The Kate Challis (RAKA) Award

20th Mar 2017
29th May 2017
Enrolment status
University Trust Record



Area of creative arts for 2017 is : BEST STAGE PLAY

Study Area

Australian Indigenous studies


This prize is proudly supported by the Australian Centre.

This award for Indigenous creative artists has been made available through the generosity of Professor Emeritus Bernard Smith, eminent art and cultural historian. The prize was established to honour the memory of his late wife, Kate Challis, who was known in her youth as Ruth Adeney (RAKA is an acronym for the Ruth Adeney Koori Award). In the Pintupi language RAKA means 'five' and in the Warlpiri RDAKA means 'hand', and both meanings are particularly apt for a prize to be awarded in a cycle of five years to individual artists - novelists, poets, musicians, painters and playwrights - whose 'hands' are the basic means of creativity.

The $20,000 award is offered annually and is to be applied to encourage Indigenous creative artists to undertake literary works, paintings, sculptures, craftwork, plays and musical compositions and to assist in advancing the recognition of Aboriginal achievements in these areas. It is awarded in a five-year cycle with a different area of the arts - creative prose, drama, the visual arts, scriptwriting and poetry - being rewarded each year.

Visit the Australian Centre website for more information on past winners.




  1. The author must be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  2. The prize is to be awarded to the best stage play performed in the preceding five years
  3. The play must have been performed between January 2012 and January 2017


The recipient is required to:

  • Accept award online within 14 days
  • Write a  letter of appreciation to the donor/committee (upon acceptance)
  • Attend the award announcement at the Australian Centre, Faculty of Arts Literary Awards at Melbourne Writers Festival (25 August - 3 September)
  • Unsuccessful entrants will be notified after the awards event 
  • The decision of the Judging Committee is final


The award winner will be announced at the Australian Centre, Faculty of Arts Literary Awards at Melbourne Writers Festival (25 August - 3 September)

Application process

You must submit your application online and upload the following documents to support your application:

  1. Six (6) DVD recordings of the complete stage production and the published script. If the play has not been been published, please submit a copy of the final draft of the play / performance text. If no DVD recording is available, please submit a copy of the performance program with play script.
  2. Applicants or agents/nominators are required to submit a full statement of up to one page on their current practice and its development over the past five years
  3. Applicants or agents/nominators are required to submit a curriculum vitae of up to one page

Please send your DVD material to: Awards Team, Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne VIC 3010

Publications and other application material will not be returned.