Noosa Arts Theatre’s popular National One-Act Playwriting Competition is returning with a wonderful array of plays to tempt your theatrical pleasure.

Since 1978 the theatre has run the competition, which carries an $8000 cash prize pool and attracts entries from playwrights not only from Australia but across the world. 

Scripts are judged anonymously by a panel of readers who are experienced in directing, acting and producing plays, and a shortlist is then compiled by a panel of three professional industry experts. The three finalists are selected on the quality of the writing, not on subject matter, and the winning order is decided before the plays are presented in this show. Many emerging playwrights have been discovered through this process.

At each performance the audience is asked to vote for the Nancy Cato Audience Choice Award. Other awards include Best Director and Best Actor. Presentation of the awards takes place after the final performance.

The three plays this year are A Wilde Night, written by Robin Hawdon and directed by John McMahon; Morning Tea, written by Kerry Fair and directed by Maria Karambelas; and Three Wives and a Funeral, written by Rob Selzer and directed by Liza Park.

A Wilde Night looks into the tragic fate of playwright Oscar Wilde, who spiralled into depression, alcoholism, illness and ultimately a premature death after being imprisoned for indecency. What is not so well known is that the whole tragic saga really came to a head on the occasion of the first night of his most successful comedy The Importance of Being Earnest. While the audience were laughing and applauding uproariously in the auditorium, Oscar himself – banned from sitting out front – was going through emotional confrontations backstage. 

In Morning Tea, three mobile phones are left on a table at a conference as phones are not allowed to be taken into the auditorium. The conversation between the phones reflects the personalities of their humans and dependence of humans on their phones – and vice versa.

And finally in Three Wives and a Funeral, Richard Green had a lot of love to give, which may explain why he tied the knot three times. But it’s only now at his funeral that his three wives finally get to meet each other. Secrets are exposed, jealousies unmasked and, in the process, the women divulge more about themselves than about their marriage to the dearly departed. Ultimately, the real soul mate is revealed to be someone completely unexpected.

The show is on from May 19-27 with both matinee and evening sessions. Tickets are $23-$35, visit noosaartstheatre.org.au.

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