Jeanne Pratt AC today announced the winner of The Pratt Prize for Music Theatre 2004 – Matthew Robinson, who submitted the musical METRO STREET for which he wrote the music, lyrics and book.
As the recipient of the second Pratt Prize, Matthew received a $50,000 cash award and will also receive $30,000 towards a 2005 workshop production of his material. This $80,000 prize is made possible through the generosity of The Pratt Foundation.
Matthew Robinson, who turned 25 today, is a Melbourne based performer and composer. He is a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Matthew describes METRO STREET as a contemporary Australian drama that charts the intersecting lives of a mother and son, a girl from the bush and a Toorak twenty-something as they angle to find their place in metropolitan Melbourne with only a streetside busker to guide the way. These five ordinary citysiders discover that to satisfy their need for the extraordinary, they must first find each other.
Jeanne Pratt stated: “I think we’ve discovered a brilliant new musical creation in METRO STREET and can1t wait to see the workshop production of it in 2005. Matthew is an extremely talented all-rounder who has written an original and exciting piece of theatre. And The Production Company will assist Matthew with staging the workshop.2
The Production Company was created by Jeanne in 1999, as a not-for-profit theatrical organization, specifically established to promote and showcase new and well-known theatre talent. They produce three semi-staged musicals each year at the State Theatre.
Aside from Jeanne Pratt AC, the judges for The Pratt Prize were musical director Peter Casey, composer and former director of The Melbourne Festival Jonathan Mills, producers John Hay-Mackenzie & Ken Mackenzie-Forbes AM of Macks Entertainment, actor, writer & director Malcolm Robertson and arts journalist Michael Shmith.
One hundred and four works were received from all over Australia for consideration of The Pratt Prize for Musical Theatre. The judges found the submissions to be of a very high standard and had a difficult time getting down to only seven works for the shortlist.
Richard Pratt AC and Jeanne Pratt AC established The Pratt Foundation in 1978 with the shared vision of supporting charitable enterprises and adding value to philanthropy. The Foundation is now one of the largest sources of philanthropy in Australia. In the words of its mission statement, it aims to enrich the lives of our community and, in the words of Jeremiah, it works to fulfil this aim in a spirit of kindness, justice and equity.
About Matthew Robinson:
A WAAPA Graduate of 2000, Matthew1s stage credits included: South Pacific (The Production Company); God1s Last Acre and The Sign of the Seahorse (Playbox); the original Australian cast of MAMMA MIA! (Dainty); Back to Bacharach (Full Cream Productions); Sunset BBQ (Midsumma) and Saturday Night (Magnormos). His television credits included Blue Heelers, Stingers, A Most Deadly Family (Village Roadshow) and Good Morning Australia . As a songwriter, Matthew1s work has been featured at the York Theater Company (N.Y.C.), The Esplanade Theatre Complex (Singapore), and in various cabaret performances throughout Australia and New York. A member of original band Inside Zero, his work has been commissioned by the Australian Theatre for Young People and Tasmanian Carols By Candlelight and he received the inaugural Judges1 Award at the 2003 Sydney Cabaret Convention. Matthew1s first musical Metro Street underwent a 2003 reading at VCA, was invited to participate in the 2004 New York Music Theatre Festival and is in development for further production. Matthew last appeared for The Production Company in this year’s Carousel and Annie Get Your Gun.