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YOU GOTTA LOVE IT ALL
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YOU GOTTA LOVE IT ALL

By Diana Simmonds
December 15 2016

It’s that time of year again: the bit where lists of best and fairest are compiled and published and everyone has a little “ooh!” and “oh yes, I remember that!” And it goes along with the announcement of the nominees for the Sydney Theatre Awards 2016

Well, here they are and I’m happy and a bit amazed that after ten years (!) I’m still part of the group of reviewers who spend many hours wrangling and agonising over the kinds of choices that can break your heart. The commonest groan during the meetings being: “why can’t they all win?” Indeed.

The group at the moment is Elissa Blake (Fairfax), Jason Blake (Sydney Morning Herald), Dee Jefferson (Time Out), Deborah Jones (The Australian), Jo Litson (The Sunday Telegraph/Limelight), John McCallum (The Australian), Ben Neutze (Daily Review), Polly Simons (Daily Telegraph) and Cassie Tongue (Aussietheatre/The Guardian).

Once again a huge burden has been carried by the independent sector, with the best and most memorable productions being made by actors and creative teams who basically work for nothing. This is an untenable situation in anything but the short term: they might be the arty-farty undeserving but nevertheless, people have to eat, pay their bills and look after kids. Youthful enthusiasm and/or crazy dedication will only go so far. 

As it stands, the independent sector is unsustainable yet is the most vital and creative element of Sydney theatre. Do the funding bodies and major companies (artistic parasites in this instance) not see the train wreck that’s waiting just around the corner? Apparently not.

The other interesting thing that happened this year was the response to the boldly feminist WITS (Women in Theatre and Screen) initiative. A year on and its Festival Fatale has made the list of nominees with a production of Patricia Cornelius’s Slut and more than that, has goaded producers and companies to acknowledge, at least for now, that women hold up half the stages in this town and deserve the gigs as much as the men. (The long list of MainStage best director nominees was 10 women and two men – something we didn’t notice until it came to voting.)

However...while WITS have taken the battle public and have helped a lot of women score victories and put women in the industry in the centre of the arena, older feminists are only too aware that it’s just one battle. The war goes on (yes, it is a war and it’s not against men, it’s much more complex than that) and for every step forward, vigilance and yet more effort will be needed to maintain forward momentum. Sorry to be such a downer, but it’s true and to believe otherwise will only mean tears before bedtime.

So, what’s our theatre been about this year? I’m happy with the nominees listed below, obviously, because I voted and even if my particular favourite didn’t win, I don’t think any are undeserving, although if I were Queen...

And, of course, these choices are made from what’s on offer. What is on offer is – as ever – weighted towards a US-Eurocentric pool of work with Australian plays in the (white) Western tradition making up much of the rest. Right now Australian-made television (drama and comedy) is more racially and culturally diverse than theatre and that’s a real worry. 

Meanwhile, however, this is still a celebration of the wonderful work and workers listed below, and a lot of others that didn’t make the shortlist. Brilliant, funny, moving, scary, intelligent, silly, heartfelt, angry, mind-expanding, thought-provoking – something for everyone and a lot more beside. Thank you all theatre people, from the bottom of my heart.

NOMINATIONS FOR 2016 SYDNEY THEATRE AWARDS

MAINSTAGE

BEST MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION

All My Sons (Sydney Theatre Company)
The Drover’s Wife (Belvoir)
Faith Healer (Belvoir)
The Hanging (Sydney Theatre Company)

BEST DIRECTION

Leticia Caceres (The Drover’s Wife)\\\\
Lee Lewis (Gloria)
Janice Muller (Lake Disappointment)
Kip Williams (All My Sons)

BEST FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Ana Maria Belo (Tribes)
Marta Dusseldorp (Gloria)
Robyn Nevin (All My Sons)
Leah Purcell (The Drover’s Wife)

BEST MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Colin Friels (Faith Healer)
John Howard (All My Sons)
Luke Mullins (Lake Disappointment)
David Woods (A Flea In Her Ear)

BEST FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Tracy Mann (Relatively Speaking)
Eryn Jean Norvill (All My Sons)
Sarah Peirse (The Golden Age)
Alison Whyte (Faith Healer)

BEST MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Benedict Hardie (The Drover’s Wife)
Pip Miller (Faith Healer)
Jamie Oxenbould (The Literati)
Chris Ryan (All My Sons)

BEST STAGE DESIGN

Alicia Clements (Hay Fever)
Owen Phillips (Little Shop of Horrors)
Brian Thomson (Faith Healer)
Gabriela Tylesova (A Flea In Her Ear)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Tim Chappel (Little Shop of Horrors)
Alicia Clements (Hay Fever)
Tess Schofield (The Drover’s Wife)
Gabriela Tylesova (A Flea In Her Ear)

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN

YOU GOTTA LOVE IT ALL

Damien Cooper (The Golden Age)
Matt Cox (Lake Disappointment)
Ross Graham (Little Shop of Horrors)
Nicholas Rayment (The Hanging)
Nick Schlieper (A Flea In Her Ear)

BEST SCORE OR SOUND DESIGN

James Brown (Broken)
James Brown (Lake Disappointment)
Nate Edmondson (Savages)
The Sweats (The Drover’s Wife)

INDEPENDENT

BEST INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION

Antigone (Sport for Jove)

The Block Universe (Cross Pollinate Productions and Old 505 Theatre)
Hurt (White Box Theatre and The Old 505)
Inner Voices (Don’t Look Away in association with Red Line Productions)
The Whale (Red Line Productions)

BEST DIRECTION

Shane Anthony (The Whale)
Kate Gaul (Good With Maps)
Philip Rouse (Inner Voices)
Damien Ryan and Terry Karabelas (Antigone)

BEST FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Andrea Demetriades (Antigone)
Paige Gardiner (Three Sisters)
Danielle King (4 Minutes 12 Secs)
Meredith Penman (Hurt)

BEST MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Keith Agius (The Whale)
Damien Strouthos (Inner Voices)
Jacob Warner (The Block Universe)
William Zappa (Antigone)

BEST FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Deborah Galanos (Antigone)
Meredith Penman (The Whale)
Ella Prince (The Shadow Box)
Matilda Ridgway (The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant)

BEST MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Alex Beauman (The Whale)
Thomas Campbell (Three Sisters)
Anthony Gooley (Inner Voices)
Sam O’Sullivan (Journey’s End)

BEST STAGE DESIGN

Charlie Davis (The Whale)
Anna Gardiner (Inner Voices)
Georgia Hopkins (Three Sisters)
Melanie Liertz (Antigone)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Martelle Hunt (Inner Voices)
Melanie Liertz (Antigone)
Emma Vine (Three Sisters)
Angela White (Side Show)

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN

Alexander Berlage (The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant)
Alexander Berlage (The Whale)
Matt Cox (Antigone)
Sian James-Holland (Inner Voices)

BEST SCORE OR SOUND DESIGN

Nate Edmonson (Good With Maps)
Bryce Halliday with Thomas Royce-Hampton (Antigone)
Basil Hogios/Katelyn Shaw (The Whale)
Hamish Michael and Hue Blanes (80 Minutes No Interval)

OTHER NOMINATIONS

BEST NEW AUSTRALIAN WORK

Benedict Andrews (Gloria)
Angela Betzien (The Hanging)
Kate Mulvany (Jasper Jones)
Lachlan Philpott and Luke Mullins (Lake Disappointment)
Leah Purcell (The Drover’s Wife)

YOU GOTTA LOVE IT ALL

BEST NEWCOMER

Jonny Hawkins (Relatively Speaking)
James Raggatt (Spring Awakening)
Jessica Rookeward (Spring Awakening)
Mia Rorris (The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant)
Elijah Williams (Black Jesus)

BEST ENSEMBLE

Broken (Darlinghurst Theatre Company)
Savages (Darlinghurst Theatre Company)
Slut (Edgeware Forum and Rue de la Rocket)
Swallow (National Theatre of Parramatta)=

BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL

Fiddler on the Roof (The Works Entertainment)
Little Shop of Horrors (Luckiest Productions and Tinderbox Productions in association with Hayes Theatre Co)
My Fair Lady (Opera Australia and John Frost)
Spring Awakening (atyp)
You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Hayes Theatre Co)

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

Dean Bryant (Little Shop of Horrors)
Mitchell Butel (Spring Awakening)
Roger Hodgman (Fiddler on the Roof)
Shaun Rennie (You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown)

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

Laura Bunting (Side Show)
Kerrie Anne Greenland (Side Show)
Esther Hannaford (Little Shop of Horrors)
Anna O’Byrne (My Fair Lady)
Jessica Rookeward (Spring Awakening)

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

David Campbell (Dream Lover)
Brent Hill (Little Shop of Horrors)
James Raggatt (Spring Awakening)
Anthony Warlow (Fiddler on the Roof)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Kate Cheel (Spring Awakening)
Hannah Fredericksen (Dream Lover)
Sheridan Harbridge (You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown)
Laura Murphy (You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Blake Bowden (Fiddler on the Roof)
Scott Johnson (Little Shop of Horrors)
Reg Livermore (My Fair Lady)
Mark Mitchell (Fiddler on the Roof)

MUSICAL DIRECTION

Lucy Bermingham (Spring Awakening)
Daniel Edmonds (Dream Lover)
Michael Tyack (The Detective's Handbook)
Andrew Worboys (Little Shop of Horrors)

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY IN A MUSICAL

Amy Campbell (Spring Awakening)
Andrew Hallsworth (Dream Lover)
Andrew Hallsworth (Little Shop of Horrors)
Cameron Mitchell (Mack and Mabel)

BEST CABARET PRODUCTION

Cathartic (Cath Alcorn)
Liza’s Back (is broken) (Trevor Ashley)
Working Class Boy: An Evening of Stories and Songs (Jimmy Barnes)
To the Moon and Back (Gillian Cosgriff)

BEST PRODUCTION FOR CHILDREN

Hamlet: Prince of Skidmark (Sydney Theatre Company and The Listies)
Mr Stink (CDP)
The Peasant Prince (Monkey Baa)

BEST PRODUCTION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

The Big Dry (atyp and Ensemble Theatre)
Girl Asleep (Belvoir)
Jasper Jones (Belvoir)
Spring Awakening (atyp)

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

To be announced at the Awards ceremony

 

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