Regional Victorian playwright Brendan Hogan made it two-from-two at Riverside Parramatta Theatres on August 22, winning the third Martin-Lysicrates Prize with a 10-minute excerpt of his play-in-development, Play Number Four.
Hogan won the Martin-Lysicrates Prize in 2018 for his play Farewell, Mr Nippy.
Judged the winner by an audience of several hundred schoolchildren, Hogan collected a cheque for $15000 to ensure Play Number Four’s completion.
His story of siblings creating a backyard show inspired by the events of the death of their own father is aimed squarely at the 12+ audience, says Hogan – an audience he believes is not well-served by playwrights and theatre companies.
“There’s no shortage of plays for the under 10s but there’s a real risk that we lose the early high schoolers, and once you have, it’s hard to get them back,” says Hogan, a teacher whose most recent work, The Last Boy On Earth, was presented by HotHouse Theatre earlier this year.
The winnings, Hogan says, will allow him to take some time off to work on a final draft of Play Number Four to be produced by ATYP.
The Martin-Lysicrates Foundation has now uploaded videos of the three competition finalists (Hogan’s play ran against Madelaine Nunn’s Unicorn Girl and Elliot Vella’s It’s a Tie) to its website in order to allow for a second vote by internet viewers from across the country, the winner of which will receive an extra $2000.
There is also a downloadable resource kit for teachers and a competition whose prize – a trip for two to Athens, Greece – is going begging.