Skip to content

Alumnus wins Premier’s Drama Award

Queensland playwright and USQ theatre graduate Steve Pirie (Bachelor of Creative Arts, 2016) has converted his time as a funeral director into an award-winning play that has gained national acclaim.
Set in Toowoomba – Mr Pirie’s home town –Return to the Dirt is the stage adaption of the playwright’s experience of returning to Australia after travelling abroad and, after a series of dead-ends, finding himself working for a local funeral home.

The playwright’s clever wit and gentle humour have earned the play the 2020 Queensland Premier’s Drama Award.

“Ultimately the play is a celebration of finding your place in the world, the power of personal redemption and humility at the end of all things,” Mr Pirie said.

“It’s lovely to have the work recognised on such a scale. Return to the Dirt has taught me many lessons, but none more so than how important it is to keep things in perspective,” he said.

“With so much work being lost right across the board due to COVID-19, I’m feeling incredibly grateful to be recognised and to be able to keep working,” Mr Pirie said.

“Most writing awards might give you some support or time to develop your work – but this guarantees a life on stage.”

Steve Pirie is Toowoomba born and bred; he graduated from the University of Southern Queensland in 2016 with a Bachelor of Creative Arts.

“USQ nurtured the skills I needed to pursue my career on stage,” Mr Pirie said.

“The importance of relationship building, and industry connectedness were instilled in us from the very beginning, so by the time I left, I already had a presence in the industry.

“USQ gave me so many opportunities to continue nurturing my craft beyond the lecture rooms and out into the auditorium.”

In a changing world, the University of Southern Queensland knows how important it is to train a new generation of students in skills that can be used throughout the Creative Arts sector and beyond.

In 2021, the University will introduce seven new Creative Arts courses, including:

· Bachelor of Theatre
· Bachelor of Music
· Bachelor of Creative and Community Wellbeing
· Bachelor of Film and Screen Production
· Bachelor of Design and Interactive Technologies
· Bachelor of Visual Art
· Bachelor of Television and Radio Production

Learn more about USQ’s creative arts programs.
man staring right of camera
Steve Pirie graduated from USQ in 2016 and has just been awarded the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award for 2020.