June 11, 2024

Young playwright Alex Medland (Kai Tahu) has taken the top prize in Playmarket’s 2024 Playwrights b4 25 competition supported by Auckland Live, with her play Becoming Jeff Bezos.

Alex is based in Tāmaki Makaurau and is an emerging actor and writer who trained at the John Bolton Theatre School in Melbourne. She has been a member of both Auckland Theatre Company’s Youth Company and Writer’s Table and produces new work with her company, Half Trick Theatre.

Alex kicks off her wildly satirical thriller Becoming Jeff Bezos with a fugitive and a ‘10% off your first purchase’ UberEats voucher. Her play then explodes into madness involving blood, bodies and the pleasures of late-stage capitalism.

Judges described Alex’s work as “a crazy, crazy ride” which “sings with originality and incisive wit”.

The Playwrights b4 25 competition, run by Playmarket, the agency for New Zealand playwrights, recognises the best new writing for the stage by writers under the age of 25. Auckland Live, a division of Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, is the sponsor of the main prize of $1,500 for the winning playwright, to put towards the development of a new work.

Te Whanganui-a-Tara playwright Jack McGee was Highly Commended for Edit the Sad Parts.

Jack is no newcomer to Playwrights b425, having won last year with Boys and Girls at the School Silent Disco. Jack has a Master of Arts in Scriptwriting from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington. His new play Edit the Sad Parts is a fascinating commentary on the interplay between relationships and art. His play was described by the judges as “a well-crafted literary delight” with “stunning poetic language and imagery”.

Five other plays were shortlisted for the award. The plays and their writers are:

Daylight Savings by Melanie Allison

Run Coyote Run by Leroy Nurkka

The Nine Paintings for Maisie Grey by Mia Oudes

Limbo by Tom Smith, Jimmy Williamson and Kathy Keane

Raru e Maruakaītā by Poe Tiare Tararo

Playmarket is very grateful for the partnership with Auckland Live for their generous funding of the prize money and continued support of young playwrights. Playmarket’s major funders are Creative New Zealand and Foundation North.

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