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Published on 10.08.12

Australian playwright wins STAGE, Prestigious International Script Writing Competition

Winner of the 5th Cycle of STAGE, Alana Valentine

"Ear to the Edge of Time", by Australian playwright Alana Valentine, is the winner of the 5th STAGE International Script Competition for the best new play about science and technology. STAGE will present the award to Ms.Valentine at a ceremony in Dublin on October 21, 2012.

Valentine’s play was selected by a world-class panel of judges:  Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights Tony Kushner, David Lindsay-Abaire and Donald Margulies; Nobel Laureates Robert C. Richardson and Frank Wilczek; and winner of the U.S. National Medal of Science and the Franklin Medal, Dr. David J. Wineland.

The STAGE award is coveted among playwrights for the prestige and opportunities it brings, as well as for its sizeable $10,000 prize.

STAGE - Scientists, Technologists and Artists Generating Exploration - housed at the California NanoSystems Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, runs every two years and aims to identify the best new play about science and technology worldwide. STAGE comes to Dublin as part of Dublin City of Science 2012, and particularly as a result of the efforts of CRANN, the Science Foundation Ireland funded nanoscience institute at Trinity College Dublin. 

In tandem with the award ceremony in October, there will be a staged reading of the winning play performed by professional Irish actors at Trinity College Dublin’s Samuel Beckett Theatre.

The BBC World Service Science in Action radio programme has been following the STAGE Competition through its entire fifth cycle. The latest installments in the BBC series featured interviews with the finalists.

After learning of her win during her BBC interview, Ms. Valentine said, “I think the only salient word to describe my reaction is gob-smacked.  I am still a little in shock and trying to absorb the honour and privilege it is to have won this award.”

Congratulating Ms. Valentine on her award, Dr. Diarmuid O’Brien, Executive Director of CRANN, said, “Ear to the Edge of Time will bring science to life through art, and we congratulate Alana Valentine on winning the STAGE competition.  STAGE is the perfect fusion of art and science, and the fact that Dublin was chosen to host the winning performance is a real celebration of our successes in these areas and is also the perfect complement to the Dublin City of Science Festival.”

The winning script was chosen from nearly 200 entries from a dozen countries. During each submission period, plays are received from all over the world and written by a wide range of authors.  Since its inception, the diverse entrants have included established and prominent playwrights and screenwriters, an unknown playwright living in a remote part of Nigeria, highly-regarded scientists, and even a Nobel Laureate.

In Valentine’s Ear to the Edge of Time, a contemporary radio astronomer faces a desperate crisis about gender politics, attribution, and the role of team work in 21st century science. The play deals with the fascinating machinations of astronomical physics, as well as the dilemmas, compromises, and culture that are part of scientific discovery.

Along with the winning play, two other plays were singled out as finalists in this cycle of the competition. Sequence, by Arun Lakra, an eye surgeon and writer from Calgary, and This Rough Magic, by Richard Manley, a former advertising executive-turned-playwright from New York City.

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