Australian Plays Transform


APT is absolutely thrilled to announce that Amy Sole and their play “Nan’s Place” is the winner of the 2024 Max Afford Playwrights Award. It was chosen unanimously by the panel of esteemed judges as a work with distinctive voice, spirit and energy.

Erin Taylor, CEO of Australian Plays Transform says “’Nan’s Place’ is an exciting work that we are proud to develop. Amy writes with assurance and restraint; they craft moments of deceptive simplicity and stillness that shake the foundations of what it means to be living in Australia in 2024. Amy deftly weaves this story; a single night, a front yard and two teenagers from different worlds, demonstrating the enduring capacity of theatre to make us think and feel with the power of these few elements.”


The Max Afford Playwrights’ Award was established by late Thelma May Afford in memory of her husband, playwright Max Afford. This award is offered biennially by Australian Plays Transform and managed by Perpetual Limited, as Trustee, and aims to encourage and promote playwrighting, particularly for younger creatives. As such, a young (between 18 and 40 years old) playwright is recognised with a $15,000 prize and a $15,000 development for their work, produced by Australian Plays Transform.

Eligible plays are; new (less than 3 years old), full length (over an hour long), have not been produced or performed in public, and are not under commission, option, or programmed before December 2024.

Amy’s play Nan’s Place will have its development later this year.


Daley Rangi – The Mountain Remembers
Clare Hennessy – Dirty Power


Amy Sole is a proud Wiradjuri/Worimi person. Amy is a playwright, director, actor, dramaturg and advocate.

They are Creative Associate at Ilbijerri Theatre Company and a recent graduate of MFA (Directing) at NIDA and hold a Master of Theatre (Playwriting) from VCA. Recent works for theatre include Whitefella Yella Tree (co director, Griffin Theatre company) Forgetting Tim Minchin (director, 25a, Downstairs Belvoir) Benched (director, Darlinghurst Theatre Company, 2022), Burning (writer/director, NIDA, 2022).

Amy regularly directs developments of new works, most recently Phoebe Grainer’s Sugarcane for the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award and Dylan Van Den Berg’s way back when at Darlinghurst Theatre Company.

They have worked as assistant director on God’s Country (NIDA, 2022), Metamorphoses (NIDA, 2021), and RENT (Sydney Opera House, 2021).They are also Creative Director of Big Blak Bang, a festival of First Nations storytelling and Artist-in-Residence at Darlinghurst Theatre Company.

They are a part of Melbourne Theatre Company’s Artistic Associate advisory council, and a sitting Co-Chair of the Equity Diversity Committee.


The 2024 Max Afford Playwrights Award attracted 72 entries. Below is a breakdown of some de-identified demographics of the entrants:

Category% of Total Entrants
Not identified15%
Other demographics 
CALD, PoC or non-Western25%
Australian First Nations6%
Experiencing disability21%


The 2024 judging panel was comprised of Valerie Berry, Matthew Whittet, and Catherine Zimdahl.

We kindly ask that applicants do not contact the assessing panel to request feedback on their submissions.

Valerie Berry is an actor, performance maker and theatre educator. Throughout her practice, she has focused on collaborative and interdisciplinary processes. She has worked with National Theatre of Parramatta (Swallow, 2016. Dir: Kate Champion), Cake Industries (Sydney Festival 2016, Robotronica Festival 2015/2017, Fun4Kids Festival 2017), Polyglot Theatre (Paper Planet: Sydney and Norway), Blacktown Arts Centre, Theatre Kantanka, Urban Theatre Projects, Belvoir, Version 1.0, Branch Nebula, Performance Space, Sydney Theatre Company, Performing Lines (Tour Germany and Adelaide Festival, Ur/Faust; and National tour of The Folding Wife), Bell Shakespeare/Canute Productions (Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes), and Campbelltown Arts Centre. She co- directed/facilitated Shopfront Theatre’s 2015 Junior Ensemble show, Chasing your Shadow (Shopfront 2015 and Way Out West Festival, 2016). Valerie is one of the mentors and facilitator for CuriousWork’s Beyond Refuge program. In Adelaide, Valerie has worked with,  ActNow Theatre (current co-Facilitator and performer- Theatre of the Global Majority), Vitalstatistix (Border Crossers) Adhocracy 2017 and with Paul Gazzola(OSCA) for the SUE Project. Valerie has had an on going collaborative partnership with multimedia artists, Anino Shadowplay Collective (Manila) and Paschal Daantos Berry, since 2005: The Folding Wife; Within and Without;  Arkipelago (Jakarta, Indonesia); Arkipelago2: Intima-sea (Yogyakarta, Indonesia), and This here.Land, for Performance Space’s award winning, Liveworks Festival 2017 program.

Matthew Whittet is an actor and writer who has worked extensively in theatre, film and television for the past 15 years. Matt’s first play Twelve was workshopped at the National Playwrights Conference in Perth, 2006. His second was Silver, directed by Ben Winspear for Belvoir’s Downstairs Theatre in which he also performed solo. In 2010 two further plays premiered in Adelaide; Fugitive (Windmill) and Harbinger (Brink Productions) beginning what has become an ongoing creative bond with the city and its audiences. In the same year, Matt was the Philip Parsons Young Playwright’s Award recipient sparking the development of the play Old Man which premiered in Belvoir’s 2012 Season. Matt’s collaboration with Windmill has resulted in four plays with Girl Asleep being the most recent. Its predecessors are the Helpmann and Sydney Theatre Awards winning School Dance and Trilogy stablemate Big Bad Wolf. Matt was among the seven 2013-14 Sidney Myer Creative Fellows chosen in 2012. He is currently working on a commission for Belvoir and a screen adaptation of his play Girl Asleep instigated by the Australia Council in conjunction with the Adelaide Festival Hive Fund.

Catherine Zimdahl is a playwright, screenwriter and visual artist. Her plays include Gifted, Step Up Stare Down, Deviant Art for the Degenerate (film adaptation nominated for IF Best Unproduced Screenplay), HereNowThenThere, Family Running for Mr Whippy, Left Breathless A Question, The Fox, A World into a Child, A Child into the World and Moonfleet. Her film credits include Sparks and Life on Earth as I Know It. Catherine studied screenwriting at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School where she was the recipient of the Qantas Travel Award graduate prize. Catherine is a member of 7-ON Writers Theatre. No Nudity, Weapons or Naked Flames, a book of monologues published by Federation Press, includes three of Catherine’s monologues. As a writer for performance Catherine has had scripts produced around Australia and internationally. Her accolades include the Griffin Playwriting Award, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, New Dramatists Exchange and AACTA Awards for Best Short Film and Best Screenplay.

This award is managed by Perpetual Limited, as Trustee.

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We acknowledge that we live and create on unceded lands. We pay our respects to the First Peoples of Australia, and to their elders past, present and future.

© Australian Plays Transform 2024