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Australia's richest playwright competition finds a winner

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N E W S R E L E A S E T h e H on C on S c i a c c a Μ P M i n i s t e r f o r V e t e r a n s ' A f f a i r s

M i n i s t e r A s s i s t i n g t h e

T r e a s u r e r f o r S u p e r a n n u a t i o n


The $20,000 Australia Remembers National Playwriting Competition launched by the Minister for Veterans' Affair's on 16 February of this year was today won by John Misto of Kensington NSW for his play The Shoehorn 'Sonata. .

The competition, which called for the submission of unpublished plays commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, resulted in over 150 entries from all States and Territories in Australia.

Mr Sciacca said he was thrilled with the response to the play competition and hoped the winning entry would find its way into print to become yet another lasting legacy of the Australia Remembers year.

"Australia Remembers was all about rediscovering our past; about thanking a heroic generation that went through a world depression followed by a world war; and about creating a generational bridge that teaches modern Australia the best about the human spirit; and in particular the best about the spirit that is particularly Australian," Mr Sciacca said.

He said that The Shoehorn Sonata was a play inspired by the actual events which occurred in Sumatra during World War 11 when 150,000 Australian, British and Dutch women were captured and imprisoned by the Japanese.

The story is told primarily in flashback when Bridie and Sheila, both survivors of the Japanese internment, meet after 50 years at a reunion organised by a documentary maker. As the moving story of unrelenting deprivation and sacrifice unfolds we find that one of the women paid a terrible price for the life

of the other.

As the two women come to terms with the past, so too they come to recognise the true debt to each other and the strength of their enduring friendship.

Mr Sciacca said entries for the play competition closed on VP Day with an expert panel of judges reviewing the plays into a shortlist then forwarding the shortlisted plays to a national judging panel.


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This panel was comprised of Professor Peter Laveiy (Head, Queensland University of Technology, Academy of the Arts); Mr Aubrey Mellor (Artistic Director, Playbox Theatre Company, Melbourne); Mr Maurie Fields, who sadly passed away earlier this week, (Television and Theatre Actor and World War

11 Veteran); Ms Sue Gough (Bulletin Magazine Theatre Critic, Novelist and Freelance Writer); and Mr Ame Neeme (Freelance Theatre Director, Actors Centre, Sydney).

Mr Sciacca said the judges were high in them praise of the overall standard of entries where personal memories were unlocked by many of the writers while others were unlocked through hard research. -"· - * >

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‘He hoped that the The Shoehorn Sonata would be picked up by a publisher so that it could forever be seen as a lasting legacy that came out of the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

"No play can tell all the untold stories of Australia's involvement in World War 11 but the story in The Shoehorn Sonata has been told well and deserves to find its way into print," Mr- Sciacca said.

The Australia Remembers National Playwriting Competition was proudly supported by the Department of Veterans' Affairs; The Queensland Performing Arts Trust; The Department of Employment, Education and Training and the National Association for Drama In Education.

As was outlined in the conditions of entry the judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

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For further information contact: Greg Rudd on (06) 277 7820 or 018 626663 or Carolyn Rappel on (07) 3840 7584

21 December 1995