Rory Godbold takes home the 2022 Queer Playwriting Award with “CROSS”
In its seventh year the Queer Playwriting Award Showcase presented to Midsumma Festival audiences at Gasworks Arts Park with the selection panellists, announcing on 5 April, that CROSS by Rory Godbold will take home the 2022 Queer Playwriting Award. Godbold is set to work alongside Gasworks and Midsumma over the next year to deliver a full work for Midsumma Festival audiences.
"Developing CROSS through QPAS with the support of Midsumma and Gasworks has been an incredibly fruitful experience. It's been a unique opportunity to be in conversation and collaboration with the Melbourne theatre and queer community as the play has taken shape, found it's voice and solidified core issues. I'm excited to make a piece of theatre that interrogates and activates Queer issues around education and sexuality and I look forward to bringing CROSS to a wide audience in the near future!" - Rory Godbold, playwright - CROSS
"We congratulate all of the playwrights, directors, and actors who have taken part in QPAS 2022. This year’s cohort have presented work of an exceptional standard, and should be immensely proud. We look forward to continuing conversations with this year’s shortlisted playwrights to support further development through various pathways.
"With Midsumma’s continued support, Gasworks is thrilled to congratulate Rory Godbold as the winner of our 2022 Queer Playwriting Award. Rory’s play CROSS shows great potential to cross over to broad audiences, in terms of age, gender and sexuality, religious backgrounds, workplace experiences, and geographical locations. We think this piece is timely, topical, and responded strongly to the QPAS criteria in terms of getting queer issues and voices on mainstream stages across Australia. The selection panel, supported by audience feedback, was most impressed to see how considered and committed Rory was to taking on board feedback from the January readings during Midsumma Festival. In the intervening weeks, Rory developed and reworked an extended excerpt that gave us great confidence in where the work is heading. We look forward to our forthcoming collaboration with Rory in developing CROSS into a full production for public presentation at Gasworks during Midsumma Festival soon." Marisa Cesario, Programming Coordinator - Gasworks Arts Park
Drawing from his own experiences as a teacher, Rory has concerns about our government’s support for religious freedoms that allow discriminatory behaviour in the workplace and in classrooms. And so, like any good creative, Rory has written a play about it.
Set in a suburban catholic school, CROSS engages with the stigma attached to sexuality within schools and the teaching profession. The central character, Jasper, is a teacher who is gay. When Jasper’s colleague condones a homophobic slur made against him from a student, their lives begin to unravel.
Rory wrote CROSS in the wake of the marriage equality debate, where politicians encouraged divisive ‘free speech’, about our queer communities, which often had harmful effects that overshadowed the positive ‘yes’ outcome. In a similar way, CROSS explores the way institutional leadership and religion can feed discriminatory behaviour, with a focus on teachers and the development of students.
Before you think that CROSS is a play designed to preach, Rory’s work welcomes audiences to take what they will from the play, and use it to inform their own opinions.
Creators of new or developing works of theatre were invited to submit their proposals for consideration by a panel of supportive industry professionals. Eight works were selected by the industry panel and invited to present a 15 minute staged reading across two nights at Gasworks Arts Park as part of Midsumma Festival 2022. From the shortlist, four works were chosen to extend their excerpts for consideration in the Finalists’ Showcase on 22 March.
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.
Presented by Midsumma Festival and Gasworks Arts Park.
If you have any queries, contact Gasworks Arts Park on 03 8606 4200 or email [email protected].