The story of two women grappling with responsibility on opposite sides of the world has earned a University of Wollongong academic the prestigious Sydney Theatre Company Patrick White Playwrights Awards.
Original work Superheroes, by Mark Rogers, impressed the judges and was chosen from 111 scripts submitted anonymously.
The unproduced play received a $7,500 prize as well as a rehearsed reading directed by STC Richard Wherrett Fellow Shari Sebbens, and performed by Aleks Mikic, Teresa Moore and Adele Perovic.
Rogers lectures at UOW, runs the Playwrights Program at Wollongong-based Merrigong Theatre Company and is an emerging writer himself.
Merrigong artistic director Simon Hinton said this type of recognition would make his counterparts nationwide "take this person seriously".
"We get sent lots of unsolicited scripts, just people saying 'I've written a play will you have a look at it', but you don't have the resources to read every script," Hinton said.
"So certainly knowing he's had some recognition would make him stand out."
Rogers said he thought Superheroes would be knocked back because of its "strangeness". The win came as a "nice surprise", but he admitted it's not the reason he feels compelled to be a playwright.
"As much as it's utterly wonderful to win an award and while the career opportunities might be utterly wonderful ... I write plays to make good shows that I care about, that speak to the world as I see them and talk to my community," he said.
This commitment has made him stand out to Merrigong.
"We are so supportive of artists staying connected to this community and Mark's really committed," Hinton said.
"[Rogers] working at the University [of Wollongong], working at Merrigong and working with artists in this local area - to get national recognition is really brilliant."