26 Aug 2021


(Pictured: Sandra Miller (centre)  and the cast of the 2018 IMPACT Ensemble) 


Former Empire Youth Arts IMPACT Ensemble member and Empire Theatres Youth Bursary recipient, Sandra Miller has been awarded the 2021 Queensland Theatre’s Young Playwrights’ Award for her deeply moving, coming of age story, Paradise Dreaming.

Paradise Dreaming won the top prize in what Queensland Theatre described as one of the strongest pools of entries seen in almost 20 years of the award.

A current Year 12 student, Sandra received a 2018 Empire Youth Bursary for Queensland Theatre Residency Week when was in Year 10 and was a member of the auditioned IMPACT ensemble in 2019 and 2020.

As part of her winnings, Sandra receives an all expenses paid trip to Queensland Theatre Residency Week at Queensland theatre next month, which will include dramaturgy sessions to develop her script, before a professional reading of her work.

Speaking to Queensland Theatre, Sandra said it was an emotional experience to win the award and to have her work recognised at such a level was both validating and humbling.

“This play is about my family. It tries to capture our first few moments in Australia, although it is fragmentally presented because I was only four when we moved. It’s special to me as it’s like I’m trying to paint a picture that we all remember differently.”

Sandra is the fourth Empire Theatre affiliated winner of this award with previous winners including Tom Glassey, Grace Jervis, and writing team Blake Hohenhaus and Zoe Hulme-Peake.

Queensland Theatre’s Young Playwrights’ Award is given annually when high school aged writers from Years 9-12 submit an original play which is then read by a panel of industry professionals.