November 16, 2015
DARK SECRETS AND RAZOR SHARP TALES HAVE A SILVER LINING FOR YOUNG PLAYWRIGHT
The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award was presented to Jess Sayer at the Playmarket Accolades held at the Hannah Playhouse in Wellington on 15 November 2015.
The $10,000 cash prize recognises early success in the career of the winning playwright and is designed to encourage their continued exploration of the theatre medium.
Jess Sayer is an actor and playwright living and working in Auckland and Rotorua. She has won the Playmarket b4 25 competition three times, and been shortlisted for the Adam NZ Play Award twice. She co-founded Junket Theatre Company in 2012 and has since staged four of her own works: Elevator, Wings, Crunchy Silk and Fix at The Basement Theatre in Auckland. Elevator has also been produced in the USA, while Wings has had seasons in Wellington, Dunedin and Palmerston North.
Her writing has been described as ‘razor-sharp’, ‘brave’, ‘absorbingly dark’ and ‘not for the faint-hearted’ with the ‘ability to be off-hand and flippant, then hard-hitting and punishing, sometimes within the same sentence.’
Jess has been involved in story development for Filthy Productions and South Pacific Pictures, and has written and storylined for Cinco Cine. She is currently a writer at The Blue Baths, Rotorua.
Jess is an inaugural graduate of The Actors’ Program and her acting credits include; Mo in Mo and Jess Kill Susie by Gary Henderson, Margaret Reardon in Always My Sister by Michelanne Forster and Alice in Famous Flora by Elisabeth Easther.
Since 1993 The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award has recognised the work of an outstanding emerging New Zealand playwright. The recipient is decided through voting by a panel of leading Artistic Directors and Script Advisors throughout New Zealand. Previous winners include many of this country’s most celebrated writers including Hone Kouka, Briar Grace-Smith, Jo Randerson and Arthur Meek.
The Award is named after Bruce Mason, considered to be New Zealand’s first most significant playwright. His plays are still produced widely today and many, such as The Pohutakawa Tree and The End of the Golden Weather have come to be considered New Zealand classics. The award is funded by The FAME Trust, and Downstage Theatre Society.