November 24, 2008
WINNER OF NEW ZEALAND’S NATIONAL PLAYWRITING AWARD ANNOUNCED
Paul Rothwell has been awarded New Zealand’s most significant national theatre award, the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award. The emerging playwrights’ award for 2008 was announced at Downstage Theatre Wellington by Playmarket, New Zealand’s playwrights’ organisation. Rothwell’s award recognises his dedication as a playwright and its recognition by critics and audiences.
The Bruce Mason Award is decided through voting by a panel of leading directors and play developers throughout New Zealand. The award sees Rothwell awarded a $10,000 full-length play commission, to be given a playreading in 2010.
Five of Paul Rothwell’s plays, including Hate Crimes, Golden Boys and Deliver Us, have been mounted in the last three years providing both delight and controversial insights into the heart of New Zealand society. He has been widely heralded as one of this country’s most exciting new playwrights. Rothwell has twice been nominated for the Chapman Tripp Theatre Award for Most Outstanding New Playwright and is a previous winner of Playmarket’s New Zealand Young Playwrights Competition. A new work Christmas Indoors premieres in Wellington in December, and another new play The Blackening had a reading with Auckland Theatre Company this year.
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 many of this country’s most celebrated writers, including Briar Grace Smith, David Geary and Toa Fraser. The award is sponsored by the Downstage Theatre Society, The FAME Trust, the Bruce Mason Estate and Playmarket.
Twisted, dark and often very funny, Rothwell’s plays have often led to debate amongst critics and audiences for their pointed commentary on New Zealand middle class suburbia, where families struggle under the weight of society’s expectations. Rothwell’s latest Christmas Indoors, opening at BATS Theatre in early December, is described as an unashamedly anti-Christmas comedy about family; exploring how sometimes the things that bring us together are the same things that push us apart.
The Award is named after the man considered to be New Zealand’s first most significant playwright, Bruce Mason who died in 1982.