Ovens & Murray Advertiser

National prize win for Brendan

- By CORAL COOKSLEY

YACKANDAND­AH teacher, actor, playwright and founder of Yackandand­ah Young Players, Brendan Hogan who last year scooped the annual Martin Lysicrates Theatre Audience Prize worth $15,000 for the second time, has also won the online voting prize.

His play titled ‘Play Number Four’ took out the online viewing vote to win the $2000 prize two weeks ago.

He was among three finalists to compete for last year’s prestigiou­s national prize for the best new writing in Australia for children - with the first 15 minutes of each play performed by profession­al actors.

Mr Hogan, who won the prize in 2018 for his play ‘Scaredy Cats’, said prizes for specifical­ly written plays for Australian children’s theatre were few and far between, with few competitiv­e opportunit­ies.

“As someone based in regional Australia, it’s invaluable for me to have opportunit­ies for my work to be considered on a national scale as I don’t necessaril­y have access to the same networks or pathways as some of my citybased colleagues,” he said.

“Any chance to have my work read or seen by those outside of regional Australia is an exciting opportunit­y and the prize is further recognitio­n for what I’m interested in creating for young people to enjoy watching.”

Passionate about children’s theatre, Mr Hogan said his teaching job at Yackandand­ah Primary School was a great window to see what young people were interested in.

He said his challenge was to always try and walk the line between what the 10-15 age group found entertaini­ng and engaging, and what their parents and carers felt comfortabl­e letting them see.

“Kids at this age are quite aspiration­al in terms of their tastes - they want something a bit more adult, but we also need to guide and nurture them,” he said.

‘Play Number Four’ about a young brother and sister putting on a play in their backyard relating to the night their father was killed in a car accident uses comedy and drama to explore how trauma affected them and their lives.

A serious subject told from the perspectiv­e of young children, Mr Hogan said it allowed a certain naivety and honesty that may not be possible in an adult play.

“This is probably my most serious play and I was particular­ly interested in exploring a topic that is often uncomforta­ble or taboo to talk about with children - the loss of a parent,” he said.

He said the prize also helped pay for his time as well as helping to finish writing the play with the final draft due by the end of August this year.

The Martin Lysicrates Prize is presented by The Lysicrates Foundation together with the Griffin Theatre Company and National Theatre of Parramatta.

Held at Riverside Theatre, Year 7 to Year 10 students mostly from across Western Sydney high schools judged the plays as well as on-line viewing audiences.

Among Mr Hogan’s other children’s plays are ‘How to Beat a Bully,’ ‘The Last Boy on Earth’ as well as community plays such as ‘From Here to To There’.

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 ?? PHOTO: Jamie Kronborg ?? SKILLS VALUED: Yackandand­ah playwright Brendan Hogan scooped a secondary MartinLysi­crates prize two weeks ago which followed his major win last year.
PHOTO: Jamie Kronborg SKILLS VALUED: Yackandand­ah playwright Brendan Hogan scooped a secondary MartinLysi­crates prize two weeks ago which followed his major win last year.

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