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2023 - Shortlisted


Judges' Comments

Cathedral is named after one of the famous underwater caves at Piccaninnie Ponds in South Australia. The story follows Clay, whose mother was lost while diving there. He has returned to this cathedral cave to face the past, grapple with grief, and accept what is. From this private place, he shares an epic story of love, loss and hope. 

Cathedral is a ‘play of voices’, to be performed by one actor accompanied by the disembodied voices of those he remembers and imagines as nitrogen narcosis takes hold. Memories, hallucinations and reality blend as nitrogen begins to overpower Clay’s bloodstream. Time and place are fluid. This is a formally striking work constructed with great skill, and the character of Clay and the voices of attendant family and friends are finely shaped and delineated. It’s a play that addresses difficult questions with poetry, precision and a redemptive heart.