The nominees for the seventh annual Lysicrates Prize for playwriting have been announced. They are writers Suvi Derkenne, Joanna Erskine and Jordan Shea.

The brainchild of arts patrons John and Patricia Azarias, the Lysicrates Prize is unique in Australia and loosely based on the ancient Greek Dionysia, the competitive arts festival that brought Athens to a standstill each year.

In its modern incarnation, three writers present the first act of a new play to a live audience, who then votes for their favourite by placing tokens in one of three urns. The winner takes home a $15,000 commission to complete the full play and this year, for the first time, the Lysicrates Foundation is providing an incentive to a theatre company to produce the winning play.

Suvi Derkenne, Joanna Erskine and Jordan Shea. Photos supplied.

Derkenne will present the first act of Murder, Murder, Hair!: A Tragedy. Erskine’s play is titled Illumination; Shea’s is Malacanang/Montgomery.

Murder, Murder, Hair is “a sugary treat … a heart-warming love story with a happy ending,” says Darkenne, a first-time playwright based in regional NSW.

I have endeavoured to write a work that is approachable for both small community theatre groups and...