BREC is proud to announce the winners of this year's Shore Lines Writing for Performance Festival, with the prizes presented at a function at the Centre on Wednesday 15 April.
The competition consisted of three categories - Open, Secondary and Primary. The winner of the Open category was Xan Ashbury, who also won the competition in 2014. Xan's work was titled "The Cloud of Unknowing", with judges Dr Donna Mazza and Dr Vahri McKenzie praising her talent. "We think the winning entry had an authentic voice, and a simple and inventive structure that will translate well to a short stage production. Of course, Shore Lines is judged blind: we don't know who wrote the pieces we read. So it was a happy surprise to discover that this year's winner is also last year's winner, Xan Ashbury," they said.
"The fact that Xan has won Shore Lines twice is a credit to her and tells me the competition is fulfilling the role of fostering local talent and excellence in writing for performance. Her winning entry this year has a simple and inventive structure and an authentic voice that will translate well to stage. It was a polished piece of writing and considered the delivery of the piece to a live audience."
Xan received a prize of $1000 cash and a week's residency at the Katherine Susannah Pritchard Writer's Retreat, and said she was thrilled with her second win. "I am so grateful the festival exists - it has given me the impetus to write creatively and perform again, after a very long break. This year's piece is a kind of bittersweet love letter to Bunbury, inspired by the church bells I hear in my neighbourhood. The week I spent on retreat in January, as part of my prize for last year's win, was incredible and I feel so fortunate to be given that opportunity again," she said.
Winner of the Secondary category was Kiri Head with her work "Haunted House", while Abbie Fearns won the Primary category with her piece "Curiosity". Kiri received $500 cash while Abbie received $250 cash.
The judges said that overall, there were more plays and less prose and poetry entered in the competition, with a higher quality of work all round than previous years. "Some work deals directly with local issues and has local settings and will offer the community a rare insight into the our own lives. I praise this highly because there is so little written about the South West. There is a particularly bittersweet feel in much of the work, and many authors tend to highlight the tensions we face in modern life and lighten it up with irony or humour. The successful entries are those we considered performable and good pieces of writing," they said.
Prizes for the winners were donated by BREC, the BREC Club, Hon. Adele Farina MLC, Officeworks, Jolt Footwear and Collins Booksellers.
The Shore Lines competition was open for entries from January to March, with budding writers encouraged to submit pieces of work suitable to be presented on stage. The winners are now guaranteed an opportunity to perform their winning piece, or have their piece performed, in front of an audience on Saturday 23 May in BREC's Cube theatre. A number of other events will be also be held over the Festival weekend.
With support from the City of Bunbury, the South West Development Commission and BREC's Community Access Partners Bunbury Port Authority, GWN7 and RadioWest, all Shore Lines events are free or low cost for the public to attend.
"It would not be possible for us to put this event on without this support," BREC General Manager Joel McGuinness said.