 

The author of three major works for the stage, Galvin’s award recognises his dedication as a playwright and the success of his second play The Ocean Star, which premiered with Auckland Theatre Company in 2006 to strong critical notices. 

"A superb black comedy," wrote Kate Ward-Smythe of Theatreview, "Galvin’s second play is an insightful yet witty exploration of a dysfunctional family’s attempt to confront their past and present, then navigate a way forward together… Galvin juxtaposes bleak reality with comic observation extremely well." 

"Galvin is a talented writer," wrote NZ Listener critic Natasha Hay. "He has a gift for quirky characterisation and sharp, snappy dialogue. There’s also a lovely generosity of spirit and optimism beneath the blackness. This captivating and enjoyable show confirms him as a local writer to watch." 

The award is decided through voting by a panel of leading directors and play developers throughout New Zealand. The award sees Galvin awarded a $10,000 full-length play commission, to be given a playreading in 2008 or 2009. 

A graduate of Victoria University and Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School, Galvin had an extensive stage career before joining Shortland Street. He has had short stories published in anthologies, The Picnic Virgin and Boy’s Own Stories. His first play, New Gold Dream is a comedy about the reunion of a once famous performance art group obsessed with 80s music. Recently given workshop by ATC and Playmarket, his third play Station to Station is a gutsy work where Galvin mixes comedy with tragedy: Led by a charismatic television presenter turned religious zealot, a mother and son share a rollercoaster journey from drab suburbia to Jerusalem and a devastating act of terrorism. 

The Award is named after the man considered to be New Zealand’s first most significant playwright, Bruce Mason, who died in 1982. 

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