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SYDNEY THEATRE AWARDS 2008

Who's in the running for the glittering prizes. Check it out.

SYDNEY THEATRE AWARDS 2008

By Diana Simmonds

Nominations are now public for the Sydney Theatre Awards for 2008. Theatre people are more than welcome to come along to the galah ceremony on Monday, January 19 at 6pm at the Paddington RSL. It's free and drinks are available at rissole prices.

The awards are now three years old and are the result of a lot of theatre-going and, eventually, debate, civilised argument and then voting by the Sydney Theatre Reviewers (see all the details, tie-honoured traditions and lengthy history on the new website www.sydneytheatreawards.com when it goes live tomorrow).

The voting is the result of a microcosmic version of deliberative democracy (go and look it up) and is often as surprising to the voters as it may be to you. Leading the list of nominees this year is the Sydney Theatre Company production of The Great with seven nominations, including Best Mainstage Production, Best New Australian Work (Tony McNamara), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Toby Schmitz), Best Set Design (Fiona Crombie), Best Costume Design (Tess Schofield), Best Lighting Design (Damian Cooper) and Best Score or Sound Design (Steve Francis and Alan John).

Two productions received six nominations each. The STC scored again with The Women of Troy (including Best Mainstage Production, Best Director and Best Actress for both Robyn Nevin and Melita Jurisic). Then there's Company B's The Pillowman (including Best Mainstage Production, Best Director and Best Lead Actor for Damon Herriman.

Opera Australia's box office grabber My Fair Lady received four nominations, and three nominations each were awarded to new Aussie musical The Hatpin, Michael Gow's near-classic play The Kid; independent one-woman sensation My Name is Rachel Corrie, Big hArt-Sydney Festival's ground-breaking Ngapartji Ngapartji, the fabulous Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical on her renovated return to Sydney and B Sharp's excellent Ruben Guthrie.

All in all, nominations were spread across 36 different productions which were staged in Sydney during the calendar year of 2008, which suggests a deep pool of talent and effort/

As well as me, the Sydney Theatre Reviewers are Jason Blake (Sun-Herald), Stephen Dunne (Sydney Morning Herald), Bryce Hallett (Sydney Morning Herald), Jo Litson (Sunday Telegraph), John McCallum (The Australian), John Shand (Sydney Morning Herald), James Waites (jameswaites.com) and co-ordinator Ian Phipps (ABC Radio).

The winners will know who they are on January 19, meanwhile, the complete list of nominations is below and you can argue amongst yourselves as to whether you agree, disagree or would have made totally other choices. My pal Jason Blake comes closest to the essence of seriousness and fun that informs the awards when he said, for the media release: "Theatre is an ephemeral art and recognition often comes too late if at all. The Sydney Theatre Awards is a chance to celebrate a year's-worth of work, compare notes and come together as a community. That's part of the reason we're delighted to be back at the Paddington RSL - it's a place where people can be a crowd rather than an audience. The drinks are way cheap, too."

NOMINATIONS FOR 2008 SYDNEY THEATRE AWARDS

BEST MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION

The Great (STC)

Ngapartji Ngapartji (Company B)

The Pillowman (Company B)

The Women of Troy (STC)

BEST INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION

Killer Joe (Adam Booth and B Sharp)

My Name is Rachel Corrie (Bareboards Productions and B Sharp)

Ruben Guthrie (murri fulla films & B Sharp)

Spring Awakening (The Hayloft Project and B Sharp)

BEST DIRECTION

Craig Ilott (The Pillowman)

Barrie Kosky (The Women of Troy)

Shannon Murphy (My Name is Rachel Corrie)

Scott Rankin (Ngapartji Ngapartji)

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEAD ROLE

Belinda Bromilow (My Name is Rachel Corrie)

Melita Jurisic (The Women of Troy)

Robyn Nevin (The Women of Troy)

Greta Scacchi (Mary Stuart)

BEST ACTOR IN A LEAD ROLE

Damon Herriman (The Pillowman)

Trevor Jamieson (Ngapartji Ngapartji)

Toby Schmitz (Ruben Guthrie)

Sean Taylor (Death of a Salesman)

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Judi Farr (The Pig Iron People)

Genevieve Mooy (Queen C)

Genevieve Picot (Rock n Roll)

Yael Stone (The Kid)

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Marton Csokas (The Pillowman)

Steve Rodgers (The Pillowman)

Toby Schmitz (The Great)

Christopher Stollery (Killer Joe)

BEST NEW AUSTRALIAN WORK

Brendan Cowell (Ruben Guthrie)

Tony McNamara (The Great)

Damien Millar (The Modern International Dead)

Peter Rutherford and James Millar (The Hatpin)

BEST NEWCOMER

Akos Armont (The Kid)

Ivan Donato (The Age of Consent)

Ian Meadows (The Modern International Dead)

Yael Stone (The Kid + Frankenstein)

BEST SET DESIGN

Alice Babidge and Barrie Kosky (The Women of Troy)

Fiona Crombie (The Great)

Nicholas Dare (The Pillowman)

Alexandra Sommers and Bradley Clark (All the Blood and All the Water)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Alexandra Sommers and Bradley Clark (Gallipoli)

Roger Kirk (My Fair Lady)

Tess Schofield (The Great)

Kate Shanahan (Queen C)

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN

Damien Cooper (The Great)

Paul Jackson (Moving Targets)

Nick Schlieper (The Serpent's Teeth)

Matt Scott (Rock n Roll)

BEST SCORE OR SOUND DESIGN

Brett Collery (Anatomy Titus Fall of Rome)

David Gilfillan (The Women of Troy)

Steve Francis and Alan John (The Great)

Max Lyandvert, Mark Blackwell and Tony Melov (The Age I'm In)

BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL

Little Women (Kookaburra Musical Theatre Company)

My Fair Lady (Opera Australia)

The Phantom of the Opera (The Really Useful Company and the Gordon/Frost Organisation)

Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical (Back Row Productions, Specific Films, Alan Scott, John Frost and Chugg Entertainment)

JUDITH JOHNSON AWARD FOR BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Gemma Ashley-Kaplan (The Hatpin)

Michelle Doake (The Hatpin)

Taryn Fiebig (My Fair Lady)

Kate Maree Hoolihan (Little Women)

JUDITH JOHNSON AWARD FOR BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Richard E Grant (My Fair Lady)

Todd McKenney (Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical)

Tony Sheldon (Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical)

Anthony Warlow (The Phantom of the Opera)

BEST CABARET PRODUCTION

The Fabulous Frances Faye (Nick Christo)

The Kransky Sisters (Sydney Opera House Studio)

LoveBites (White Box)

Vamp (Meow Meow at Sydney Opera House Studio)

BEST PRODUCTION FOR CHILDREN

The Arrival (Spare Parts Puppet Theatre)

Just Macbeth (Bell Shakespeare)

Special Delivery (Patch Theatre)

The Wiggles (The Wiggles)

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

To be announced on the night

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