The Amethyst Award

 

 

Amethyst image by Conscious Design Unsplash

T h e    A M E T H Y S T    A W A R D

is a biennial playwriting award offered by

M e l b o u r n e   W r i t e r s’   T h e a t r e

for a new, unproduced, full-length play of outstanding quality, integrity and originality

 

 

 

Amethyst image by Conscious Design Unsplash

T h e   P r i z e

The winning play will be performed in May 2025, in a two-week theatrical season to be produced by MWT.

 

 

 

Amethyst image by Conscious Design Unsplash

T h e   2 0 2 5   A m e t h y s t   A w a r d

Applications for The 2025 Amethyst Award will open on 1st July and close on 31st August 2024

The EOI will be published on this page and also in Playbill, MWT’s monthly e-newsletter.

 

 

 

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The winner of The 2023 Amethyst Award was MARK ANDREW for his play The Critical Marriage.

For a show summary and photos click here.

To read about Mark Andrew click here. 

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Our 2023 selector was acclaimed writer/performer Andi Snelling.  Andi’s recent works included Type-A-Poet (‘Melbourne Fringe 2022 top 6 picks’ – The Age), Happy Go Wrong (Adelaide Festival Centre and The Age ‘Highlight of the year’) and Deja Vu (And Oher Forms of Knowing), which is currently in development. Andi’s Selection Report is below.

 

2023 SELECTION REPORT

WINNER
The Critical Marriage

 

HIGHLY COMMENDED
Car Crash
Parlour Games
Stamfl vs Cerrutty

 

It has been a great pleasure and honour to read the 12 scripts submitted for the inaugural
Melbourne Writers’ Theatre Amethyst Award. There was certainly a decent serving of great
imagination and I’d like to particularly commend all entrants for taking risks in their writing,
whether it be the subject matter, stylistic choices or narrative structure. I felt a strong sense
of vigour and play in all the writing.

 

The theme this year was “big, bold and beautiful.” While all entries pulled off at least one or
two of these qualities, the winner was the only one that fully embraced all three and with a
distinctive flair that made it unforgettable.

 

The winner is: THE CRITICAL MARRIAGE. This deeply moving, existential play had me gripped
from the first lines and took me on a memorable journey in which I found myself invested in
the characters’ lives and, at one point, was even moved to tears. The playwright has a
unique voice and manages to truly transport the reader into the very specific academic
world of two great intellectuals through a clear and inventive structure, sophisticated use of
language, and authentic character relationships. The denouement is expertly crafted, with
surprises saved until exactly the right moments, highlighting the competence of the
playwright. The writing style and considered tackling of the difficult themes of memory loss
and death are reminiscent of Joan Didion and I am confident this play will leave a powerful
mark on its lucky audience.

 

The three Highly Commended plays are: Car Crash, Parlour Games and Stamfl vs Cerrutty, all
of which displayed a clear concept, quality writing, and memorable characters.

I commend Car Crash for its sharp political satire and absurdly funny lead characters who
had me snorting out loud multiple times. This is a daring play, facing head-on a controversial
and intriguing subject matter with great aplomb, that deserves to go into full production,
but could do with one further draft to trim some unnecessary scenes and tighten the
ending. Parlour Games is a wildly fun Whodunit? with a twist on a twist that no audience could see
coming and had me playing along as if I were a guest at the party myself; a truly clever
dramaturgical concept that would better suit a more site-specific location. Stamfl vs Cerrutty is a fascinating work that puts under the microscope a lesser known aspect of Australian sport history. This play shoots out of the starting blocks with much enjoyable banter and narrative momentum that captures the essence of the two athletic coaches whose relationship the play centres, as if the play itself were a running race! The historical references and attention to detail within the writing highlight the clearly
meticulous research this playwright has done. At times, the content feels a bit repetitive, and the pace could do with some variation. The ending is beautiful and poetic.

 

The main feedback I have for the remaining scripts is to watch out for a tendency towards
too much exposition. I’d encourage playwrights to explore how the information they desire
to be known by the audience can emerge more gradually and subtly. Trust that your audience is smart – less is more. Similarly, there are several endings that feel abrupt or too opened-ended in an unsatisfying way. I’d recommend greater care in this area and perhaps revisiting the earlier scenes of the play with the end you know you are driving towards in mind, so it doesn’t land so abruptly when you arrive there.

 

Congratulations to the winner and to all other entrants. Keep wordsmithing!

Andi Snelling
February 2023

 

 

THE CRITICAL MARRIAGE by Mark Andrew

was presented from 3rd – 13th May @ Gasworks Arts Park

 

The Critical Marriage Thumbnail image for displaying on All Events page

 

For a show summary, photos and reviews from this highly successful season, please visit:

https://melbournewriterstheatre.org.au/2023-the-critical-marriage/

 

 

 

 

 

LOGO The Amethyst Award Copy

The Amethyst Award is proudly offered by Melbourne Writers’ Theatre.