Kate Mulvany has won a trifecta at the 2019 Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE Awards, taking home three awards for The Harp in the South, her adaptation of Ruth Park’s trilogy of novels.
Kate Mulvany. Photograph © Sally Flegg
The AWGIE Awards, now in their 52nd year, honour Australian stage and screen writers. All categories are judged by writers and are based on the script rather than the final production.
Mulvany’s two-part adaptation won the Major Award, which is presented to the best script across all categories. She also took home the Stage Award, and the $100,000 David Williamson Prize for Theatre, which is selected from the winners of the various theatre categories. Funded by Cathryn and Shane Brennan, and Kirstin and David Williamson, $20,000 of the Prize is awarded to the playwright, and $80,000 goes to the theatre company that commissioned and developed it for the stage, with the express purpose of commissioning, developing and programming another new Australian work.
Mulvany’s two-part stage adaptation of The Harp in the South was commissioned by Sydney Theatre Company, which premiered it in August 2018, winning a four-and-a-half star review from Limelight. Last year’s winner of the David Williamson Prize was PJ Hogan for Muriel’s Wedding the Musical, which was also premiered by Sydney Theatre Company in association with Global Creatures, and which is now on a national tour.
Other works nominated for this year’s Stage Award were Michele Lee’s Going Down, Toby Schmitz’s Degenerate Art, H. Lawrence Sumner’s The Long Forgotten Dream, and Lachlan Philpott’s The Lost Boys.
The Award for Community and Youth Theatre went to Noëlle Janaczewska for Yellow Yellow Sometimes Blue, while Vanessa Bates won the Award for Theatre for Young Audiences for A Ghost in my Suitcase.
Among the other awards, Best Feature Film was won by Tony McNamara with Deborah Davis for The Favourite, the Award for Comedy – Situation or Narrative went to Tim Minchin for Upright: ‘Day Eight’, and the Fred Parsons Award for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Comedy was won by Magda Szubanski.
Mulvany, who is a prolific writer and actor, was not able to receive her awards in person as she is currently in the US performing in the 10-part US TV series The Hunt for Amazon Prime Video. Inspired by real events, it follows a group of Nazi hunters living in New York in 1977 and features a cast that includes Al Pacino, Logan Lerman and Lena Olin.