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Joanna Murray Smith

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Name  Joanna Murray-Smith
Role  Playwright

Spouse  Raymond Gill
Movies  Cassidy, Georgia
Joanna Murray-Smith wwwsmhcomauffxImageurlpictureid104654006779

Books  Love Child, The Gift, Judgement Rock, Rapture, Nightfall, Redemption
Children  Lucy Hill, Sam Gill, Charlie Gill
Plays  Bombshells, The Female of, Honour
Similar People  David Williamson, Andrew Bovell, Paul Grabowsky, David Chesworth, Elena Kats‑Chernin

Joanna Murray-Smith (born 17 April 1962) is a Melbourne based Australian playwright, screenwriter, novelist, librettist and newspaper columnist.


Honour joanna murray smith


Murray-Smith was born in Mount Eliza, Victoria; her father was the literary editor and academic Stephen Murray-Smith (1922–1988). She attended Toorak College and graduated with a BA (Hons) from the University of Melbourne. On a Rotary International Scholarship in 1995, Murray-Smith attended the writing program at Columbia University, New York. In 2003, she took a sabbatical in Italy. She is married to husband Raymond Gill and has two sons.

Notable productions

Many of Murray-Smith's plays have been performed around the world. Honour has been produced in more than three dozen countries, including productions on Broadway and at the Royal National Theatre in London.

Honour was created in 1995 when Murray-Smith was studying in the writing program at Columbia University in New York. There, the play's first public appearance was in a reading with Meryl Streep, Sam Waterston and Kyra Sedgwick. The play was then performed at the Belasco Theatre on Broadway in 1998 with Jane Alexander, Robert Foxworth, Laura Linney and Enid Graham; it earned Tony Award nominations for Alexander and Graham. It was performed at London's Royal National Theatre with Eileen Atkins who won best actress in the Laurence Olivier Awards for the role. Its West End performance took place at Wyndham's Theatre in 2006 with Diana Rigg, Martin Jarvis and Natascha McElhone.

Ridge's Lovers was performed in New York under the direction of Brian Leahy Doyle. Honour, Nightfall, Rapture, Ninety and Day One, a Hotel, Evening have all had staged readings or productions at the annual New York Stage and Film Festival at Vassar College.

Scenes from a Marriage was performed in January 2008 at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, directed by Trevor Nunn, with Iain Glen and Imogen Stubbs.

The Female of the Species, based on events in the life of Germaine Greer, opened in the West End at the Vaudeville Theatre in July 2008, directed by Roger Michell and starring Eileen Atkins. A Broadway production, originally planned for 2008 with Annette Bening was postponed. It was nominated for Best New Comedy in the 2009 Olivier Awards. In February and March 2010, the play was staged at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles with David Arquette and Bening. Charles Isherwood of The New York Times wrote about this production: "The Female of the Species is not just antifeminist. In its depiction of women as variously pompous, deluded, self-obsessed, hypocritical, sexually obsequious or just plain crazy, it comes closer to being antifemale."


The plays and novels of Murray-Smith have been translated and performed widely around the world. According to the Australia Council, Joanna Murray-Smith and Daniel Keene account for half of all foreign productions of Australian plays. However, Murray-Smith feels that within Australia, and especially at the Sydney Theatre Company, her work and that of other Australian writers, e.g. David Williamson's, is insufficiently supported.


  • Angry Young Penguins (1987) (Church Theatre, Melbourne) (see also: Ern Malley)
  • Atlanta (1990) (Playbox Theatre Company, Melbourne)
  • Love Child (1993) (Playbox Theatre Company)
  • Ridge's Lovers (1993) (La Mama, Melbourne)
  • Flame (1994) (Griffin Theatre Company, Sydney)
  • Honour (1995) (Playbox Theatre Company)
  • Redemption (1997) (Playbox Theatre Company)
  • Nightfall (1999) (Playbox Theatre Company)
  • Rapture (2002) (Playbox Theatre Company)
  • Bombshells (2004) (Melbourne Theatre Company, written for Caroline O'Connor)
  • The Female of the Species (2006) (Melbourne Theatre Company)
  • Ninety (2008) (Melbourne Theatre Company)
  • Scenes from a Marriage (2008) (based on the 1973 Bergman film)
  • Rockabye (2009) (Melbourne Theatre Company)
  • Songs for Nobodies (2010) (Melbourne Theatre Company, written for Bernadette Robinson)
  • The Gift (2011) (Melbourne Theatre Company)
  • Day One, a Hotel, Evening (2011) (Red Stitch Actors Theatre, Melbourne)
  • True Minds (2013) (Melbourne Theatre Company)
  • Fury (2013) (Sydney Theatre Company)
  • Switzerland (2014) (Sydney Theatre Company)
  • Pennsylvania Avenue (2014) (Melbourne Theatre Company, written for Bernadette Robinson)
  • Three Little Words (2017) (Melbourne Theatre Company)
  • Novels

  • Truce (1994) ISBN 978-0-14-015252-4
  • Judgement Rock (2002) ISBN 978-0-14-025429-7
  • Sunnyside (2005) ISBN 978-0-14-300536-0
  • Other

  • The poems of Ern Malley (ed) (1988), ISBN 978-0-04-150088-2
  • Georgia (1988) (film)
  • Cassidy (1989) (for ABC Television, after the novel by Morris West)
  • "Mimi Goes to the Analyst" in Six Pack (1992) (for SBS TV)
  • "Greed" in Seven Deadly Sins (1993) (for ABC Television)
  • Lyrics to a song cycle about Harold Holt, music by Paul Grabowsky
  • Janus: episodes "Fit to Plead", "An Unnatural Act", "A Prima Facie Case" (1995) (for ABC Television)
  • Libretto to the opera Love in the Age of Therapy (2002) (by Paul Grabowsky for Opera Australia, Melbourne Festival and Sydney Festival)
  • Libretto to The Divorce (2015) (for ABC Television)
  • Awards

  • Australian Film Institute Award nomination in 1989 for the screenplay to Georgia (shared with Ben Lewin, Bob Weis).
  • Braille Book of the Year for Judgement Rock
  • Victorian Premier's Literary Award: Southbank Pacific Prize for Drama for Honour in 1996
  • Victorian Premier's Literary Award: Louis Esson Prize for Drama for Rapture in 2003
  • Winner 2004 Fringe First Award, Edinburgh Festival Fringe for Bombshells
  • International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award nomination in 2004 for Judgement Rock
  • Winner 2005 London Theatregoers Choice Award for Bombshells
  • Final list of twelve of the Miles Franklin Award in 2006 for Sunnyside
  • Co-winner New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards (Play Award) 2012 for The Gift
  • References

    Joanna Murray-Smith Wikipedia