2021 Olga E Harding Award

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Olga E Harding Playwriting Award; New NZ Play - 2021


The Olga E Harding Playwriting Award; New NZ play is named after one of the founding members of New Zealand Theatre Federation (now Theatre New Zealand) who for many years was actively involved with the British Drama League – BDL and who, after the formation of NZTF, became one of its Presidents.

This award is an important part of Theatre New Zealand’s TheatreFest and is awarded annually for the best new script of a presentation entered into TheatreFest that year.
The Play is assessed separately from the productions and is not seen by the assessor. The outcome is not known till the awards on final night.

The requirements of the Award is that it is to be up to 50 minutes performing time and that it receives a production in a Local TheatreFest in the year that the script is written and that it has not had a public performance more than three month prior to being presented at the local TheatreFest.

The benefits of entering are, therefore, two-fold. The script is assessed in order to allow the playwright positive feedback on their writing, which will assist with any future writing and they also get to see a live production of their script on stage.
Details of the 2021 Olga E Harding Playwriting Award, New NZ play are -
• the entry fee is $30 for adults and $20 for students (up to 20 yrs old) paid into TNZ’s bank account 03 0802 0134721 00.
• for 2021 there will be a $250 monetary prize for the winning script.
• entries close on Monday 23 August 2021 and need to be entered online with the entry form and the script emailed to – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
• each script is to be entered with a non-deplume.
• each script will receive a written assessment.
• the winning entry will be announced at this year’s TheatreFest National Final in Wellington on 19 September

The assessor for 2021 is Angie Farrow.

Assessor’s Criteria

  • Character: are the characters clearly distinguished, well-developed, consistent and interesting.
  • Story Structure: is the story well set-up, developed and resolved. Is the identity and goal of the protagonist clear? Is their journey plausible, surprising, and engaging?
  • Theatrical Potential: is there action (including character interaction) or just exposition. Are elements of set, lighting, sound and/or movement suggested which will support and enhance the story.
  • Imagination: has the playwright created a world worth looking at, been novel or brave in selecting elements of that world. Does the writer seek to take the audience on a journey beyond everyday experience, or deeper into everyday experience?
  • Ideas and Intentions: what themes is the writer exploring. How well do they facilitate this?

You can download information by clicking here