Photo Flash: Mary Rachel Brown, Campion Decent and Elise Hearst Named Finalists for Griffin's 2016 Lysicrates Prize

Three finalists have been announced for the second annual Lysicrates Prize, produced by Griffin Theatre Company and inspired by the restoration of the Lysicrates Monument on the band lawn of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, which celebrates its 200th Birthday in 2016. Scroll down for photos!

20 playwrights have each submitted the first act of a new play and the following three finalists were selected by a two-stage process:

Mary Rachel Brown (Sydney) Approximate Balance
Campion Decent (Melbourne) Saint Theo
Elise Hearse (Melbourne) The Good Wolf

On 29 January, the audience (of approximately 500) will watch a staged reading of the first act of each play, then vote on the one they most want to see developed into a complete play. The winning playwright will receive a full commission ($12,500) from Griffin to finish the play.

The Lysicrates Prize for playwriting is supported by the Lysicrates Foundation created by John and Patricia Azarias, with two aims: to provide encouragement to Australia's playwriting talent, and to help restore the beautiful monument in the Garden.

In 2014, the inaugural Lysicrates Prize winner was Steve Rodgers' Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam. The audience response to The Literati, one of the other short-listed plays, was so enthusiastic that it has been programmed as a co-production between Bell Shakespeare and Griffin in 2016.

The play competition and the restoration are also an outstanding example of public/private cooperation. The initial funding was provided by a group of philanthropists and the NSW Government made a matching contribution.

MARY RACHEL BROWN

Mary was a member of the 2014 Griffin Studio. Her play The Dapto Chaser was presented in Griffin's 2015 Independent season and is opening Hothouse Theatre's 2016 season. Mary recently had her new play Silent Night developed at PWA'S 2015 National Script Workshop.

She is the recipient of the 2006 Griffin Award, the 2007 Max Afford Award, and the 2008 Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award. Her playLast Letters is currently on at The Australian War Memorial. Mary's work has been given showcased public readings by the National Playwriting Festival (Australia) and the English Speaking Theatre (Berlin). In 2009 Mary's play Permission To Spin was selected from an international field for the hotINK play festival in New York.

Approximate Balance
This is a story that questions and tests the limits of familial love and obligation. It follows the Lightfoot family as they struggle to overcome the damage incurred by their son's drug addiction. The battle to separate the past from the present, and the addiction from the person, seem impossible - a young Filipino woman offers the family a unique perspective on how to heal, and proves we can find family where we least expect it.

CAMPION DECENT

Campion's work as a playwright includes Unholy Ghosts which won the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award (Griffin Independent/White Box Theatre), and Embers which won an AWGIE and the Queensland Premier's Literary Award for Drama Script (Sydney Theatre Company). He has worked in the arts in a variety of roles, including Artistic Director of HotHouse Theatre, Literary Manager at STC, Artistic Director of Next Wave Festival, and Festival Director for SGLMG.

Saint Theo
A dark comedy of one man's experience of life, death, sex and Gilbert and Sullivan. An apathetic thespian, Theodore couldn't be happier to be struck by lightning. He celebrates in a country graveyard with a mysterious young visitor and a woman in a pirate hat, the Penzance type. Follow him on his philosophical quest, punctuated by show tunes. Is he a saint or a sinner? The devil isn't keen on recruiting a virgin and heaven has their doubts.

ELISE HEARST

Between 2006 and 2008 Elise lived in London, attending the Royal Court Theatre's Young Writers' Programme. Readings and performances of her work were shown at Trafalgar Studios, The Soho Theatre, The Hampstead Theatre and Theatre503. Recent Australian credits include The Mesh (Red Stitch and Arthur), The Reckoning (Fairly Lucid Productions), The Sea Project (Griffin Theatre Company and Arthur, Mudlark Theatre and Arthur, MTC Cybec Readings), Dirtyland (National Play Festival, New Theatre and Arthur), and She's a Little Finch (MKA). Elise also held a 2010 residency with Griffin. Upcoming projects in 2016 include Bright World (Theatre Works and Arthur) and From Here to Maternity.

The Good Wolf
Loosely based on Elise's experience of her Jewish identity, The Good Wolf is about identity and legacy. What do we owe our ancestors who struggled, fought, and lost so much so that we might exist? Do we owe them allegiance to our faith and community? Naomi wrestles with these philosophical questions through many encounters with her past, present, and future. A romantic comedy crossed with drama and tragedy.

EVENT DETAILS:

· Date & Time: Friday 29 January 2016, 4pm

· Venue: Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

· Price: free. Over 500 people are expected to attend so bookings are required online at welcome.griffintheatre.com.au

Photo Flash: Mary Rachel Brown, Campion Decent and Elise Hearst Named Finalists for Griffin's 2016 Lysicrates Prize
Lee Lewis, Artistic Director of Griffin Theatre Company, and Kim Ellis

Photo Flash: Mary Rachel Brown, Campion Decent and Elise Hearst Named Finalists for Griffin's 2016 Lysicrates Prize
Lysicrates Monument, Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney. Photo by Jaime Plaza.

Photo Flash: Mary Rachel Brown, Campion Decent and Elise Hearst Named Finalists for Griffin's 2016 Lysicrates Prize
Lysicrates Monument, Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney. Photo by Jaime Plaza.

Photo Flash: Mary Rachel Brown, Campion Decent and Elise Hearst Named Finalists for Griffin's 2016 Lysicrates Prize
Lysicrates Monument, Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney. Photo by Jaime Plaza.

Photo Flash: Mary Rachel Brown, Campion Decent and Elise Hearst Named Finalists for Griffin's 2016 Lysicrates Prize
Assesment work prior to cleaning and restoration work of the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. Photo by Jaime Plaza.

Photo Flash: Mary Rachel Brown, Campion Decent and Elise Hearst Named Finalists for Griffin's 2016 Lysicrates Prize
Assesment work prior to cleaning and restoration work of the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. Photo by Jaime Plaza.

Photo Flash: Mary Rachel Brown, Campion Decent and Elise Hearst Named Finalists for Griffin's 2016 Lysicrates Prize
Assesment work prior to cleaning and restoration work of the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. Photo by Jaime Plaza.

Photo Flash: Mary Rachel Brown, Campion Decent and Elise Hearst Named Finalists for Griffin's 2016 Lysicrates Prize
Steve Rodgers, Lee Lewis and Darren Yap

Photo Flash: Mary Rachel Brown, Campion Decent and Elise Hearst Named Finalists for Griffin's 2016 Lysicrates Prize
Lee Lewis, Dominic Perrottet, Rob Stokes, Patricia Azarias, Kim Ellis, Mike Baird and John Azarias

Photo Flash: Mary Rachel Brown, Campion Decent and Elise Hearst Named Finalists for Griffin's 2016 Lysicrates Prize
Jessica Lindsay

Photo Flash: Mary Rachel Brown, Campion Decent and Elise Hearst Named Finalists for Griffin's 2016 Lysicrates Prize
Steve Rodgers

Photo Flash: Mary Rachel Brown, Campion Decent and Elise Hearst Named Finalists for Griffin's 2016 Lysicrates Prize
Lysicrates Prize event at Brughen Hall

Photo Flash: Mary Rachel Brown, Campion Decent and Elise Hearst Named Finalists for Griffin's 2016 Lysicrates Prize
2014's THE LITERATI

Photo Flash: Mary Rachel Brown, Campion Decent and Elise Hearst Named Finalists for Griffin's 2016 Lysicrates Prize2014's THE LITERATI

Photo Flash: Mary Rachel Brown, Campion Decent and Elise Hearst Named Finalists for Griffin's 2016 Lysicrates Prize
2014 winner Steve Rodgers' JESUS WANTS ME FOR A SUNBEAM


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