Peta Tait Prize

Purpose of the Award

The Peta Tait Prize seeks to recognise ADSA members who have made a significant contribution to pioneering, nurturing and shaping a specific area of praxis within the inter-related fields of theatre, drama, and performance studies. This will be demonstrated through: a curated body of significant creative projects and associated traditional scholarship.

The Prize therefore recognises the role of an individual, or a sustained creative partnership, in not only pioneering new ways of understanding objects of study within our discipline, but also in shaping and supporting the work of others. The Prize seeks to acknowledge the often-overlooked role of mid-career and senior artist-scholars in advancing the field.


The Peta Tait Prize will be awarded once every four (4) years, starting in 2019. As there was no winner in 2019, the inaugural award has been held over until 2020. The subsequent sequence remains unchanged. The Prize will therefore next be awarded in:

  • 2027.
Nominations should include a curated body of five works, in a combination of significant creative projects, for which the artist(s) can demonstrate a through-line of investigation and their contribution(s) in leadership role(s), and associated traditional scholarship.

Nominees can self-nominate. Alternatively, nominees can be nominated by another ADSA member. The nominator(s) should provide a 1000-word statement about the work’s impact that consists of the following:
  • The name of the creative projects and associated published scholarship;
  • The reason for the nomination, speaking to each of the categories of pioneering, nurturing and shaping a specific area of praxis;
  • Details of past projects where appropriate; and
  • Electronic copies of the work being nominated.


To be eligible, at least one of the nominated works must have been published or produced in any of the four years prior to the award of the prize. The nominee must have been a member of ADSA in the year in which the qualifying work was published or produced, and in the year of the award. In the case of jointly-produced projects, at least one nominee should be a member of ADSA in the year(s) stipulated, and in this case, the prize money will be awarded to the member. Members are not eligible to win the same prize consecutively, whether solely or jointly.

About Peta Tait

Professor Peta Tait is a Life Member of ADSA. Her research areas include, animal performance and animal studies; Australian theatre and gender identity; body-based performance; performing emotions and their social meanings; and Chekhov’s drama and realistic acting theory. She is the author of Circus Bodies: Cultural Identity in Aerial Performance. (London Routledge, 2005); Performing Emotions: Gender, Bodies, Spaces, in Chekhov’s Drama and Stanislavski’s Theatre.  (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002); Converging Realities: Feminism in Australian Theatre.  (Sydney: Currency Press, 1994). She is the editor of Body Show/s: Australian Viewings of Live Performances. (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2000) and co-editor (with Elizabeth Schafer) of Australian Women’s Drama: Texts and Feminisms. (Sydney: Currency Press, 1997. Republished 2000).

2023 Winner
Stephen Carleton

As a discipline we have never shied away from complex and thorny topics. Our work in both creative and theoretical domains seeks to provoke consideration and reflection, to open new ways of thinking and feeling and to make an impression. The winner of this year’s Peta Tait Prize is at the forefront of this kind of work. He has built a sustained and interlinked body of creative and theoretical work that has moved audiences and readers by synthesising previous scholarship and using his interests in climate fiction, eco-criticism and gothic drama to show the way forward for the value of practice and theory in opening new modes of thinking, and responding to, the climate crisis and about our responsibilities as citizens for our communities, our environments and the planet more broadly.

Stephen has produced a dynamic and important body of work developing Australia Gothic drama and climate fiction (cli-fi) through his plays Constance Drinkwater and the Final Days of Somerset, The Turquoise Elephant and New Babylon. As well as his award-winning plays (which also include The Narcissist and Bastard Territory), he has produced a series of beautifully written and carefully argued essays that work in conversation with his creative outputs to model new ways of representing and negotiating some of the most difficult issues we face. His work has been recognised both nationally and internationally and in awarding him this prize we acknowledge and commend him for his highly impactful contribution to the discipline. We warmly congratulate him on this award.

Past Winners

2020 Rachael Swain and Dalisa Pigram
The research emerges from robust collaborative practice that is embedded in place and culture. Swain and Pigram have a long history of cultural and artistic collaboration and have produced several excellent works that have pushed disciplinary and political boundaries. Their work is interdisciplinary in form and content, and challenges normative ideas of story, dance, theatre, and culture. They demonstrate a genuine commitment to practice research as iterative that brings others with them, and that enriches and expands the field of practice. Swain and Pigram have developed methods of working that truly enact intercultural exchange and in doing so, they have fostered and supported the work of a range of collaborators across regions, nations and artistic forms. All of their practice is deeply respectful of Indigenous protocols and an awareness of what Swain calls 'the contested politics of recognition'. Their work has garnered significant interest in Australia and internationally. It is pioneering in terms of its experiments with form, vocabularies and politics.

Past Winners

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