Vanessa Bates wins an AWGIE for Best Theatre for Young Audiences

23 August 2019

Photo: A scene from A Ghost in My Suitcase (photo: Daniel Grant)

NIDA congratulates Vanessa Bates (Playwrights Studio, 1994), an award winning playwright, screenwriter, radio dramatist and playwriting tutor, for her AWGIE Award for Best Theatre for Young Audiences.

Vanessa won the award for her adaptation for the stage of A Ghost in My Suitcase, based on the book (and illustrated novel) by Gabrielle Wang of the same name. The play centres on twelve-year-old girl Celeste, lovingly nicknamed Little Cloud by her grandma Por Por, as she travels from homeland Australia to motherland China, to return her mother’s ashes. Along the journey she is thrust into a world of magic and myth.

The Barking Gecko Production was directed by Ching Ching Ho and Matt Edgerton, and performed at Barking Gecko Theatre at the Melbourne International Arts Festival 2018, Sydney Opera House Drama Theatre at the Sydney Festival 2019 and the Heath Ledger Theatre at Perth International Festival 2019.

Vanessa is currently writing/developing an Australia Council/PWA funded new play Captain Dalisay. Other works include Awkward Dancing, The Petting Zoo, The River and Chipper. In collaboration with Ross Mueller, she is writing a full-length play Something About The End Of The World. Her work has been produced by STC, Malthouse , Belvoir B-Sharp, Griffin, Vitalstatistix, Deckchair, The Ensemble, atyp, Tantrum, Darlinghurst Theatre, Rock Surfers, Stooged, Freewheels and ABC Radio. Her plays have been read in the US, UK and in Paris. 

Vanessa has also won a NSW Premiers Literary Award,  Inscription Chairman’s Award, Inscription New Work Award and two CONDAs. She has been shortlisted for several major awards including Victorian Premiers Literary Award, AWGIE Mainstage Play, STC Patrick White Award, Griffin Award and Theatre 503's New Play Award. She was awarded a Varuna Residency and a Keesing Studio Residency at the Cite Institute des Arts, Paris. Her plays have been selected for Playwriting Australia’s New Script Workshops and New Play Festival and the USA National New Play Network Festival. 

As a playwriting tutor and guest lecturer, Vanessa has taught at NIDA, University of Newcastle, University of Wollongong, atyp (Fresh Ink and National Studio mentor), NSW Department of Education State Drama Camp and Writing NSW, where she was Director of their 2015 Playwrights’ Festival. 

More about Vanessa here.

Feeling inspired? For information about NIDA's Master of Fine Arts (Writing for Performance) course and how to apply for 2020, apply.nida.edu.au. For more information about NIDA writers nominated in the AWGIE awards here.