Mark Kilmurry, Artistic Director, Ensemble Theatre today announced that the 2021 Ensemble Theatre Sandra Bates Director’s Award (SBDA) has been awarded to Ursula Yovich (pictured).
Ursula will work on two plays throughout next year and will receive $8,000. Mark Kilmurry initiated the Award as a legacy to former Artistic Director Sandra Bates after she retired from her 30 years at the helm of Ensemble Theatre. Each year winners are offered a paid position of Assistant Director on two of Ensemble Theatre’s main stage productions and assist in the ongoing creative development of new works. ‘I am in awe of Ursula’s talent and having seen her work as an actor and writer and her work at the Ensemble with The Fever and the Fret for a play reading development, I know this will be an exciting relationship in the rehearsal room. I am thrilled Ursula is able to work with us in 2021’ said Mark Kilmurry. Ursula is the writer/performer of works including Magpie Blues, The Man with the Iron Neck and Barbara and the Camp Dogs. Barbara and the Camp Dogs (co-written with Alana Valentine) premiered at Sydney’s Belvoir Street Theatre in 2017 with Ursula in the starring role. It was nominated for an AWGIE award and won Helpmann awards for Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Actress in a Musical. Ursula was the recipient of the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award. Ursula is the voice of ‘Levi’ in the NITV/SBS children’s animated TV series, Little J & Big Cuz, on which she is also a writer. In addition, she is a multi-award-winning actor. Her stage and film credits include Wayne Blair’s Top End Wedding, Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, Ivan Sen’s Goldstone and Ray Lawrence’s Jindabyne. On television Ursula has had leading roles in The Code, Devil’s Dust, Redfern Now, The Gods of Wheat Street and, most recently, the third series of Wanted. Since making her theatre debut at Belvoir, Ursula has worked for all the major main stage theatre companies in Australia. Between 2008 and 2017 Ursula intermittently toured Australia and internationally with the musicians of Black Arm Band. The SBDA is now in its sixth year and is kindly supported by Jinnie and Ross Gavin. Previous Winners of the Sandra Bates Director’s Award: 2020: Rachel Chant and Warwick Doddrell 2019: Erin Taylor and Adam Deusien 2018: Liz Arday and Felicity Nicol 2017: Shaun Rennie and Francesca Savige 2016: Priscilla Jackman and Janine Watson