2022 - Shortlisted


Judges' Comments 

Witty, hilarious and clever, Cursed! by Kodie Bedford examines the responsibilities of nurturing the bonds of family, despite the complexities and intricacies that make families hard work. Haunted by suspicions of a family curse, Aboriginal woman Bernadette leaves Sydney — where the racism is ‘complicated’ — and heads back to her hometown of Geraldton in Western Australia, where the racism is more pointed. She is reuniting with her dysfunctional and multi-racial family before the imminent death of their grandmother. 

Bedford’s writing is subtle and hard-hitting in turns, appraising a postcolonial Australia and the family’s overbearing Catholicism through a cast of characters that feels entirely believable. The work espouses a diversity that does not feel forced, with a tenderness that simultaneously highlights and pardons the characters’ shortcomings. A refreshing take on the family reunion narrative, this play prompts deep thought and reflection on condemnation by, and empathy from, family and community, and the continued effort we make to love.