CuriousWorks Artistic Director S. Shakthidharan is this year’s joint winner of the prestigious Philip Parsons Fellowship for Emerging Playwrights.

The annual fellowship is awarded by Belvoir St Theatre and Arts NSW, to an “emerging playwright whose work demonstrates an original and compelling theatrical voice”.

Key to his successful nomination was the judging panel’s assessment of his previous work, including A Counting & Cracking of Heads currently in development with Belvoir. The play stems from his own Sri Lankan/Australian background, following the uprooting and resettling of a family over four generations.

The prize will enable the writing and creative development of a new work within CuriousWorks’ Colony project, with support from Belvoir’s artistic staff.

Colony is a series of interconnected stories, spanning pre-colonial times to the 22nd century, that create a grand narrative about the impact of global mass migration and the role traditional wisdom could play within contemporary culture.

“I’m delighted and honoured to receive the Parsons Fellowship. Recognition like this is uplifting, and an important step in the CuriousWorks mission to see our arts representing the real cultural diversity of Australia,” Shakthi said.

Shakthi shares the 2015 award with Nakkiah Lui, a Gamillaroi/Torres Strait Islander woman with numerous writing and acting credits including as co-writer and star of ABC TV’s Black Comedy.

The fellowship commemorates the life’s work of Philip Parsons AM (1926-1993). Dr Parsons was an influential teacher and mentor to many of the students, scholars, actors, directors and playwrights who created the new wave of theatre and drama in the 1970s.

It’s the latest in a series of recent theatre accolades for Shakthi. In October, A Counting & Cracking of Heads was one of just nine plays selected for Playwrighting Australia’s New Play Development Program, and last month Shakthi was named as part of the artistic directorate to lead the new National Theatre of Parramatta.