The Winner of the 2023 Lesley Hall Scholarship is Sophie Smyth !
We are proud to announce this year's winner of the Lesley Hall Scholarship is Sophie Smyth! a neurodivergent singer, actor, writer, and sometimes dancer based in Naarm.
Sophie Smyth received her award at this year’s TOFF Red Carpet. Sophie told us
“I’m honoured to join a long, distinguished line of disability leaders and it’s a responsibility I do not take lightly. I heard recently that being an artist is about being in conversation with all the artists who came before you, and I think that’s even more true about being a disabled artist, and advocate, and human. I am only here because others made space for me. I stand on their shoulders and hope to do them proud in our continued fight through my art and advocacy.”
Sophie Smyth creates mostly autobiographical work. Her work balances precariously on the knife-edge of comedy and tragedy, where light and dark are codependent. She welds that knife to challenge assumptions and confront ableism, and is not afraid to. She is passionate about disability access and inclusion, authentic representation, and making you laugh.
Sophie’s current work includes:
- Screenwriting Unloveable: a half-hour comedy-drama for television about her experiences dating while autistic. Unloveable is developed with funding from Screen Australia.
- Musical theatre work currently untitled: a musical about a young artist’s confusing quest to find her own narrative. the musical is developed with funding from Creative Victoria.
Sophie’s past works and awards include:
- Awards: Green Room Award for Best Writing in a Cabaret (for The Aspie Hour); Australian Writer’s Guild’s Monte Miller Award runner-up, CineStory’s TV Retreat & Fellowship Contest second runner-up and Sartor Underrepresented Voices TV Scholarship winner, Austin Film Festival Second Rounder (for Unloveable); Rebel Wilson Comedy Commission finalist.
- Theatre highlights: Robot Song (Arena Theatre Company, national tours).
- Notable labs/associations: Australians in Film Untapped development lab; Arts Access Victoria TRANSMIT residency; Antipodes Theatre Company’s Winter Lab as Lead Artist.
We can’t wait to continue following Sophie’s career!