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Best New Australian Work
Subcategory of Sydney Theatre Awards
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Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2019

winner y separately published work icon Counting and Cracking S. Shakthidharan , 2019 Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2020 14530930 2019 single work drama

'On the banks of the Georges River, Radha and her son Siddhartha release the ashes of Radha’s mother – their final connection to the past, to Sri Lanka and its struggles. Now they are free to embrace their lives in Australia. Then a phone call from Colombo brings the past spinning back to life, and we are plunged into an epic story of love and political strife, of home and exile, of parents and children

'Counting and Cracking is a big new play about Australia like none we’ve seen before. This is life on a large canvas, so we are leaving Belvoir St and building a Sri Lankan town hall inside Sydney Town Hall. Sixteen actors play four generations of a family, from Colombo to Pendle Hill, in a story about Australia as a land of refuge, about Sri Lanka’s efforts to remain united, about reconciliation within families, across countries, across generations.'

Source: Belvoir St Theatre.

Year: 2018

winner y separately published work icon The Harp in the South Trilogy : The Play : Parts One and Two Kate Mulvany , Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2018 11940858 2018 single work drama

'A great Australian novel. A landmark theatre event. A portrait of Sydney as it once was.

'The world premieres of The Harp in the South: Part One and The Harp in the South: Part Two are designed to be enjoyed as one unforgettable, epic theatrical experience.

'This major new work is one of the most ambitious productions STC has ever created. Celebrated playwright Kate Mulvany has adapted novelist Ruth Park’s revered Australian trilogy – Missus, The Harp in the South and Poor Man’s Orange – and spread these beloved stories across two equally ambitious plays.

'The two parts stand alone, but together they offer over five hours of monumental, exuberant theatre. It’s a moving family saga and a celebration of Sydney in all its funny, gritty glory.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2017

winner Shit Patricia Cornelius , 2015 single work drama
— Appears in: Muff [and] MinusOneSister [and] SHIT 2017;

'What of the women and girls who defy gender demarcations, who transgress the boundaries and restraints of social order and expectation?

'When a girl spits, or swears, or screams, or shouts, or pulls down her pants to moon someone from a car, or she laughs too loudly, or she’s too shrill, or she pulls up her t-shirt and flashes her tits, or she fights, really fights, head butts and with her fists, or she fucks too much or cuts her hair too short, and wears too much lipstick or none at all, or tells everyone she’s got a dick and she’s not a girl at all, all we want to do with this girl is lock her up and throw away the key. Out of control girls – angry, nasty girls – are a sight to behold. They’re terrifying, electrifying, they’re everything girls shouldn’t be, and we hate them.

'This is a work about these girls.

'Their names are Billy, Bobby and Sam.

'There’s not a single moment when the three young women transcend their ugliness. There’s no indication of a better, or in fact any, inner life. They don’t believe in anything. They’re mean, foul-mouthed, downtrodden, hard-bitten, utterly damaged women. They’re neither salt of the earth nor sexy. They love no one and no one loves them. They believe the world is shit, that their lives are shit, that they are shit.' (Production summary)

Year: 2016

winner y separately published work icon The Drover's Wife Leah Purcell , Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2016 11151204 2016 single work drama

'If anyone can write a full-throttle drama of our colonial past, it’s the indomitable Leah Purcell.

'We all know Henry Lawson’s story of the Drover’s Wife. Her stoic silhouette against an unforgiving landscape, her staring down of the serpent; it’s the frontier myth captured in a few pages. In Leah’s new play the old story gets a very fresh rewrite. Once again the Drover’s Wife is confronted by a threat in her yard, but now it’s a man. He’s bleeding, he’s got secrets, and he’s black. She knows there’s a fugitive wanted for killing whites, and the district is thick with troopers, but something’s holding the Drover’s Wife back from turning this fella in…

'A taut thriller of our pioneering past, with a black sting to the tail, The Drover’s Wife reaches from our nation’s infancy into our complicated present. And best of all, Leah’s playing the Wife herself.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2015

winner The Bleeding Tree Angus Cerini , 2015 single work drama

'In an isolated farmhouse, outside a small country town – a woman and her daughters have just killed their abusive man of the house. Known throughout the district as a cur and a dog, the women set about disposing of his body. However their task becomes fraught when several of the local villagers choose to pay a visit and grow suspicious at their behaviour – will their act become exposed before they can dispose of the body? A lyrical exploration of family, violence and revenge against a backdrop of a brutal, rural Australian landscape.' (Play summary)

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