The winner of Sydney New Theatre’s Silver Gull Play Award 2020 is Gods and Little Fishes by Jamie Oxenbould and Richard Sydenham (pictured). The winning play receives $3000 and each on the shortlist $500 thanks to the sponsorship of The Buzz From Sydney. About Gods and Little Fishes: “I want twenty five thousand pounds this afternoon or I’ll feed him to the sharks”. In June 1960, travelling salesman Basil Thorne won 100,000 pounds in the Opera House Lottery. Five weeks later jubilation turns to tragedy when Basil’s eight-year-old son Graeme is kidnapped and held to ransom. On 16 August, 1960, Graeme’s body was found in bushland at Seaforth. Gods And Little Fishes is loosely based on this tragic event. It’s a magical story of a man’s grief, told through the imaginary world of his lost child’s beloved toys...a bear, a clown and a circus strongman. A grieving father, Frank, is thrust into the very same fantasy world inhabited by his son’s toys, where they will help him navigate a path to acceptance. Switching from a floating shipwreck (the toys’ domain) - to a 1950’s suburban kitchen (Franksworld) - Gods and Little Fishes taps into Australian theatres vaudeville roots to tell a darkly comic tale about one of Sydney’s darkest secrets.There was a huge response to the Silver Gull Play Award this year, with the plays displaying a wide variety of subject matter and a high standard of writing. The shortlist of five was particularly strong, with three other plays being given a 'Highly Commended'. The judging panel of Annie Bilton (former Literary Manager, Griffin Theatre Co; Play Assessor, New Theatre), Louise Fischer (Artistic Director, New Theatre), Patrick Howard (freelance theatre-maker; Play Assessor, New Theatre), John Keightley (actor; Play Assessor, New Theatre), Joy Minter (Director, The Buzz From Sydney), Katie Pollock (award-winning playwright) and Luke Rogers (Artistic Director, Canberra Youth Theatre) didn't have an easy task. But, after much deliberation, a winner was selected.
The Silver Gull Play Award 2020 shortlist Victim by Jeanette Cronin God’s Gruesome Shadow on the Wall by Kian Farzam The Scream by Justin Fleming Gods and Little Fishes by Jamie Oxenbould and Richard Sydenham The Park by Simon Thomson Highly Commended Syrian Sea by James Elazzi The Interpretation of Dreams by Clare Hennessy Slow Burn by Alison Rooke