Indian Australian wins prestigious award

Winners of the prestigious Australian Writers Guild awards were announced at a glittering ceremony on September 23, 2011. Among the winners are Roanna Gonsalves, an Indian Australian writer, and her collaborators (Damien Millar, Raimondo Cortese, Görkem Acaroğlu, and the company of actors). Their script for the play Yet to Ascertain the Nature of the Crime, which was performed in Melbourne in November 2010, won the award for best script in the Community and Youth Theatre category. This script was produced by Melbourne Workers Theatre, and was mainly constructed using the actual words of many Indian students who were attacked in Melbourne, education agents, councilors, other Indian Australians, and even a couple of young men who hold white supremacist views. Using humour, music, and even a bit of Bollywood dancing, it presents a nuanced view of the attacks, and provides a space in which the actual words of the victims can be heard. The play had audiences laughing  loudly as well as sobbing throughout the performance, and was a sell-out last year.

Roanna Gonsalves is currently doing a PhD at UNSW, and is also working on a television documentary with director Ana Tiwary of inDiVisual films about Indian students in Australia, a play for Bell Shakespeare’s Mind’s Eye Initiative with director Susanna Dowling, and a novel set in India. She dedicated the award to Indian students who were killed, namely Nitin Garg and Tosha Thakkar, and all Indian students who have experienced physical and verbal attacks in Australia. Yet to Ascertain the Nature of the Crime has been invited to perform at Mumbai’s renowned Kala Ghoda festival in 2012.

They are seeking sponsors to help them get to Mumbai and can be contacted at roannag@gmail.com.

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