Playwright and Belvoir St Theatre icon, Alana Valentine, will present The Myth of the General Audience at this year’s Philip Parsons Memorial Lecture, held next Monday, December 3. An important night for emerging playwrights and theatre afficionados, the Philip Parsons lecture will round up the night with the announcement of this year’s recipient of the Phillip Parsons Fellowship for Emerging Playwrights. This award commends the work of a gifted, evolving playwright by providing a commission to develop a new work alongwith the dramaturgical support of Belvoir artistic staff. 2007 fellowship recipient, Tommy Murphy, will present this year’s award. As Murphy produces his 2019 premiering play, Packer and Sons, he is supported by Belvoir’s David Williamson prize which aids playwrights who offer original perspectives to Australian theatre.
Valentine is a giant of the Australian theatre industry. Valentine received the Queensland Literary Award for Run Rabbit Run, was nominated for the Helpmann Award for Paramatta Girls, and in this year’s production, The Sugar House, Valentine offered a voice on the current state of theatre and its impenetrable relationship with the audience. Valentine discusses her commitment to the representation of diverse, regional and local audiences on the stage, which challenges privileged perspectives by navigating the stories of ordinary individuals.
Valentine’s commitment to the collective gaze is unsurprising considering her desire for audience connectivity. In The Myth of the General Audience, Valentine will discuss how vital it is for theatre to provoke audience conversation, even where it might uncomfortably confront us with ugly societal truths. The trust an artist has in their audience is therefore vital to the continued production of theatre that ignites valuable community dialogues. With a history of dedication to representing diverse life experiences on the stage, Valentine will continue to celebrate our transition into the next year of Australian theatre.