Barbara and the Camp Dogs by Ursula Yovich and Alana Valentine

Woman with microphone on stage.

Judges' Comments 

Barbara and the Camp Dogs is a fusion of music and narrative that tells the story of Barbara and her sister Rene, both born frontwomen who, when they hear their mother is sick, undertake a road trip to Darwin. Accompanied by their band The Camp Dogs, they belt their way through the centre of Australia, ending up in Katherine, their home and the place where their mother will pass away.  What follows is Barbara’s reckoning with her own past and a mending of the relationship with the sister she let down. 

This play stands out for its take-no-prisoners attitude, its playfulness and the depth and warmth at the heart of the storytelling. It is an elegantly woven play that doesn’t shy away from the brokenness of the characters or the country they are living in. Its greatest strength is in the showcasing of two strong female characters who face a sometimes difficult world with strength and humour, bolstered by their love for each other. Barbara and the Camp Dogs is a heart-wrenching play told with great emotional truth.