Congratulations to the winners of the inaugural Currency Press Award!

First Prize ($250): Joe & Juliet, by Isabel Hathorn
Second Prize ($100):  Finally Fifty, by Sara Patil
Third Prize ($50): Happy Birthday: A Zoom Call, by Aaliyah Zaph

Comments from Emily Sheehan, Currency Press Award judge:

Congratulations to all of the shortlisted writers! 

It is wonderful to see so many young people interested in writing for theatre. There was a great mix of style and genre within the submissions and some very imaginative and lyrical responses among the shortlisted writers.

 ‘Joe & Juliet’ by Isabel Hathorn was theatrical, fun-spirited and I loved the playful use of contemporary poetry in her modern adaptation of a classical text. 

‘Finally Fifty’ by Sara Patil has excellent characterisation at the heart of the work, the character had a compelling reason to speak and the monologue deals with important themes that are relevant to young audiences. 

‘Happy Birthday: A Zoom Call’, by Aaliyah Zaph had a clear grasp of comedy, a creative use of a Zoom call, and an easy, conversational tone in the dialogue.

First Prize:  

Joe & Juliet by Isabel Hathorn


I thought I told you a thousand times

I don’t want to fall in love with Juliet Shines

Who texts me twenty-four seven

Who thinks thine eyes are a matchmake for heaven


I tried to warn

I just want you gone

Fifty times a day you send me a text

For fifty long minutes you call me… nup

I leave you on ‘read’

Don’t panic, I’m not dead

Why don’t you just shut the hell up


Get out of my tormented sight

And maybe we’ll meet again … if I feel right

You like me, it’s unrequited

My love is complex and too wild to understand

Don’t take me on a date and lend me your hand

You knock on my door with a gift

I slam the door to set you adrift

For the last time I’m feeling it’s true

We ain’t no Capulet and Montague

Juliet, I am not meant for you



Oh how I await my ‘black mirror’ to ring

How I crave your divine soul

I search for clues of your love

Hidden in your texts

Dreams of wonder fill my nights

Of having thine boy by my side

My brain is spinning me awake

While my pulse races still

I want the rush of love to thrill


What you give me is graciously hurting

But I am immortal for your love

Though your actions are undeserving

You have a sweet sense of freedom, like I do

Paint my pain with your artist’s brush so light

I’m suffering in silence deep this dark winter night



Juliet I listen to your music, it kills

It thrills

Sometimes I want to wander and explore your heart

But my wild ways would tear us apart



But that’s what relationships are about

With all the mood swings

We can grow in eternal spring

If you let me in you are doing the right thing

Let go of the ivory thorns, that prickly past

Start the new chapter and I will guide your mind

Do you trust I have a clean heart that’s ready to find?


How infinitely I crave you into my soul

How delightfully I see sparks fly around you

How crazy, I’ve been wanting

And it’s you

Give us time

We have something true



I understand the depth your tongue speaks to me

I have noticed you grow and change over the years

While I’m running away throwing back tears

I can now let go of the ivory ghosts

I will take what chance I have with this delicate young figure

Who’s intricate and inspiring


But Juliet, I shall never forget

The way you have driven me through these social emotions

Now I feel great devotion

I’m weak and cold and shaking and shy

I want to kiss you Juliet and I now know why


Love me with your lust

Take me in your arms

But let’s grow up for we’re fifty years ahead

Otherwise we shall end up like Romeo and Juliet





Second Prize:

Finally Fifty by Sara Patil

You guys will not believe what just happened. Finally, after six horrible months … I’m down to fifty! The fabulous fifty! Fantastic, fresh fifty! Fantabulous, forgiving, and free … fifty. Fifty kilos, to be precise. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for this moment. All the horrible cardio and keto actually amounted to something! You don’t even know how desperate I was to lose all that weight.

I drank apple cider vinegar shots every morning, avoided ALL carbs, and most importantly, I made sure to only eat exactly fifteen hundred calories a day. No more, no less.

It didn’t come easy though. Oh, I’ve had my fair share of mental breakdowns and binge sessions. But it was all worth it. I’ve been waiting for this day for so long … and it finally came. I can’t wait to tell Mum. I bet she’ll cry … with joy of course. I can’t wait to see her smile, to see her eyes brighten, and for her to hold my hands and tell me … ‘I’m proud of you.’ It gives me shivers just thinking about it.

Just wait til I take photos. Everyone at school will go MAD. All the guys will want me, and all the girls will want to be me. Oh, and the best part is, I can fit into a size eight! Eight! I’m basically a model now. Vogue will never see me coming. Can I tell you something? Can I be honest with you … completely honest?

When I look at myself in the mirror … I don’t see myself. I don’t see my new body, my new face … I don’t see the new me. I only see a stranger. As amazing as my new weight is, it isn’t me. I’ve just turned into the person everyone wants me to be, and that makes me feel so, so … pathetic. I thought losing all this weight would unleash the new me, the real me … but I’ve only become a version of myself that makes me feel sick.

Do you know what scares me the most? What if, what if I’m never happy? What if I’m never satisfied? What if I just lose more and more weight until I’m hardly myself anymore? You know, I can’t wait for the day when I finally learn to love myself, and not just my body but for … myself.

But I know that day will never come. I can feel it. No, I know. But sometimes I can’t help thinking, you know, I can’t help asking myself; when will that day come, when will I finally love myself?

Ahem. Sorry about that. I don’t know what got into me! Ignore all of that. I guess the hunger got to me. Um, please don’t tell anyone about this. Especially my mum. Especially not Mum. She doesn’t have to know about all my nonsense. Let’s just keep it between ourselves, okay? I would really, really appreciate it.



Third Prize:

Happy Birthday: A Zoom Call by Aaliyah Zaph

A sombre living room setting. Dark furniture, last night’s mess on the coffee table, a haggard rug sprawled underneath.

JEN enters clumsily, gripping her laptop in one hand as she settles onto the couch. 

JEN: Okay, it’s connecting … Cassie! Oh, can you hear me? Happy birthday to you, happy birthday … Oh, I’m on mute? Oh Jesus, lemme sort this out … there, can you hear me? Yeah, I was-uh-singing before, which is why, you know, the little dancey arms, yeah.


I’m so bad with technology. We’ve been doing remote learning for, like, almost a term now, and I still can’t figure it out. And sorry for calling you literally so late. I just thought, you know, you’d want some time with your family.

Yeah, I know we’re family but like your kids and … I don’t know his name. Sorry! Seriously, I can’t remember. I wanna say Tim … Nope, wait … Trevor! Yes, Trevor. How is he, by the way? He doesn’t like me, does he? Is that why you’re whispering?

Oh the kids, of course! Tell them Auntie Jen sends her love. They must be big now, yeah.

No, Auntie Jen does not have a current love interest. There’s too much going on at home. You know, I see why you got out as soon as you could.

I’m kidding … I’m not. I’m kidding!

You know what was weird, though. Cousin Tony came by on like Tuesday or something out of nowhere to fix the Wi-Fi. It wasn’t even broken! I think they sent him to check up on me and Mum.

Cass, you know Tony.

You do! He turned fifty a couple years ago, and had that big party.

Oi, don’t roll your eyes. We weren’t even gonna go til you made us! He’s the one on Facebook with all the guinea pigs …

I don’t know what he does for work, I just know that he’s weird. 

Have you spoken to Dad lately? He’s got a new wife. Name’s Margot, she’s a beautician.

Oh don’t roll your eyes like that, Cassie. Not everyone has time to get a PhD.

What? I’m not being defensive, I’m just saying. She’s doing my nails for formal. I’m getting French tips. I sent you photos of the dress but you didn’t reply.

I’m not angry, Cassie, it was just a statement. You’re starting to sound like Mum.

Yes you are!

Wow, way to change the subject.

I’m kidding, Cass.

Yeah, Mum’s okay. I mean, considering everything, you know. It gets lonely here. Quiet. Sometimes too quiet. This sort of silence is suffocating, so I’ve started to build a home inside my head. Sometimes I just lie in my bed and listen to my breathing. Sometimes I press my hand against my heart like it’s pumping a secret to me, but it never is. I—Oh, you’re frozen.

Cassie, can you hear me?

Can you hear me? I’m talking now.

Do you want to hear me?




A Helpless Hero, by Leonard Cav

The Announcement, by Sebastian DeMarte

Happy Birthday: A Zoom Call, by Aaliyah Zaph

Does age matter?, by Ayelet Gura

Joe & Juliet, by Isabel Hathorn

Gubba, by Kaylee Jesnoewski

The Monsters Around Us, by Matilda Meikle

Finally Fifty, by Sara Patil

Heartbeats, by India Smart

Congratulations to all the shortlisted writers.