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OTYP Announces Winner of Riverina Playwright Commission

Outback Theatre for Young People announced Julian Larnach as the winner of the EMERGE: Riverina Playwright Commission, today.

Julian’s Play, M.I.A, will be developed through a comprehensive mentoring process with Jessica Bellamy, and is set to premiere at Griffith Regional Theatre in June 2015, tour to Deniliquin and finish with a season at Australian Theatre for Young People in Sydney.

The play examines the early interactions between Griffith farmers and the Calabrian mafia – both friendly and feisty – and the repercussions felt by the next generation. It taps into a very difficult period in rural young people’s lives – the pressures to stay, the thrust to leave.

The play is also thematically inspired by the role water plays in rural Australia. Julian says ‘growing up, water was a constant topic of conversation from small talk at the bus stop to large-scale strategies around the dinner table.’

As part of the award, OTYP will nurture Julian’s professional growth through a mentoring process in 2014, resulting in a play that shares an authentic regional voice and resonates with our communities in South West NSW.

Julian says, ‘it is an amazing honour to be awarded this commission. As an emerging writer, it stands as an incredible vote of confidence. The commission will give me the time, the headspace and the resources to develop something truly special and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity. I hope that through the combination of my own personal experiences of rural New South Wales, my extensive research on the area, and my consultation with young people, I am able to tell a story that resonates with the people who live here.’

‘My mum and her family grew up in the area so it’s always been in my periphery vision and central to my understanding of the world. Growing up in a cattle farm in regional New South Wales my experience of theatre was limited to Shakespeare and bi-yearly school musicals. The Outback Theatre for Young People is a great company as it realises that theatre has the capacity to shine a light on the manifold experience of regional Australia in an honest and imaginative way.’

In 2013, Julian was Affiliate Writer at Griffin Theatre Company and was shortlisted for Playwriting Australia’s Re-Gen Seed Commission. His play Umami was developed through an Australia Council JUMP Mentorship and was selected for a National Script Workshop through Playwriting Australia.

Creative Producer Claire Harris says ‘thisis the first time OTYP has commissioned a work from a young playwright, and one with such a strong connection to the area in which we work. We are very excited to be able to offer this opportunity to Julian and work towards developing an authentic, regional story while mentoring him through the next stage of his journey as a playwright.’

For more information call Creative Producer Claire Harris on 0417 164 641 or email Claire@outbacktheatre.com

The commission is proudly supported by Arts NSW, The Australia Council, The Ian Potter Foundation and Copyright Agency Limited’s Cultural Fund.