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Ursula Yovich wins The Balnaves Award 2016

Actor Ursula Yovich has won the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award 2016.

She won for a pitch for a play “about a woman who has been estranged from her Indigenous mother.When her mother dies, she travels from her home in Sydney to Darwin to look after funeral arrangements, and soon discovers a host of traditional customs she must navigate to honour her mother. As she deals with her grief, she also must come to terms with a lack of cultural knowledge about her mother’s people and how that impacts on her Indigenous identity.”

In a statement, Yovich said: “Writing this play will be my first major solo writing experience. I’ll be writing about a very personal story so I’m very pleased that I will have excellent people to support me through the process. I’ve wanted to pursue this writing project for some time and it is so affirming to have people say ‘Yes, we want to hear your story.’”

The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award is a $20,000 award which is comprised of a $12,500 commission to write a new play and a $7,500 cash prize.

Previous winners include Katie Beckett, Leah Purcell, Jada Alberts and Nakkiah Lui. Purcell’s adaptation of The Drover’s Wife opens at Belvoir Theatre later this year.

Featured image: Ursula Yovich in rehearsal for Belvoir’s A Christmas Carol. Photo by Brett Boardman

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