Griffin Theatre Company last night announced that writer and performer Rick Viede is the winner of the 2011 Griffin Award for his play A Hoax.

The Griffin Award is an annual $10,000 prize offered for an outstanding new Australian play or performance text displaying an authentic, inventive and contemporary voice. Now in its 14th year, the Award celebrates the bright future of Australian drama.
For the first time in the Award’s history Griffin presented a selected reading from each of the shortlisted plays before announcing the winner. The audience was blown away by the raw talent and diversity of the six works presented.

Following the readings, the Award’s sponsors PKF Chartered Accountants & Business Advisers announced Rick Viede as the winner of this year’s Award.

Viede is no stranger to the prize, having won the Griffin Award in 2008 for his debut play Whore, which went on to have seasons at Belvoir Street Theatre and the New York Summer Play Festival in 2009. Viede’s latest work, A Hoax, is a complex, funny and thought provoking comedy-drama about otherness, appropriation, greed and fame in the world of Australian literature.

Griffin Theatre’s Artistic Director Sam Strong said “We are thrilled that Rick Viede has won the Griffin Award for a second time. There was an outstanding shortlist, which it was wonderful to celebrate by presenting extracts from all six works on the night. A Hoax is a fresh and daring interrogation of identity politics and the lengths people will go to to get what they want. The judges responded to the play's vivid characterisation, its wicked sense of humour, and its unique capacity to provoke as well as entertain.”

The Griffin Award has a long history of highlighting new talent and cementing the careers of emerging writers. Previous recipients of the prize include Aiden Fennessy (Brutopia, 2010), Lachlan Philpott (Silent Disco, 2009), Damien Millar (Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures, 2007), Mary Rachel Brown (Australian Gothic, 2006), Ian Wilding (The Carnivores, 2005), Debra Oswald (Mr Bailey’s Minder, 2004) and Brendan Cowell (Rabbit, 2003).

Rick Viede is an accomplished writer and performer. As a playwright, he has been commissioned by Griffin Theatre Company and Bell Shakespeare and has received a fellowship from the Australia Council to develop new works. As a performer, Viede has experienced huge success with his alter ego; the satirical character Glace Chase. Glace has performed to critical acclaim throughout Australia and internationally at venues including the Public Theater NYC, Belvoir Street Theatre, Darlinghurst Theatre, The Butterfly Club and festivals including The Melbourne Comedy Festival, Mardi Gras Festival, Midsumma and Feast Festival. Viede holds a B.A. from Monash University and has completed a Grad. Dip. in Screenwriting at AFTRS.

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