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    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Michele Lee announced as winner of the Queensland Premier's Drama Award

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Tuesday, July 12, 2016

    Michele Lee announced as winner of the Queensland Premier's Drama Award

    From more than 50 entries for the 2016-17 Queensland Premier’s Drama Award (QDPA), and three finalists announced earlier this year, Melbourne writer Michele Lee has been announced the winner with her sophisticated play Rice.

    Premier of Queensland and Minister for the Arts Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was delighted to see that for the first time in the Award’s 14 year history, all three finalists were women – a testament to our culture celebrating perspectives that have previously been under-represented.

    “Since its inception, QTC has developed 24 plays as part of the QDPA, employed more than 176 actors, writers and directors, and generated audiences of more than 26,000 to new Australian plays. Previous winning works include Oedipus Doesn’t Live Here Anymore by Daniel Evans (2014-15), Trollop by Maxine Mellor (2012-2013) and Fractions by Marcel Dorney (2010-2011).”

    “Michelle’s work was selected ahead of fellow finalists Kathryn Marquet for Furious Creatures and Suzie Miller for her work I Looked Up And There You Were. Delivered through Queensland Theatre Company (QTC), the QPDA is a prestigious and important award for Australian Theatre in that it guarantees a professional production of the winning entry,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

    QTC Artistic Director Sam Strong, who was part of the judging panel for the awards said Rice is the story of two women – Nisha, the right-hand woman to the CEO of Australian rice company, Golden Fields, who is poised to seal a contract for rice distribution to the Indian government; and Yvette, the company’s cleaner who, late at night, clears the take-away dinner scraps from Nisha’s office.

    “Michele’s play Rice is a vivid portrait of two women whose position socially, economically, culturally and generationally is vastly different. Through these women, she builds an experience for us which asks how we, as human beings and citizens of the world, take accountability for our choices and actions. Michele has written a sophisticated and slick new play that expertly blends dry humour and sharp insight.”

    This year marks a very busy one for Lee - a writer working across the stage and audio-form – who, in 2016 is under commissioned for two projects; Going down (Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne via the Malcolm Robertson Prize); and a short plays project, Power plays, with Sydney Theatre Company. Alongside this, Lee is the 2016 WrICE Early Career Fellow and resident at the Playwrights Centre, Minneapolis.

    Michele Lee described her play as, “A fluid two-hander where women topple women, and women rescue women. Rice explores the question of women surviving in corporate CBD Australia, especially women of colour, and aims to talk to this changing face of power. The play forms part of a conversation about who we are as a population, and where our roots are from: the key relationships in Rice include family ties to China, and family and business ties to India.”

    Judges for the 2016-17 Awards include Mr Sam Strong, Artistic Director of Queensland Theatre Company; Dr Kate Foy, a prominent independent theatre artist; Ms Lee Lewis, Artistic Director of Griffin Theatre Company and Mr Ian Lawson, Artistic Director/CEO of Playlab; and Ms Louise Litchfield, the Department of Premier and Cabinet.