The Lysicrates Prize


Now in its third year, the Lysicrates Prize is a philanthropic initiative presented by The Lysicrates Foundation in association with Griffin and The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney.

The competition is only open to writers who’ve had three or more mainstage plays produced. In contrast to the Griffin Award, which is open to writers at every stage of their career, the Lysicrates Prize is intended to support established artists; recognising the significant challenges facing any writer, regardless of experience. The prize has attracted entries from some of the country’s most exciting and innovative writers.

The winning play receives a commission of $12,500 to finish the script. Each of the runners-up receive a cash prize of $1,000.

2017 Lysicrates Prize

The winner for the 2017 Lysicrates Prize for Playwriting is Melissa Bubnic for Ghosting the Party. Michele received a full commission from Griffin of $12,500 to finish the script. The two runners-up, Jennifer Compton for The Goose in the Bottle and Nick Coyle for The Feather in the Web each received a $1,000 cash prize.


The History of Lysicrates

A highlight of Athenian life in the fourth century B.C. was the theatre competition, held in public in a large amphitheatre. Wealthy patrons would sponsor a theatre company, and the prize for best play or musical performance – a highly valued status symbol – was a bronze tripod, which the winner was expected to place on top of a monument they would commission. All the winners’ monuments lined the Street of the Tripods in central Athens.

Today the Street of the Tripods still exists, but the only monument standing there is the one the wealthy sponsor Lysicrates erected in 334 B.C. So elegant is it, and so redolent of the ancient Athenians’ passion for theatre, that numerous copies have been made, in countries the Athenians never suspected existed. The most beautiful of these sits today in Sydney, in a spectacular setting in the Royal Botanic Garden, made of warm golden Sydney sandstone, it is, however, crumbling.

The Lysicrates Foundation was established by John and Patricia Azarias to provide encouragement to Australia’s playwriting talent, and to help restore the beautiful Lysicrates monument in the Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

Read more about the genesis of the competition