2016 Helpmann Awards nominees announced

Matilda The Musical photo by James MorganThe countdown to the 16th Annual Helpmann Awards is on, following tonight’s announcement of the 2016 Helpmann Award Nominees at simultaneous events in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane.

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, dance and physical theatre, children’s presentations, regional touring and cabaret.

Live Performance Australia (LPA) announced the Nominees in the 41 categories, with Matilda the Musical leading the charge with 13 nominations including Best Original Score for Tim Minchin, and the coveted Best Musical. Opera Australia received 10 nominations, followed by Melbourne Theatre Company with eight, and Bangarra Dance Theatre and Brisbane Baroque receiving seven, with Sydney Theatre Company and Belvoir receiving five.

A big year for musicals, Melbourne and Queensland Theatre Company’s production of Ladies in Black, and Luckiest Productions and Tinderbox Productions Little Shop of Horrors each receiving five, closely followed by Fiddler on the Roof and The Sound of Music receiving four nominations. Ghost the Musical, and the recently opened Singin’ in the Rain each received three. Fiddler on the Roof, Ladies in Black, Matilda the Musical and The Sound of Music are all vying for the coveted Best Musical Award.

Doug Anthony Allstars, Julia Morris, Tom Ballard and Zoë Coombs Marr are all vying for the Best Comedy Performer Award, while Alan Cumming (Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs), Michaela Burger And Greg Wain (Exposing Edith), Michael Griffiths (Cole), and  Phil Scott (Reviewing The Situation) are up for Best Cabaret Performer.

Mofo 2016, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival 2016, The 27th Annual Bluesfest Byron Bay and Womadelaide 2016 are up for Best Contemporary Music Festival, while De Novo, Mother, Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts and Sugarland are vying for Best Regional Touring Production.

A State Of Grace: The Music of Tim and Jeff Buckley, Flight Facilities perform live with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Mofo 2016 – Kate Miller-Heidke and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra with Visuals by Amy Gebhardt, and Vance Joy (Fire And The Flood Tour) are up for Best Australian Contemporary Concert.

“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 $1.5 billion,” said Evelyn Richardson, LPA Chief Executive. “This year we are delighted to announce one additional award that will be given to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for their Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Comedy in Australia.”

“The Helpmann Awards Industry Panel and the Helpmann Awards Administration Committee (HAAC) felt strongly that the festival’s sustained development of comedians and comedy programmes around the country over three decades was worthy of recognition.”

The 2016 Helpmann Awards will also incorporate the final Brian Stacey Award for Emerging Australian Conductors. This year the award goes to Toby Thatcher who will receive a $10,000 prize. Currently Assistant Conductor for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since early 2015, Toby displays outstanding conducting and musical skills.

As previously announced, Michael Lynch CBE AM will be the recipient of this year’s Sue Nattrass Award. The prestigious 2016 Sue Nattrass Award honours exceptional service to the Australian live performance industry, shining a spotlight on people in service roles that support our industry. The recipient of the JC Williamson Award will be announced on Wednesday 29 June.

The winners of the 2016 Helpmann Awards will be announced at a ceremony on Monday 25 July at the Sydney Lyric Theatre on the set of Singin’ in the Rain. Hosts include: Adam Garcia, Helen Dallimore, Guy Noble, Simon Phillips, Queenie van de Zandt, Stuart Maunder AM and The Umbilical Brothers.

The Awards Ceremony will also feature performances by the casts of Matilda the Musical, The Sound of Music, Ladies in Black and Singin’ in the Rain, with individual performances by Marina Prior and Mark Vincent, Sarah Blasko, as well as West Australian Ballet and the first prize winner of the Sydney International Piano Competition.

The 2016 Helpmann Awards will be broadcast live on Foxtel Arts and webcast free via www.foxtelarts.com.au. Tickets are now on sale via Ticketmaster. For more information and complete list of nominees, visit: www.helpmannawards.com.au for details.

Image: Matilda the Musical – photo by James Morgan