November 23-24, Pioneer Theatre, Castle Hill

Submissions for the Pioneer Play Awards are now open. Full details can be found on the festival website.

A celebration of pioneering Australian theatre-craft and performance will take centre stage in the heart of Sydney’s Hills district when the inaugural Pioneer Play Festival and Pioneer Play Awards come to Castle Hill on 23rd and 24th November 2018.

Part of The Hills Shire Council’s launch of the new Pioneer Theatre in Castle Hill the festival, curated by Artistic Director Goldele Rayment and produced by Sydney theatre makers Company of Rogues, is an exciting new program of performances, workshops and activities for all ages.

The festival will also include the launch of Australia’s newest playwriting competition, the Pioneer Play Awards.

The awards aim to encourage the development of new Australian theatre by rewarding an outstanding novice, emerging or established artist, in two categories – Youth (aged 0 to 17 years) and Adult (aged 18+). The awards will be presented by Mayor of The Hills, Dr Michelle Byrne, at a gala event that will include staged readings of the winning entries and a glamorous Mayoral reception on Friday, November 23rd.

Other highlights from the festival include:
• Norm and Ahmed – a special 50th Anniversary performance of Alex Buzo’s controversial 1968 play about tolerance, culture and generational change.
• Boy Out of the Country – written in Australian prose, Felix Nobis’ searingly funny and darkly observant look at contemporary Australian families, urban development and the progress of life makes it’s Sydney premiere.
• Women’s Voices in Theatre – Donna Abela’s Jump for Jordan and Joanna Murray-Smith’s Female of the Species come to life on stage in this interactive performance seminar.
• Kid’s Creative Play – designed for young creatives aged 4 to 12, the Pioneer Theatre’s Rebellion Room will become a playground of kids’ performance and fun activations lead by professional performers.

Artistic Director Goldele Rayment selected the festival’s theme Australian Voices.

Rayment said “Australia creates and shares theatre of the highest calibre, respected and celebrated the world over, yet so many Australians glorify overseas talent above local artists. I’m inspired and honoured to work with the immense talent that populates the Australian theatre community. The Pioneer Play Festival and Awards are our way of creating a new platform to discover future theatre pioneers.”

Mayor of The Hills, Dr Michelle Byrne, said “the Pioneer Play Festival, focusing on theatre craft, is an exciting new opportunity to showcase the creativity, inclusion and arts capacity of The Hills Shire. Local artists will benefit from the building of skills, networks and performance opportunities, and our residents will have a great new opportunity to experience original Australian work in the beautiful new Pioneer Theatre.”

Submissions for the Pioneer Play Awards are now open. Full details can be found on the festival website.
What: Pioneer Play Festival
When: 23rd to 24th November 2018
Where: Pioneer Theatre, Cnr Castle and Pennant Streets, Castle Hill
Tickets: Individual events from $5 – $50. Festival Passes: from $52.75.
Bookings: via the festival website at


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