Playwright Jane Bodie has been announced as the winner of the 2019 Lysicrates Prize for her play Tell Me You Love Me. Co-presented by Griffin Theatre Company and The Lysicrates Foundation, the prize—now in its fifth year—celebrates the best new Australian writing.
Tell Me You Love Me was shortlisted alongside Leviathan by Julian Larnach and Appropriate by Katy Warner. Bodie will now receive a full commission of $15,000 to finish the play.
“I’m very honoured and chuffed to win this award. As a playwright, we need as many initiatives like this to continue – so I thank Lee and the Griffin Theatre for this opportunity, along with the actors, my fellow writers (congrats to them for being nominated in this highly competitive award) and the actors, who in a few days, have managed to breathe life into our plays. I’d also like to thank the audience, for coming and supporting new work and voting. I always tell my student writers and myself that plays should be about the things that terrify and intrigue us. My play is about the near-future of algorithms, as how they will affect what we understand as ‘choice’ both fascinates and terrifies me in equal measure. It’s also a play about dementia, about a loved one losing their mind, and as a daughter of a mother with Dementia, this truly terrifies me. We know so little about it as yet, and yet it will affect so many of us, so my play is an exploration of a mind and life being wiped out piece by piece and of where science may go, to try and solve its terrible puzzle. I dedicate this play and award to my mother and to sufferers of dementia and their loved ones,” says Bodie.
Griffin Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Lee Lewis says: “It’s a rare opportunity for playwrights to be able to put their plays in front of an audience at such an early stage in their development. It may only be the first act, but that first act is crucial. To know that you’ve got the audience onside, that they’re invested in the story, that they’re dying to know what happens next, is an invaluable encouragement for a writer to receive. I know that Tell Me You Love Me will be a much stronger play for the experience here today and I can’t wait to see the finished script.”
Jane Bodie is an internationally renowned playwright and screenwriter. Her plays, including Lamb, Savage, Music, Hinterland, This Year’s Ashes, A Single Act, Still, Ride and Fourplay have been performed worldwide, from London to Australia, New York and Brazil. She won the Victorian Premier Literary Award in 2006 for A Single Act and a Green Room Award in 2003 for Still. Jane has written extensively for TV including for The Secret Life of Us, Crash Burn, Tashi and Moving Wallpaper. Her radio work includes Seeing Somebody, In Glass for ABC RN and Well for BBC Radio 4. She is currently adapting This Year’s Ashes for Screen Australia. Her short film Alice, directed by Garth Davis, was the Winner of Best Film in the anthology series POV and was selected for screening at Cannes Film Festival. Jane has worked as dramaturg on many standout productions including Emily Sheehan’s Hell’s Canyon, Katie Beckett’s Which Way Home and Michelle Lee’s Rice. She has worked at The Royal Court Theatre as a writing tutor, at Central School of Speech and Drama on their Writing for Stage and Screen course, and was Head of Playwriting at NIDA from 2009 – 2012. Jane was Associate Artist at Griffin in 2013 and Artistic Associate at Playwriting Australia in 2014. In 2014 she was awarded an Arts Victoria Fellowship to create three new works. Jane has recently written a new play, Water, for Black Swan State Theatre Company, premiering in May 2019.