21 November, 2019
The Australian Writers’ Guild congratulates long-time member Tommy Murphy on the opening of his latest play Packer & Sons, which was supported by the Guild’s David Williamson Prize for Excellence in Writing for Australian Theatre.
Chronicling the lives and patrilineal relationships of the Packer dynasty, Packer & Sons is described as a ‘muscular work’ from one of Australia’s most brilliant playwrights, putting on stage ‘the men who have loomed large over Sydney for nearly a century, following the transitions of power from father to son over three generations’.
The play was commissioned and developed by Belvoir with support from the David Williamson Prize following Leah Purcell’s win in 2017 for the critically-acclaimed The Drover’s Wife. As a result, Belvoir received $80,000 to ensure a new Australian work would be given the time and funds necessary for development, and be programmed for the stage.
‘It is fitting the play’s development was funded via the David Williamson Prize for Excellence in Writing for Australian Theatre, as it is a quintessentially Australian story’, writes The Guardian.
The David Williamson Prize is awarded by the Australian Writers’ Guild each year to the most outstanding script selected from the winners of each of the theatre categories at the AWGIE Awards. The Prize is worth $100,000, with $20,000 of the prize awarded to the playwright of the winning theatre script, and $80,000 going to the theatre company that commissioned and developed it for the stage, with the express purpose of the prize money being used to commission, develop and program a new Australian work. It is made possible by the generous donation of David and Kristin Williamson and Shane and Cathryn Brennan.
In 2020, Sydney Theatre Company will stage the world premiere of the David Williamson Prize-supported Wonnangatta by Angus Cerini.
Previous recipients of the prize include Alana Valentine for Grounded (2013), Andrew Bovell for The Secret River (2014), Finegan Kruckemeyer for The Boy at the Edge of Everything (2015), Angus Cerini for The Bleeding Tree (2016), Leah Purcell for The Drover’s Wife (2017), P.J. Hogan with Kate Miller-Heidke & Keir Nuttall for Muriel’s Wedding the Musical (2018) and Kate Mulvany for The Harp in the South (2019).
Packer & Sons runs from 16 November – 22 December 2019 at Belvoir Street Theatre. Tickets are available here.