Many will remember the production Dust by Suzie Miller which Black Swan presented in 2014 as the World Premiere. We are thrilled that Dust, a Rio Tinto Black Swan Commission work, won Best Script at the WA Premier's Book Awards last week! A huge congratulations to Suzie for this outstanding award.
Suzie wrote a wonderful acceptance speech, which we are happy to share with you:
I would firstly like to acknowledge and pay respects to the people from the Noongar nation who are the traditional owners and custodians of the land that my play Dust was based on and produced upon.
Secondly I must state how humbled I feel to have been shortlisted alongside the incredible Australian theatre talent in this category, all of whom are playwrights I know and admire, most of whom I also consider close friends.
I wish I could be there tonight but I am briefly in London for work.
I would like to thank the WA Premier, Colin Barnett for continuing to support and celebrate Australian writers through these awards, and to emphasise how significant it is to Australian culture when writers are made visible by government leaders.
The play Dust was the result of so much support - Black Swan State Theatre Company has been supportive in every possible way in the realisation of this play. Above all I must thank Kate Cherry who initially commissioned this work under the Rio Tinto Black Swan Commissions, and continued in her commitment to not only championing myself, but so many other Australian women playwrights and directors across the nation, overcoming barriers to allow our voices and our visions to be heard and seen on the mainstages. Kate, the impact of this cannot be underestimated.
I offer deep gratitude to Black Swan’s staff – in particular Polly Low, the generous Literary Director, Natalie Jenkins, the inspiring Executive Director and Chantelle Iemma who all provided me with so much warmth, feedback and advice. So too must I thank Andrew Drayton, a past Black Swan board member, for patiently explaining the whole world of iron ore to me over a few lattes, and I must mention the various FIFOs I met while stuck in an airport lounge, who I then interviewed as research for the play.
Of course a play changes so much in the development and rehearsal phases and I was gifted with an extremely talented director in Emily McLean, she was a true collaborator, with a unique and wonderful vision, a deep intelligence and great sensitivity to the work. We formed a natural creative union, which continues. The cast in the production of Dust were not just talented but also wonderful people, as too were the designers who created the world I had dreamt up. I also thank deeply the Perth audiences who truly celebrated this work, embraced this vision of their city and people on stage, and have been a loyal and generous audience to my work for many years now.
I take this opportunity to also thank all the staff at the State Library of WA where not only Dust was written but so too were seven of my other plays during my many stays in Perth. It is a uniquely amendable library for me to work in, and feels like a ‘writer’s home’.
Lastly to my dearest mother Elaine, my Aunty June, my parents-in-law who live in Perth, my husband Robert and my children – thank you all for supporting my writing over so many years.