STAGE Scientists, Technologists, and Artists Generating Exploration

EAR TO THE EDGE OF TIME, by Alana Valentine

Winner of the 5th STAGE International Script Competition

About the Play

In Ear to the Edge of Time, a contemporary radio astronomer faces a desperate crisis about gender politics, attribution, and the role of team work in 21st century science. The play deals with the fascinating machinations of astronomical physics, as well as the dilemmas, compromises, and culture that are part of scientific discovery.

About the Playwright

Alana Valentine

Alana Valentine’s writing draws from contemporary Australian voices within our midst and from our past as well as engaging contemporary international stories that intersect with Australia. Run Rabbit Run, the story of the South Sydney Rugby League team who fought and won against Rupert Murdoch, traced the passion of supporters to re-enter the NRL after their exclusion, while in Parramatta Girls, the trauma and brutalization of girls in a state training school was made vividly real. Both of these plays have been on the NSW HSC syllabus since 2010. Two years after Parramatta Girls was produced, the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, gave an official public apology from the nation to the Forgotten Australians, the children whose treatment and experiences were exampled in the play.

In 2011, her play Student Body, drawing on the voices of international students studying in Australia, was produced in Melbourne, and M.P, drawn from interviews with Australian female politicians, was performed at the Canberra Street Theatre. In 2012, Walk a Mile in My Shoes was a sold out sensation at the 2012 Sydney Festival and moved on to the 2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival in March. This cross-cultural concert drew on original songs and verbatim stories articulating the experience of indigenous women from Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Also in 2012, Cyberbile, a play about the cyberbulling of teenaged students, was presented at the Nepean School for the Performing Arts, after having been commissioned and presented at PLC Croydon in December, 2011.

Grounded, commissioned by atyp/Tantrum Theatre, will be produced in May, 2012, based on interviews and workshops with Newcastle young adults about their experience of living in an Australian regional city and their memories of the grounding of the Panamax bulk carrier, the Pasha Bulker, on Nobby’s Beach in 2007. Head Full of Love will be presented at the Queensland Theatre Company in July, 2012. Based at the Alice Springs Beanie Festival, the play draws on interviews and involvement with the Pitjantjatjara women of the Central Desert mob, the Beanie Festival community, kidney dialysis workers, nurses, and others based in Alice Springs. It was first presented at the Darwin Festival in 2010, and then toured to Cairns and Alice. The tour raised $10K from audience donations and beanie sales, which went toward assisting Central Desert mob living with kidney disease. It was nominated for a Queensland Premier’s Literary Award in 2011.

In August 2009, Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah was presented at Sydney’s Seymour Centre, based on poignant, amusing and intriguing interviews with Australian Muslim women living in Sydney’s west. In 2010-2011, Alana was the recipient of a Literature Board Fellowship from the Australia Council for the Arts, which allowed her to write both Head Full of Love and Ear to the Edge of Time. She has also worked with many of Australia's most highly regarded Aboriginal artists, including Stephen Page, Andrea James, Emma Donovan, Ursula Yovich, Romaine Moreton and Wesley Enoch. In 2011, she completed a short film called The Ballad of Junee Jail, after a week’s residency in Junee Correctional Facility spent working with 13 indigenous and Pacific Islander male inmates.

In 2000, Alana received a Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies (with Merit) from the University of Sydney. Since then, she has created memorable theatre works for museums and cultural institutions including, most recently, Shadow Boy, for the Museum of Australian Democracy. Shadow Boy was presented in 2012 as part of the Canberra Enlighten Festival. In 2008, she wrote and directed, with Gary Warner, the multi-media presentation Moses Joseph, installed in Sydney’s refurbished Jewish Museum. Alana has also created works for the Museum of Sydney, Australian National Maritime Museum, Australian War Memorial, Hyde Park Barracks Museum, and Sydney Observatory.

Alana is a multi-award winning writer, having received the 2004 QLD Premier’s Award for Best Drama Script, the 2003 NSW Writer’s Fellowship, the 2002 Rodney Seaborn Playwrights’ Award, and an International Writing Fellowship at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Her play Parramatta Girls received two Helpmann Award nominations, including best New Australian Work and Best Play. She has also received two Australian Writers Guild awards, a Victorian Green Room Award nomination, a 2001 commendation for the Louis Esson Prize, a residency at the Banff Playwrights’ Conference in Canada, the ANPC/New Dramatists Award in NYC, a Churchill Fellowship for England and Ireland, and a NSW Premier’s Award. In 2000, she received a Centenary Medal for her work on the Centenary of Australia’s Federation, a personal highlight.

Other plays include Lost Illusions (NIDA), The Modest Aussie Cozzie (St Ignatius’ College, Riverview), Watermark (Katherine Regional Arts), Ratticus and Reidar (Hyde Park Barracks), Eyes to the Floor (Outback Theatre for Young People), Singing the Lonely Heart (New Theatre), Love Potions (New Theatre), Butterfly Dandy (Women on a Shoestring), Covenant (Powerhouse Youth Theatre), The Prospectors (Monkeybaa/STC, ANMM), Titania’s Boy (Riverina Theatre Company, Wagga Wagga and Griffith), Savage Grace (Steamworks/La Mama, Performing Lines, Subiaco Arts Centre, Blue Room, Religion, Literature and Arts Festival, Adelaide Festival Centre) Row of Tents (New York Fringe Festival 2001), The Conjurers (Playbox, La Boite), Ozone (Brisbane Festival), Spool Time (Vitalstatistix) and Swimming the Globe (Freewheels, Northern NSW Tour, Commonwealth Games Cultural Festival, Malaysia).

Alana has written episodes of the television series McLeod’s Daughters. Her short films include Mother Love (for SBS Television) and Reef Dreaming (for installation on a water screen in Darling Harbour).

Alana worked as a broadcaster for ABC Radio Drama for three years. Since leaving full time employment with the National Broadcaster to work as a playwright, Alana has frequently returned to make radio drama and radio features for the Radio National network. She is the author of more than 20 original works for radio, including the Australian Writers’ Guild Award for Best Radio Play Winner, The Word Salon. The play was also nominated for a NSW Premier’s Literary Award in the scriptwriting category. Three other radio plays have additionally had AWGIE nominations, and The Story of Anger Lee Bredenza won the NSW Literary Award for Radio Writing. She has received international awards for her work as a radio producer, including a BBC Newcomers Award and a Silver Medal at the New York Film and Radio Awards, and in 1992 she travelled on a Churchill Fellowship in this capacity. Her work has been broadcast in Iceland, Canada, England, New Zealand and Hong Kong.