Xavier Coy has been announced as the 2022 Silver Gull Play Award for his play Fighting, an exploration into the mind of one man as he traverses the highs and lows of bipolar over the course of a day.
The story is based on Coy’s own experience of living with bipolar disorder and seeks to correct damaging stereotypes about the mental health condition by allowing audiences to witness the protagonist’s battles with both the people in his life and the voices in his head.
“Two and a half years ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, PTSD and anxiety. It led me down a path of introspection and self-discovery.” Coy said.
“I have come to learn what Bipolar really looks like and how it is represented on stage and screen. It borders on wrong to offensive. So much of it is generalized ‘crazy.’ Seeing all this led me to write Fighting as a way of showing an authentic experience of the disease.”
The Silver Gull Play Award is a competition open to NSW-based writers over the age of 18 for an unpublished and unproduced original play of 60 minutes or more duration that speaks to New Theatre’s ethos of ‘Plays With a Purpose’.
Described by judges as ‘mesmerizing,’ ‘powerful’ and ‘a brave new leap in theatre,’ Fighting was selected from 40 submissions to take out the award. Four plays were shortlisted and read in a live event at Sydney’s New Theatre prior to the winner being announced: Inside Out by Christopher Bryant, Fighting by Xavier Coy, God in Space by Jeanette Cronin, and Miriam by James Elazzi.
Coy receives a prize of $5000 and the other shortlisted writers receive $500 each.
Coy has written for theatre (Not Even God Can Save Us for ACA, The World According To Jerry and Agency for KXT Storytellers Festival, Distorted for Old 505 Theatre), television (Five Bedrooms) and film (The Dream, Changing Tides). Previous awards include the 2017 Terracini Estate Residency and NIDA Award for Best Writer, and 2018 Sydney Fringe Award for his play Caught Out, which is currently being adapted into a musical format.