The Martin Lysicrates Prize 2018


Sep 6, 2018

Content Tabs


National Theatre of Parramatta, The Lysicrates Foundation and Griffin Theatre Company proudly presents The Martin Lysicrates Prize 2018  for playwrights writing for young people.

In this FREE event, students will be empowered to decide what they get to see on our stages!

The prize, intended to support mid-career playwrights, provides an opportunity for finalists to receive professional development and funding support, and exactly who gets that support is up to the very people the plays are written for – 11-14 year olds. Your students will see the first act of 3 finalist plays presented as dramatic readings by professional actors, after which the winner will be decided on by the students’ votes only. No adults are allowed to vote!

We are thrilled to announce the finalists for this year’s prize:
Farewell Mr Nippy! by Brendan Hogan
Jake Cameron Meet and Greet by Nick Coyle
The Meme and the Moon by Katy Warner

Inspired by the Ancient Greek theatre festivals, born out of democracy, where the audience decided a winner, The Martin Lysicrates Prize is a fun, interactive and entertaining experience for students, giving them scope to learn more about the History of Drama and Theatre as well as developing their interest in Creative Writing and live theatre.

Suitable for Years 7 & 8

Date & Time
Thursday 6th September 11am
Riverside Theatres


Photo: Jessica Lindsay


Submissions for the 2018 Martin Lysicrates Prize are closed. 

If you’re a playwright who has had two or more professional productions produced—or equivalent experience—and you’re working on the first act of a brand new play for children aged 11-14, then we want to hear from you!

How the Prize works:

  • Playwrights submit the first 15 minutes of a new play for children aged 11-14
  • The top three plays receive a week’s rehearsal with a professional team
  • On Thursday 6 September the plays will be performed as a moved reading before an audience of children who will vote for the winning play (adults don’t get to vote!)
  • The winning playwright will receive a full commission to complete the play and the two runners-up will receive a cash prize of $1,000 each

Submit your play here by midnight, Monday 23 July



House by Dan Giovannoni
Part fable, part mad-cap adventure story, House is the story of a little big girl (a little girl who is big), making her way through a magical realm.  The play looks at some of the more challenging aspects of growing up and living in the world – sadness, grief, loneliness – and the need to embrace these elements in order to be a whole and complete person.

The Zookeeper’s Daughter by Verity Laughton
A Circus of Fabulous Beasts, a mysterious box of tricks and a perilous adventure for a young girl and her companions.  The Zookeeper’s Daughter is about bravery, friendship and trust (and a baby Basilisk).

Summerland by Katie Pollock
All the kids understand they must keep quiet about the strange boy they’ve found, that he’ll be in more danger than he already is if the adults know he’s here… Summerland is a holiday adventure of the very best kind, full of excitement and peril, unexpected challenges and the bittersweet lessons of growing up.


In 1832, a 12-year-old Irish-born boy, brought up in the servants’ quarters of Parramatta Government House, made up his mind to get the best high school education the colony had to offer. But the colony’s top school was in Sydney, 13 miles away, and his parents had no money for the carriage fare. So – that determined boy walked, hitched rides, and stayed overnight, and got the finest education in the city, learning Latin and Greek. Overcoming poverty and discrimination, the boy rose to become Premier of New South Wales and Chief Justice, was an architect of the public education system, and built Sydney’s copy of the ancient Lysicrates Monument in Athens. The centre of Sydney is named after him, but he has been completely forgotten until now.


In 334 B.C., the annual drama competition that stopped the city of Athens for a week was won by a wealthy sponsor of the successful troupe of actors. The festival was free, and it was the audience, not an expert panel or an artistic director, that chose the winner.  Democracy and theatre combined. The prestige of the win was enormous, and every year the victorious sponsor built a monument to celebrate. This year the monument – the only one to have survived – was so graceful and lovely that it has been copied all over the world. Ours is in the Botanic Garden.