David Williamson Prize-supported play Big Yikes! opens next month

11 February, 2024

The Australian Writers’ Guild is delighted that Playlab Theatre’s latest mainstage production, Big Yikes! will open next month on 13 March at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

Written by emerging Meanjin playwright Madeleine Border, Big Yikes! is a coming-of-age story that explores the uncertainty of school leaving and champions the path of not-knowing as a valid experience. 
‘Big Yikes! is not a show that tries to tell you what you should do,’ says playwright Madeleine Border. ‘I don’t offer any answers or a straight path forward. Big Yikes! talks about real post-school experiences, however messy and uncomfortable.’

Big Yikes! was developed and produced with the assistance of the Australian Writers’ Guild’s David Williamson Prize, following Maxine Mellor’s win in 2022 for Horizon. Playlab Theatre received $80,000 for dramaturgical and development support to nurture a new Australian work for the stage (Big Yikes!), while Mellor received $20,000 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to Australian playwriting.

Presented since 2013, the David Williamson Prize for Excellence in Writing for Australian Theatre has been made possible by the generous donation of David and Kristin Williamson and Shane and Cathryn Brennan. The 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 express purpose of the fund is to encourage theatre companies to commission, develop and program a new Australian work.

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), Kate Mulvany for The Harp in the South (2019), Suzie Miller for Prima Facie (2020), Claire Della and the Moon (2021) by Ellen Graham and Jamie Hornsby, and Horizon (2022) by Maxine Mellor.

The 2023 David Williamson Prize winner will be announced at the 56th Annual AWGIE Awards this Thursday, 15 February. 
Big Yikes! by Madeleine Border is directed by Ian Lawson and stars Juliete Milne, Billy Fogarty, Tenielle Plunket and Christopher Paton. The season runs March 13-23 2024 and tickets are on sale via playlabtheatre.com.au.