Brisbane Playwright Maxine Mellor Wins 2023 Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award

December 3, 2023

Maxine Mellor

I am always full of admiration for people who writes plays and when I heard that Brisbane playwright, Maxine Mellor had won the 2023 Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award I was in awe of her talent. She Society had to know more. Maxine’s play O’Mighty Make – Believe was a unanimous choice of the Trustees after a blind reading of 2023 entries. It was announced at the Seaborn Broughton and Walford Foundation (SBW) Christmas Party by Diana Simmonds, Chair of Trustees.

The $20, 000 award, for the development of a play or other approved performing arts project, attracted close to 50 submissions from across Australia. The runners up were James Elazzi for his play Concrete and (a previous SBW winner) Dylan Van den Berg for his play The Flood.

Maxine was unable to attend the awards as she was home in Brisbane with her five – week old baby. On hearing of this honour Maxine said, “Thank you so much for this amazing honour – I am absolutely thrilled to bits. I wish I could be there in person to celebrate, but I welcomed a little baby boy into the world only weeks ago, so life is currently a blur dictated almost exclusively by his stomach and sleep.”

Maxine thanked the foundation and judges as well as the runners up before continuing, “I love that this award seeks to highlight positive values – it encourages us playwrights to look for the light when the world can seem very dark… O’Mighty Make – Believe was a return to joy for me, the joy of writing, the joy of performance, the joy of make – believe. While this play may have its darkness, what I hope shines through is the joy of creation; that with nothing more than body, voice and a little light, artist and audience can create a whole world together.”

Terence Clarke AM – composer, director, actor and dramaturg commented after reading the award – winning play, “An exercise in make – believe by two performers’ of unspecified age and gender, through Two – addressed as Doris and for a time Vanessa – is certainly more submissive to One’s more dominant – Estragon or Vladimir? I began by seriously underestimating this but carried on. In calling it – rather in asking us to consider it as ‘an extended improvisation’, I think the author is not judging it so much as suggesting to directors and actors a way into it. “

He further acknowledged the humour in the play saying, “It never loses its humorous tone: I laughed out loud more than once. I’m going out on a limb here, but I think its brilliant. We shall hear more of her. “

Maxine Mellor is an award – winning playwright and teaching artist, drawn to Magical Realism and black comedy. She has won many awards including the David Williamson Award for Playwriting (2022), The Queensland Premier’s Drama Award in 2012 plus so many more. She was the Queensland Theatre’s Young Playwright of the Year (2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005).

Productions include Breaking, The Wind in the Willows and Trollop. She is currently supported by Screen Australia to adapt her play Anna Robi & The House of Dogs into a feature film. The latter was produced by Red Line at the Old Fitz in 2010 and was critically acclaimed. Maxine will use her prize money to further develop O’ Mighty Make – Believe. I look forward to seeing this magical work on stage in the future.

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