The Diotima


Wise Women:

Philosophy, Drama

and the female Voice


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Why is philosophy so male-dominated?

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'The Diotima Prize' aims to use drama to focus on this question and redress the imbalance.

With money from the Australian Research Council, three one-act play submissions will win $5,000 each and have their plays presented as a staged reading, during a culminating event in 2024.

The ancient Greeks invented a new way of writing philosophy as a dramatic conversation. Yet women were rarely allowed to join the stage in ancient philosophical dramas. Dawn LaValle Norman's research, funded by the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) project “The Female Voice in Ancient Philosophical Dialogues”, probes the historical roots of women's marginalisation in philosophical conversations from the Greek tradition into the modern day.

The Diotima Prize brings new voices onto the philosophical stage by supporting the creation of dramatic works that inspire us to rethink what it means to be a philosopher.

The Diotima Prize Winners 2023

India Alessandra is a Playwright & Content Specialist based in Naarm (Melbourne). Her previous credits include Haha Fair Enough (2022) & Intimacy Issues (2019). She was a Theatre Works She Writes Resident in 2020-22 and a Writer in Residence at Arquetopia in Oaxaca, Mexico during 2019.

Louise Hopewell is a writer based in Naam/Melbourne. Since stumbling into playwriting through a chance encounter with Melbourne Writers’ Theatre (MWT), Louise’s short plays have been widely performed, including at Madwomen Monologues, Bendigo TENx10, Voices of Women Embellishment and Theatia Podsie.

Louise’s first full-length play, Only Human, was selected for MWT’s Page to Stage dramaturgy program in 2022.

When not writing, Louise can be found playing ukulele or riding her bicycle (alas not at the same time!)

Sharmini Kumar is the founder and Artistic Director of 24 Carrot Productions. She has adapted, written, directed and produced many performance pieces and short films including ‘Shakespeare in Therapy’, 'Sense and Sensibility: The Musical' and ‘The Regina Monologues’, as well as radio documentaries for the ABC. When she's not writing and directing, she works as a doctor and teaches medicine.

One-act plays

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MaY 2024 Play Readings

Hear the winning plays of 'The Diotima Prize.'

- The Veil by India Alessandra

- Little Answers by Louise Hopewell

- Queens of Life, Death and Love by Sharmini Kumar

With scripts in hand, actors present new works-in-progress, directed by Cathy Hunt.

India Alessandra, Sharmini Kumar, and Louise Hopewell, each offer a unique perspective on philosophical concepts through their one-act plays.

Register your details to attend. Free event.

2pm to 5pm, Sunday 12 May, 2024

Australian Catholic University

Amphitheatre, St Teresa of Kolkata building (ground floor),

115B Victoria Parade, Fitzroy, VIC 3065, Australia

The Diotima Team

Dawn is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Religion and Critical Inquiry at Australian Catholic University. She is an expert on the ancient and late antique Mediterranean worlds, and is working specifically on the role that women play in ancient Greek philosophical dialogues as part of her DECRA. Educated in the USA, she completed a postdoc at Oxford, before coming to ACU in 2017.

yogashree thirunavukarasu

Yogashree (she/her) is a 2019 graduate of LASALLE College of the Arts’ Diploma in Performance program. She is an actor, playwright, poet and singer. Based in Melbourne from 2020, she graduated from Deakin University’s Bachelor of Creative Arts (Drama) in 2022. Yogashree also wrote and directed an original show, Unestablished, (September 2022) in Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Drama Studio, as part of her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) creative practice project.

Jamaica is a writer based in Melbourne/Naarm.

Her plays have been presented by and developed through NIDA Melbourne, La Mama Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company and Darebin Arts Speakeasy. She was a participant in MTC’s Women in Theatre Program, 2020; a creative in residence at the Centre Pompadour, France, 2019; and a writer in residence with Lonely Company, 2016. She has a Master of Writing for Performance from the VCA.

Judging Panel

Chong-Gossard is an expert on women in ancient Greek tragedy, and is Professor of Classics at the University of Melbourne.

Cole works at the intersection of Classical thought and experimental theatre. She has extensive experience as a dramaturg and theatre consultant in the UK and will soon take up the role of Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Queensland.

Internationally renowned actor, writer and Classicist, Montgomery Griffiths is currently the Head of Performing Arts at Collarts.


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