Larrakia/Yanyuwan Playwright and performer, Jada Alberts has this week been awarded the inaugural Mona Brand Emerging Writer Award for her stage work 'Brothers Wreck'. The critically lauded play which dealt with issues such as suicide, family and survival, directed by Leah Purcell was a hit with audiences when it was shown at the Belvoir St Theatre in 2014.
The only award of its kind in Australia, the Mona Brand award is named after trailblazing writer Mona Alexis Fox nee Brand (1915-2007) who made the award possible through bequest to the State Library of NSW Foundation. Brand's socially conscious works, including close to 30 plays, have been performed both here and overseas not only on the stage but also on television and radio.
The judges spoke highly of Alberts' professional playwrighting debut. "Brothers Wreck is Jada Alberts’ superb professional playwriting debut. An intimate portrait of Ruben, a 21‐year‐old Indigenous man dealing with the suicide of his cousin, this moving and confronting work deeply impressed the judges. In a deceptively simple style, it chronicles Ruben’s pain, confusion and self‐recrimination, in circumstances where his own path to self‐destruction seems certain."
"Yet, in Jada Alberts’ hands, the drama is not only a powerful piece about grief and anger; it is also a story of the hope, humour and pathos of a tightknit, loving family that is determined to save Ruben from the tragic fate which is reaching epidemic proportions among young Indigenous people."
Jada Alberts delivers an important message — one of compassion, understanding and respect — and she does it with the craft and intelligence of a playwright who we can’t wait to see more from.
In accepting the award Alberts acknowledged the line of women who taught her story and 'truth'. "This is such an honour. To receive this award in tribute of such an incredible writer, feels precious and affirming and is undoubtedly the highlight of my career to date. Thank you. It means much more than I can say."
"I come from a very long line of extraordinary women who taught me story, and taught me truth. Larrakia women. Yanyuwa women. They made something out of nothing so often, and with such little support and recognition. For that I owe them everything - my mother, Franchesca Cubillo and my grandmothers Cecelia Cubillo, Hilda Muir and Teresa Cubillo." Alberts said.
Alberts is currently working on the second series of Cleverman.