NIDA graduates sparkle at the Sydney Theatre Awards

23 January 2018

Best Newcomers nominees

Photo: Best Newcomers nominees included Ebony Vagulans (Acting , 2016), seated, right. (photo: Clare Hawley)

In an event that celebrated the best of Australian independent, mainstage and musical theatre, NIDA graduates sparkled in almost every category of the 13th Sydney Theatre Awards. NIDA alumni also took home the main awards in Acting, Directing, Design and Lighting.

NIDA would like to congratulate all nominees and winners, in particular Ivan Donato (Acting, 2007) who picked up the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in an Independent Production for A View from the Bridge,  Kate Gaul, (Directing, 1996) who won Best Direction of an Independent Production for The Ham Funeral, Michael Hankin, (Design, 2009), who received the award for the Best Stage Design of a Mainstage Production for Hir and Alexander Berlage, (Production, 2013), who won Best Lighting Design of an Independent Production for 4:48 Psychosis.

In a packed theatre at Sydney’s Seymour Centre, Kate Cherry, NIDA CEO/Director, co-presented the awards with actor Ewan Leslie for Best Direction of an Independent Production, Best Direction of a Mainstage Production, Best Independent Production and Best Mainstage Production.

The Sydney Theatre Awards are presented annually by a group of leading theatre critics to celebrate the strength, quality and diversity of theatre in Sydney. The reviewers range from writers for mainstream media The Australian and the ABC, to Suzy Wrong’s theatre blog and newly launched online magazine Audrey Journal.

Nominations in the 35 categories were spread across 51 productions which played on Sydney stages during 2017. Emerging actors were encouraged with their own award for Best Newcomer, a Special Award was given to children’s theatre company Monkey Baa, and a Lifetime Achievement Award (and standing ovation) was given to Brian Thomson AM for his outstanding legacy in design. The President of the NIDA Student Council, Jazz Laker, was awarded the NSW Actors Benevolent Fund grant to support her studies, which was generously doubled by Brian Thomson.

Notable in the 'thank you' speeches were the acknowledgements of the team it takes to bring a theatre production together - the technical crew, stage managers and production managers. Rather than ask participants to wear black, as at the recent Golden Globe Awards, the audience were requested to donate to the NSW Actors Benevolent Fund to assist those fighting legal cases of sexual harassment or bullying.

The Australian musical theatre sector was also celebrated, with Muriel’s Wedding lauded in several nominations and awards.

Andrew Henry, artistic director of Red Line Productions who produced Best Independent Production A View from the Bridge, spoke about the evening celebrating ‘the power of what we do and the truth we create on stage that we fight for every night.’ Henry also lamented the loss of talented Jessica Falkholt, (Acting, 2015) killed in a tragic car crash over Christmas.

Here is a list of NIDA students and graduates who were nominated – winners are highlighted.

Best Mainstage Production
Cloud Nine, Sydney Theatre Company
Hir, Belvoir
Mr Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Belvoir
Shit, Sydney Festival

Best Independent Production
Dry Land, Outhouse Theatre Co and Mad March Hare
The Ham Funeral, Siren Theatre Company
The Trouble With Harry, Siren Theatre Co in association with Seymour Centre
A View From The Bridge, Red Line Productions

Best Direction of a Mainstage Production
Anne-Louise Sarks, The Merchant Of Venice
Imara Savage, (Directing, 2008), Mr Burns, A Post-Electric Play
Anthea Williams, Hir
Kip Williams, (Directing, 2010), Cloud Nine

Best Direction of an Independent Production
Claudia Barrie, Dry Land
Kate Gaul, (Directing, 1996) The Ham Funeral
Kate Gaul, (Directing, 1996) The Trouble With Harry
Iain Sinclair, A View From The Bridge

Best Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Mainstage Production
Genevieve Lemon, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf
Heather Mitchell, Acting (1980), Cloud Nine
Kate Mulvany, Richard III
Helen Thomson, Hir
Ursula Yovich, Barbara And The Camp Dogs

Best Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Mainstage Production
John Bell, The Father
Mitchell Butel, The Merchant Of Venice
Darren Gilshenan, (Acting,1988), Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf
Pacharo Mzembe, (Acting, 2007), Prize Fighter
Steve Rodgers, Diving For Pearls

Best Female Actor in a Leading Role in an Independent Production
Belinda Giblin, Doubt
Jodie Le Vesconte, The Trouble With Harry
Sarah Meacham, Dry Land
Gabrielle Scawthorn, (Acting, 2009), The Village Bike

Best Male Actor in a Leading Role in an Independent Production
Tommy Bradson, Nosferatutu
Ivan Donato, Acting (2007), A View From The Bridge
Tobias Manderson-Galvin, Puntila/Matti
John O’hare, The Night Alive

Best Female Actor In A Supporting Role In A Mainstage Production
Kate Box, (Acting, 2003), Cloud Nine
Elaine Crombie, Barbara And The Camp Dogs
Anita Hegh, (Acting, 1994), The Father
Claire Lovering, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf

Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role In A Mainstage Production
Harry Greenwood, (Acting, 2012), Cloud Nine
Brandon Mcclelland, (Acting, 2012), Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf
Josh Mcconville, (Acting, 2008), Cloud Nine
Michael Whalley, Hir

Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role In An Independent Production
Antoinette Barboutis (Design, 2017), Puntila/Matti
Charmaine Bingwa, Doubt
Zoe Terakes, A View From The Bridge
Janine Watson, A View From The Bridge

Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role In An Independent Production
Justin Stewart Cotta, (Acting, 1999), This Much Is True
Andrew Lindqvist, (Acting, 2011), Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo
Lex Marinos, Sunset Strip
Johnny Nasser, The Ham Funeral

Best Stage Design of a Mainstage Production
Dale Ferguson, (Design, 1989), Away
Michael Hankin, (Design, 2009), Hir
Marg Horwell, Shit
Jonathon Oxlade, Mr Burns, A Post-Electric Play

Best Stage Design of an Independent Production
Alicia Clements, Assassins

Isabel Hudson, (Design, 2016) Dry Land
Alice Morgan, (Design, 2007), The Trouble With Harry
Lauren Peters, Calamity Jane

Best Costume Design of a Mainstage Production
Elizabeth Gadsby, (Design (2013) Cloud Nine
Michael Hankin, (Design (2009) Hir
Jonathon Oxlade, Mr Burns, A Post-Electric Play
Gabriela Tylesova, (Design, 1999) Muriel’s Wedding

Best Costume Design of an Independent Production
Alicia Clements, Assassins

Alice Morgan, (Design, 2007), The Trouble With Harry
Lauren Peters, Calamity Jane
Emma Vine, (Design, 2014), Only Heaven Knows

Best Lighting Design of a Mainstage Production
Paul Jackson, Away
Chris Petridis, Mr Burns, A Post-Electric Play
Nick Schlieper, Chimerica
Emma Valente, The Testament Of Mary

Best Lighting Design of an Independent Production
Alexander Berlage, (Production, 2013), Doubt
Alexander Berlage, (Production, 2013), 4:48 Psychosis
Matt Cox, The Trouble With Harry
Hartley Ta Kemp, The Ham Funeral

Best Sound Design of a Mainstage Production
Nate Edmondson, (Production, 2011), Cloud Nine
J. David Franzke, Away
Max Lyandvert, The Testament Of Mary
The Sweats, Chimerica

Best Sound Design of an Independent Production
Nate Edmondson, (Production, 2011), The Ham Funeral
Nate Edmondson, (Production, 2011), Jatinga
Nate Edmondson, (Production, 2011), The Trouble With Harry
Benjamin Freeman, 4:48 Psychosis

Best Original Score of a Mainstage Production
Chris Williams, Cloud Nine
The Sweats, Chimerica
Alana Valentine, Ursula Yovich And Adm Ventura, Barbara And The Camp Dogs
Kate Miller-Heidke And Keir Nuttall, Muriel’s Wedding

Best New Australian Work
Barbara And The Camp Dogs, Ursula Yovich And Alana Valentine
Black Is The New White, Nakkiah Lui
Muriel’s Wedding, PJ Hogan, Kate Miller-Heidke And Keir Nuttall
Shit, Patricia Cornelius

Best Newcomer
Maggie Mckenna, Muriel’s Wedding

Michelle Ny, Dry Land
Kurt Pimblett, Hir
Zoe Terakes, A View From The Bridge
Ebony Vagulans, (Acting, 2016), Diving For Pearls

Best Production of a Mainstream Musical
Beautiful, Michael Cassel, Paul Blake, Sony/Atv Music Publishing And Mike Bosner
Kinky Boots, Michael Cassel By Arrangement With Daryl Roth And Hal Luftig
Ladies In Black, Queensland Theatre, Sydney Festival And Sydney Lyric
Muriel’s Wedding, Sydney Theatre Company And Global Creatures

Best Production of an Independent Musical
Assassins, Hayes Theatre Co
Calamity Jane, One Eyed Man Productions In Association With Neglected Musicals And Hayes Theatre Co
Only Heaven Knows, Luckiest Productions In Association With Hayes Theatre Co

Best Direction of a Musical
Dean Bryant, Assassins
Richard Carroll, Calamity Jane
Simon Phillips, Muriel’s Wedding
Shaun Rennie, Only Heaven Knows

Judith Johnson Award For Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Annie Aitken, Melba
Virginia Gay, Calamity Jane
Esther Hannaford, Beautiful
Maggie McKenna, Muriel’s Wedding

Judith Johnson Award For Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
David Campbell, Assassins

Tim Draxl, Only Heaven Knows
Toby Francis, Kinky Boots
Ben Hall, Only Heaven Knows

Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical
Blazey Best, Only Heaven Knows
Justine Clarke, Muriel’s Wedding
Madeleine Jones, Muriel’s Wedding
Christie Whelan Browne, Muriel’s Wedding

Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical
Matthew Backer, (Acting, 2010),  Only Heaven Knows

Rob Johnson, Calamity Jane
Joe Kosky, High Fidelity
Hayden Tee, Only Heaven Knows

Best Choreography in a Musical
Andrew Hallsworth, Assassins
Andrew Hallsworth, Muriel’s Wedding
Cameron Mitchell, Big Fish
Cameron Mitchell, Calamity Jane

Best Musical Direction of a Musical
Daniel Edmonds, Only Heaven Knows
Isaac Hayward, Muriel’s Wedding
Nigel Ubrihien, Calamity Jane
Andrew Worboys, Assassins

Best Cabaret Production
Betty Grumble's Love And Anger
Blue, The Songs Of Joni Mitchell 
Hot Brown Honey
Mother's Ruin: A Cabaret About Gin

Best Production for Children
Diary Of A Wombat, Monkey Baa
Junk, Flying Fruit Fly Circus
Kaleidoscope, Company 2 And Sydney Festival
You And Me And The Space Between, Terrapin Puppet Theatre And Sydney Festival

Best Production for Young People
Dignity Of Risk, ATYP/Shopfront Arts

Moth, ATYP
Oedipus Doesn't Live Here Anymore, ATYP
When The Streets Had A Name, Monkey Baa

Click here for more information about the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Click here to donate to the NSW Actors Benevolent Fund,