Australia’s first child-adjudicated stage play competition in honour of former NSW Premier

Screen Shot 2017 10 08 at 3.49.41 pm

Screen Shot 2017 10 08 at 3.49.41 pm

Australia’s first child-adjudicated stage play competition will take place October 14 at Riverside Theatre Parramatta in Sydney, where mid-career playwrights will be vying for the Martin Lysicrates Prize.

The prize is for the best new Australian work for children aged between 8 – 12 and is named after Sir James Martin, KCB, QC (14 May 1820 – 4 November 1886) who was three times Premier of New South Wales, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales from 1873 to 1886.

In line with the Ancient Greek tradition of audiences judging works, who better to judge a children’s play other than the children themselves!

Three staged readings are held before an audience at Riverside Theatres on Saturday 14th October and the audience favourite will receive a full commission of $15,000 to finish the play whilst runners-up will receive a cash prize of $1,000.

The three finalists are:

House by Dan Giovannoni – Part fable, part mad-cap adventure story, House is the story of a little big girl (a little girl who is big), making her way through a magical realm.  The play looks at some of the more challenging aspects of growing up and living in the world – sadness, grief, loneliness – and the need to embrace these elements in order to be a whole and complete person.

The Zookeeper’s Daughter by Verity Laughton – A Circus of Fabulous Beasts, a mysterious box of tricks and a perilous adventure for a young girl and her companions.  The Zookeeper’s Daughter is about bravery, friendship and trust (and a baby Basilisk).

Summerland by Katie Pollock – All the kids understand they must keep quiet about the strange boy they’ve found, that he’ll be in more danger than he already is if the adults know he’s here… Summerland is a holiday adventure of the very best kind, full of excitement and peril, unexpected challenges and the bittersweet lessons of growing up.

At the conclusion of the voting process by the children for their favourite theatrical work, NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, member for Hawkesbury, will unveil a statue of the boy James Martin.

The Martin Lysicrates Prize is presented by The Lysicrates Foundation in association with Griffin Theatre Company and National Theatre of Parramatta.

Sir James Martin was also the man behind the creation of the 1868 Lysicrates monument in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney which was recently restored thanks to John and Patricia Azarias who also created the Lysicrates Foundation.

“Sydney’s replica of the Lysicrates Monument of Athens is not only a beautiful structure in itself, but is also the embodiment of the close links between the Sydney of today and the Greece of the classical world. So by restoring Sydney’s 1868 monument, we are also strengthening the deep connections between Greece and Australia, and reminding Australians of the high prestige and extraordinary influence of Greek culture in many countries across the globe,” says John Azarias co-Founder of the Lysicrates Foundation

More information on the event:


The Lysicrates Foundation is the creation of John and Patricia Azarias who were responsible for restoring the 1868 Lysicrates monument, which was the brainchild of litterateur, journalist, solicitor, QC, Attorney-General, three times Premier, and Chief Justice of New South Wales, (Sir) James Martin (1820-1886), in whose honour ‘Martin Place’ in Sydney is named.

Once John and Patricia Azarias raised the funds to restore the monument they proceeded to restore the drama festival that the original monument in Athens commemorated. Indeed, the couple, created in Sydney the Lysicrates Prize for playwriting, where, for the first time in about 2500 years, it is the audience, which picks the winner.