The countdown to the 17th Annual Helpmann Awards is on following tonight’s announcement of the 2017 Helpmann Award Nominees at simultaneous events in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, ahead of the Awards Ceremony on Monday 24 July 2017.
The Helpmann Awards are the premier celebration of Australia’s vibrant live performance industry and recognise distinguished achievement and excellence in Australia’s live performance sectors including musical theatre, contemporary music, comedy, opera, classical music, theatre, ballet, dance and physical theatre, presentation for children, regional touring and cabaret.
“This year has been a remarkable year for live performances in Australia reflecting a vibrant industry with more than 18 million people attending shows across the country and ticket revenues of $1.4 billion,” said LPA Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson. “Over the past seventeen years, the Helpmann Awards have received over 10,000 entries and announced 2,600 Nominations, which further illustrates the scale of the live performance industry in Australia.”
Leading the charge with 26 nominations overall is Opera Australia, thanks in part to My Fair Lady‘s nine nominations, a co-production with John Frost, who cemented his position as Australia’s leading producer with fifteen nominations overall. Not to be outdone, Book of Mormon received eight, while Aladdin and Kinky Boots each received seven. All four are in the running for Best Direction, Best Choreography and Best Musical.
Theatre wise, Belvoir led the pack with eleven nominations including Best New Australian Work and Best Play for The Drover’s Wife, which also picked up Best Direction for Leticia Caceres, Best Costume Design for Tess Schofield, Best Female Actor for Leah Purcell, and Best Male Actor for Mark Cole Smith, who will go head-to-head with Belvoir’s production of Faith Healer, which picked up three nominations including Best Direction for Judy Davis, Best Female Actor for Alison Whyte, and Best Male Actor for Colin Friels.
Melbourne Theatre Company picked up six nominations across two of its productions: John, which received Best Female Actor for Helen Morse, and Best Female Supporting Actor for Melita Jurisic; while Jasper Jones picked up four – Best Play, Best Scenic Design for Anna Cordingley, Best Actor for Guy Simon, and Best New Australian Work for Kate Mulvany, who also picked up a Best Female Actor nomination for her turn as Richard 3 for Bell Shakespeare.
Aunty Donna, Hannah Gadsby, Joel Creasey, Nazeem Hussain, Sammy J and Tom Ballard are all vying for the Best Comedy Performer Award, while Betty Grumble (Grumble: Sex Clown Saves the World), Jimmy Barnes (Working Class Boy: An Evening of Stories & Songs), and Materharere Hope Haami, Juanita Duncan, Ofa Fotu, Crystal Stacey, Lisa Fa’alafi And Kim ‘Busty Beatz’ Bowers (Hot Brown Honey) are up for Best Cabaret Performer.
Mona Foma 2017, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival 2017, The 28th Annual Bluesfest Byron Bay and Womadelaide 2017 will once again battle it out for Best Contemporary Music Festival, while Countermove (Sydney Dance Company), Terrain (Bangarra), The Moon’s A Balloon (Patch Theatre Company) and They Saw A Thylacine (Human Animal Exchange / Performing Lines) are vying for Best Regional Touring Production.
As previously announced, Richard Tognetti AO, Artistic Director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra will be the recipient of the 2017 JC Williamson Award, while Rob Brookman AM will be the recipient of this year’s Sue Nattrass Award which honours an exceptional individual in a service role that supports the industry.
The winners of the 2017 Helpmann Awards will be announced at a ceremony on on the set of Kinky Boots at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre on Monday 24 July. The Awards will also be broadcast live on Foxtel Arts and webcast free via www.foxtelarts.com.au.
Image: My Fair Lady – photo by Jeff Busby