QPAS 2024 Award Winner - Tom Ballard

Tom Ballard

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Tom Ballard takes home the 2024 Queer Playwriting Award with “The Queer Kingdom”

In its ninth year, the Queer Playwriting Award Showcase was presented to Midsumma Festival audiences at Gasworks Arts Park. Aided by audience feedback gathered on the night, the selection panellists convened and announced on 27 February that The Queer Kingdom, also entitled: A Comprehensive and Profoundly Queer Accounting of The Brief (Yet GLORIOUS) History of The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands - A Gay Fantasia On (Micro)National Themes by Tom Ballard will take home the 2024 Queer Playwriting Award. Ballard is set to work alongside Gasworks and Midsumma over the next year to deliver a full work for Midsumma Festival audiences in 2025.

“I'm fully stoked and filled with queer joy to be selected as the winner of this year's QPAS. I can't wait to bring the full story of the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands to the Gasworks stage, so that future audiences may laugh and cry and revel in its full insanity.
I'm very grateful to Midsumma and Gasworks for this opportunity, I'd like to say a huge thank you to my dramaturg Stephen Niccolazzo and our brilliant cast for all their hard work, and I want to congratulate my fellow QPAS finalists on their funny, moving and inspiring work. Hurrah for queer theatre." – Tom Ballard, playwright - The Queer Kingdom

Four actors on stage with dramatic expressions on their faces

“A huge congratulations to all of the 2024 finalists on delivering a night of highly entertaining, diverse and warmly received readings this year, that moved us, made us laugh, made us think, and left us wanting more. The audience are to be commended for being so engaged and for offering such valuable feedback to the playwrights, which is integral to the process as they continue developing their work.

“The whole QPAS process, from application to Showcase, is an 8 month journey. All of the playwrights should be immensely proud of the culmination of their hard work, resourcefulness and creativity. They assembled talented teams of actors and directors to create a very special night of theatre, one that is an annual highlight on Gasworks' and Midsumma's calendars.

“Tom's work really stood out to the audience and the panel for its originality, its humour, its coverage of queer issues, and the ambition to bring a so-crazy-it-must-be-true story to life. Tom's ability to weave in gut punches amid the absurd, and hard facts wrapped in humour at a fast pace is awe-inspiring. Gasworks is very excited to work with him and his team to bring the full iteration of this show to our stage for a Midsumma world premiere.” - Marisa Cesario, Programming Co-ordinator - Gasworks Arts Park

We are unbelievably proud of the diverse stories and quality work to emerge from this year’s Queer Playwriting Award, in collaboration with the wonderful people at Gasworks. A big congratulations to Tom Ballard on his winning piece - we are overjoyed to hear that the script is continuing its development and we can’t wait to see it realised onstage soon.” - Karen Bryant, CEO - Midsumma


In 2004, a group of radical queer activists boarded a seaplane they’d christened The Gayflower, flew 200 nautical miles off the coast of Queensland and landed on a tiny patch of sand and grass in the middle of the ocean. It was here that Emperor Dale Parker Anderson I would plant his rainbow flag and officially declare the claiming of “The Gay & Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands'' – a gay nation independent of homophobic Australia, where there was marriage equality for all, the currency was the pink dollar and the national anthem was Gloria Gaynor’s I Am What I Am. I want to write a funny, joyous play that tells the story of this fascinating queer protest – its history, its characters and its politics – and interrogates what it means for Australian queers today. Would we all just be better off escaping to our own separate queer paradise?


Creators of new or developing works of theatre were invited to submit their proposals for consideration by a panel of supportive industry professionals. A shortlist of four works were selected by the industry panel and invited to present a 15 minute staged reading at Gasworks Arts Park as part of Midsumma Festival 2023 on 23 January.

This development program aims to identify, support and develop new playwriting talent and get queer issues out there for mainstream audiences to consider and enjoy. The LGBTQIA+ community is diverse, exciting and full of stories and ideas that deserve to be heard on the stages of performing arts venues throughout the country.  

Find out more about the Queer Playwriting Award Showcase 2024, or apply for 2025 (opens June 2024).

Logo of Gasworks Arts ParkPresented by Midsumma Festival and Gasworks Arts Park.



2024 Midsumma Festival Award Winners

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