November 8, 2009


Pip Hall has been awarded New Zealand’s most significant national theatre award, the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award. The award for 2009 was announced at Downstage Theatre Wellington by Playmarket, New Zealand’s playwrights’ organisation.

The Bruce Mason Award recipient is decided through voting by a panel of leading directors and play developers throughout New Zealand from nominations provided by leading New Zealand playwrights. The award sees Hall awarded a $10,000 full-length play commission.

Hall’s award recognises her dedication as a playwright and the quality of her work. Her most recently produced work Who Needs Sleep Anyway was co-written with her playwright father Roger Hall, but with two new works, Playmarket Director Mark Amery says, she proves beyond doubt she’s a major playwright of excellence. While The 53rd Victim won the significant New New Zealand Play Award, her drama Up North will premiere at Centrepoint Theatre next year.

Hall was chosen from an award shortlist that also featured Miria George, Arthur Meek, Eli Kent and Thomas Sainsbury.

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. The award is sponsored by the Downstage Theatre Society, The FAME Trust, the Bruce Mason Estate and Playmarket. It is named after the man considered to be New Zealand’s first most significant playwright, Bruce Mason who died in 1982.

"The judging panel and playwrights have chosen well from a very strong line-up," says Amery. "The 53rd Victim and Up North are two of the finest plays I’ve read in the last year. Beautifully crafted, they’re illustrative of Pip’s ability to leap between different genre and periods and bring to them her own strong contemporary edge: from a docudrama set in 21st century London to a more conventional kitchen drama set in ’50s rural New Zealand. As is common throughout Pip’s work they feature smart brave women, making choices for themselves, often against convention."

"Hall first reached acclaim with two shorter works which also pushed the form: Red Fish Blue Fish and Shudder. The latter is almost choral in its musicality, resembling what was described at the time as ‘Under Milk Wood on ecstasy’."

After its premiere at BATS Shudder went on to be published and has been produced in schools nationwide. Red Fish Blue Fish had production at both Silo and Circa Theatres.

Pip Hall has worked as a full time writer in theatre, film and television since 1995, after graduating from the University of Otago with a degree in Drama, where her early theatre writing began at Allen Hall theatre. Two of Pip’s works – The Woman Who Loved a Mountain and The 53rd Victim were both developed through the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts Show and Tell programme in 2006 and 2008.  The 53rd Victim then went onto win the New New Zealand Play Award in 2009, selected out of over 70 scripts.  It has also been adapted for Radio New Zealand.  Up North is programmed for premiere at Centrepoint in June 2010.

She lives with her husband and children in Westmere, Auckland.   

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