Gillian Crowhurst was at the presentation to capture the excitement of the winners

The writing team of Holly Austin, Adriano Cappelletta and Jo Turner were today awarded the NSW Philip Parsons Fellowship for Emerging Playwrights at the Belvoir Theatre for their play Ruby’s Wish, a story about a young girl with a life-threatening illness.

Ruby’s Wish was a beautiful and joyous show that started in a drab hospital ward but took its audience on journey into a dynamic world of imagination and hope,” said Anthea Williams, judge and Belvoir’s Associate Director – New Work. “The outward simplicity of the story made the emotional complexity and theatrical dynamics of the work all the more exciting,” she added. “I’m thrilled Holly, Adriano and Jo will be working with the team here at Belvoir on their next all ages production.”

As part of the Fellowship, the team must also pitch, and receive a commission to create, a new work for the Belvoir. Called Paradise, their new play will explore the global refugee crisis in a way that is accessible for families.

“As playwrights we want to tell stories that have hope and celebrate the power of the imagination,” said Adriano. “Our next challenge is to create an uplifting, hope filled show for family audiences that tackles the reality of the current refugee crisis and Australia’s deeply complacent response to it, without leaving people feeling helpless, but inspired and wanting to take action,” he added. “As artists, it’s time to get political. It’s time to agitate for change.”

“Like Ruby’s Wish, Paradise will take subject matter not usually associated with work for children as their starting point; this time, the plight of refugees and Australia’s response to the situation,” said Anthea. “We’re excited to be working with this outstanding team and we are looking forward to developing this work.”

Since 2003, the NSW Philip Parsons Fellowship for Emerging Playwrights (formerly the Young Playwright’s Award) has been awarded annually to an outstanding playwright who is in their first eight years of professional practice.

“We’d like to thank the Belvoir and Arts NSW. It’s an absolute thrill and an honour to receive this fellowship. It’s an awesome way to finish 2016,” said Jo on behalf of the writing team.

“The award is for emerging playwrights. As you can probably tell from the combined number of grey hairs up here, it’s been awhile since we emerged,” he added. “But I can happily state that eight years ago, none of us had written anything successful enough to be called a play.”

“We are three people, not one, and as a trio, we are definitely at the beginning of our careers as playwrights,” added Jo. “The project that we develop from this Fellowship will be our third work as a collective, the other two being Cubby House and Ruby’s Wish.”

The Fellowship is open to artists based in New South Wales, who have had a play produced or read in the past 12 months. Past winners of the Fellowship include Nakkiah Lui (Kill the Messenger), S. Shakthidharan (A Counting and Cracking of Heads), Julia-Rose Lewis (Samson), Kit Brookman (Small and Tired), Zoë Coombs Marr (Is This Thing On?) and Matthew Whittet (Seventeen).

The Fellowship is awarded in conjunction with the Philip Parsons Memorial Lecture. The Fellowship and Lecture commemorate the life and work of Philip Parsons, AM. Dr Parsons was an influential teacher and mentor to many of Australia’s young theatre artists.

The Philip Parsons Fellowship for Emerging Playwrights is supported by Arts NSW.