A powerful, compassionate examination of tragedy and human resilience.
In January 2003, a State Rail train travelling from Sydney to Port Kembla derailed just south of Waterfall station. Seven people were killed and dozens injured in what became known as the Waterfall train disaster. A Special Commission of Inquiry concluded that the accident could have been avoided if earlier safety warnings regarding the `deadman’s emergency brake’ had not been ignored.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of this tragic event, Merrigong is honoured to commission and produce this new work from critically-acclaimed playwright Alana Valentine. Using verbatim sources including the Inquiry transcript, as well as original text, the play explores the impact of this tragedy, not only on the individuals involved, but on the community as a whole.
At the heart of the work is an acknowledgment of those who, after tragedies such as Waterfall, are brought in to counsel survivors and the families of victims. Through the words of these extraordinary individuals, the work explores profound questions about the nature of tragedy, offering a compassionate insight into the human condition. Dead Man Brake is ultimately an uplifting and powerful examination of human resilience in the face of tragedy. More Info »
It was a fairytale finish for the winners of the Annual AWGIE Awards, which were held on Friday 4 October in the Plaza Ballroom, Melbourne.
Hosted by Sammy J, the awards now in their 46th year, celebrate the integral role of the writer in Australian film, television, theatre radio and interactive media. The AWGIE Awards are the only Australian awards judged solely by writers on the basis of the script – the writer's own vision.
AWG President Jan Sardi said, “The calibre of this year’s nominees is testimony to the outstanding achievement of this year's AWGIE Award winners, judged by their peers as being the best in what has been a top shelf year for Australian performance writing”.
The Sydney Morning Herald called it "Valentine's Day" after playwright Alana Valentine was the toast of the evening picking up three awards including the Major AWGIE Award for Most Outstanding Script of 2013 and the inaugural David Williamson Prize. David Williamson AO was in attendance, as Senator the Hon. George Brandis QC, Attorney-General, Minister for the Arts presented Valentine with the $25,000 prize.
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Ear to the Edge of Time, by Australian playwright Alana Valentine, is the winner of the 5th STAGE International Script Competition for the best new play about science and technology. The script was chosen from nearly 200 entries from a dozen countries and announced as the winner live on air on the BBC World Service Science in Action program on August 10th. STAGE will present the award to Alana at a ceremony in Dublin on October 21, 2012.
Valentine’s play was selected by a world-class panel of judges: Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights Tony Kushner (Angels in America) David Lindsay- Abaire and Donald Margulies; Nobel Laureates Robert C. Richardson and Frank Wilczek; and winner of the U.S. National Medal of Science and the Franklin Medal, Dr. David J. Wineland. The US-based STAGE award, which is designed to bridge the divide between art and science, is admired among playwrights for the opportunities it brings and the rich $10,000 prize. Read the full press release »
Alana Valentine's writing has been nominated for 2011 Queensland Premier's Award for Best Drama Script, 2007 Helpmann Awards for Best New Australian Work and Best Play, awarded the 2004 Queensland Premier's Award for Best Drama Script, the 2003 NSW Writer's Fellowship, the 2002 Rodney Seaborn Playwright's Award and an International Writing Fellowship at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London.
She also received a 2001 commendation for the Louis Esson Prize, a 1999 AWGIE Award, a residency at the Banff Playwrights' Conference in Canada, the ANPC/New Dramatists Award in NYC and a Churchill Fellowship, the NSW Premier's Award and a Centenary Medal. Alana is well known for her rigorous use of research within the community she is writing about. This is evident in her popular 2004 play Run Rabbit Run about South Sydney League's Club's fight for survival and 2007's sell-out season of Parramatta Girls at Belvoir Street Theatre about the infamous Girls Training School, Parramatta.