JAMIE McCASKILL WINS 2013 BRUCE MASON PLAYWRITING AWARD

MEDIA RELEASE

24 NOVEMBER 2013

JAMIE McCASKILL AWARDED THE 2013 BRUCE MASON PLAYWRITING AWARD

The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award was presented to Jamie McCaskill at the Playmarket 40th Birthday Accolades in Wellington on 24 November 2013.

The $10,000 cash prize recognises early success in the career of the winning playwright and is designed to encourage their continued exploration of the theatre medium.

Jamie (Ngati Tamatera) was born 1979 and is an award winning writer, actor and musician currently based in his hometown of Thames, where his most recent play Not In Our Neighbourhood, written for Te Whariki Manawahine o Hauraki, opened on Thursday 21 November.

Jamie's first play, the Coromandel musical Wassup Bro? premiered at BATS in 2003. Other works include It's A Whanau Thing (co-written with Kelly Kilgour) and the Centrepoint commission It's My Party. His play He Reo Aroha, co-written with Miria George, played throughout New Zealand before touring to Hawaii, Canada and Australia.

Jamie is also known for his community work with at risk youth and his play Manawa, which examines the effect of the justice system on young offenders, premiered at Circa Theatre in 2012 to great acclaim and was nominated for three Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards.

Jamie trained as an actor at UCOL in Palmerston North and has been seen on stage in productions for the Auckland Theatre Company, Centrepoint Theatre, Capital E National Theatre for Children, Circa, Downstage and BATS. His television credits include Irirangi Bay, The Hot House and The Insider's Guide to Happiness. Jamie has also been known to front a few bands in his time including the legendary Smokey Feel.

Since 1983 The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award has recognised the work of an outstanding emerging New Zealand playwright. The recipient is decided through voting by a panel of leading Artistic Directors and Script Advisors throughout New Zealand. Previous winners include many of this country's most celebrated writers including Hone Kouka, Briar Grace-Smith, Jo Randerson and Arthur Meek and was last year awarded to Whiti Hereaka.

The Award is named after the man considered to be New Zealand's first most significant playwright, Bruce Mason, who died in 1982. His plays are still produced widely today and many, such as The Pohutakawa Tree and The End of the Golden Weather have come to be considered New Zealand classics. The award is funded by Playmarket, The FAME Trust, and Downstage Theatre Society.