On Friday, 30th January 2015, Steve Rodgers was awarded the inaugural Lysicrates Prize, receiving a full $12,500 Griffin Theatre Company commission, as voted by audience at Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music. The Lysicrates Prize was founded by Patricia and John Azarias, in conjunction with Griffin Theatre Company and the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. Mike Baird – Premier NSW, Luke Foley – NSW Opposition Leader, and Industry Leaders were amongst the audience.
Steve Rodgers was amongst three finalists who were shortlisted to submit the first act of a new play. The two runners-up Justin Fleming and Lally Katz each received a $1,000 cash prize. This innovative new Australian playwriting competition was inspired by the imminent restoration of an historic monument in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden: The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates.
JESUS WANTS ME FOR A MOONBEAM by Steve Rogers is a play adapted from the novella by Peter Goldsworthy. It is an evocative, haunting, moving tale about loss and familial relationships, a husband and wife, parents and children, brother and sister. It explores the nature of an ideal family, and their quest to define their lives through each other, isolating themselves from the outside world. The play is rumination on a kind of suffocating love.
Lee Lewis, Griffin Artistic Director says of Steve’s win, “The heart inside Steve Rodger’s play is extraordinary. He is one of our great storytellers, both as an actor and a writer, and I am thrilled that the audience has chosen this play to commission. At a time when so many plays are about fragmented lives, a story of the strength that lies inside the idea of family is one to cherish.”
The three shortlisted plays were: Steve Rodgers adaptation of Peter Goldsworthy’s novella of the same name, JESUS WANTS ME FOR A SUNBEAM directed by Darren Yap with actors: Jennifer Hagan, Anthony Harkin, Natalie O’Donnell, Steve Rodgers, Govinda Röser-Finch.
Lally Katz’s THE FORTUNE, a new black comedy about keeping it together in a world that’s coming apart at the seams, directed by Kate Gaul with actors: Briallen Clarke, Anni Finsterer, Sean Hawkins, Russell Kiefel.
And, Justin Fleming’s adaptation of Molière’s play THE SAVVY WOMEN, directed by Kate Edwards with actors: Andrea Demetriades, Morgan Powell, Fiona Press, and Christopher Stollery.
Steve Rodgers’ plays have included RAY’S TEMPEST (Belvoir/MTC), SAVAGE RIVER (Griffin Theatre Company/MTC/Tasmania Theatre Company) and FOOD (Belvoir).
Over the year, Steve’s work has been nominated for the Patrick White Playwrights’ Award, Best New Australian Work at the Sydney Theatre Awards and a NSW Premiers Literary Award.
Steve Rodgers said, “JESUS WANTS ME FOR A SUNBEAM isn’t a play yet. It’s just a bunch of scenes and ideas adapted from Peter Goldsworthy’s novel. But because of The Lysicrates Prize, we now get the chance to develop it into a truly important New Australian Play. I’m over the moon.”
He went on to say, “Philanthropy of this kind in Australia isn’t common, so obviously I’m more than thrilled. This play is about family and explores a kind of love that in one moment you’re completely in sympathy with, and the next, you’re reeling away from in horror. The Lysicrates Prize gives us the chance, to hopefully unleash all that familial complexity on an audience.”