More than 450 members of the Sydney theatre community packed the Everest Theatre at the Seymour Centre last night to celebrate the best of Sydney theatre, as the 2017 Sydney Theatre Awards were announced in a star-studded ceremony.
With 37 Awards presented, shared between 18 productions, Best Mainstage Production was awarded to Belvoir’s Hir, which also won Mainstage awards for Best Director (Anthea Williams), Best Male Actor In A Supporting Role (Michael Whalley) and Best Stage Design (Michael Hankin).
Best Independent Production went to Red Line Productions’ A View From The Bridge, which also took Independent gongs for Best Male Actor in a Leading Role (Ivan Donato) and Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Zoe Terakes). Zoe Terakes also shared the Best Newcomer Award with Maggie McKenna (Muriel’s Wedding).
The other acting awards were spread out across several productions: in the Mainstage categories, Best Female Actor in a Leading Role was awarded to Kate Mulvany (Richard 3), Best Male Actor in a Leading Role went to Mitchell Butel (The Merchant of Venice) and Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role was Elaine Crombie (Barbara and the Camp Dogs).
In the Independent categories, Best Female Actor in a Leading Role went to Sarah Meacham (Dry Land), and Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role was won by Johnny Nasser (The Ham Funeral). Best Director of an Independent Production was presented to Kate Gaul for The Ham Funeral. The Best Independent Musical award went to Calamity Jane, while the Best New Australian Work was awarded to Patricia Cornelius for Shit.
In the Musical categories, STC and Global Creatures’ Muriel’s Wedding scooped the pool, winning Best Mainstage Musical, Best Direction of a Musical (Simon Phillips), Best Choreography (Andrew Hallsworth), Best Musical Direction (Isaac Hayward), Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Madeleine Jones) and Best Original Score in a Mainstage Production (Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall).
The Sydney Theatre Award for Lifetime Achievement was presented to designer Brian Thomson, whose 46-year career began in 1971 with plays at the Old Tote, followed by the original Australian production of Hair, the original Royal Court production of The Rocky Horror Show, Australian and London productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, and the film Shirley Thompson Versus The Aliens. Brian is currently represented on stage in Melbourne by two musicals, Dream Lover – The Bobby Darin Musical, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
A Special Award was presented to Eva Di Cesare, Sandra Eldridge and Tim McGarry from Monkey Baa Theatre Company for 20 years of excellence and extraordinary service to the children and young people of Australia.
Presenters at the Awards Ceremony were Georgia Adamson, Amy Campbell, Kate Cherry, Lynette Curran, Rarriwuy Hick, Deborah Kennedy, Martin Kinnane, Mark Lee, Ewen Leslie, James Lugton, Penny McNamee, Ben Mingay, Lachlan Philpott, Natalie Saleeba, Scott Witt and John Xintavelonis; and there were performances by composer Naomi Livingston from her musical Evie May, Henry Brett, and a dance tribute to A Chorus Line.
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 Sydney Theatre Reviewers consist of Elissa Blake (Audrey Journal, formerly Fairfax), Jason Blake (Audrey Journal, formerly Fairfax), Dee Jefferson (ABC), Deborah Jones (The Australian), Jo Litson (The Sunday Telegraph, Limelight), John McCallum (The Australian), Ben Neutze (Time Out), Diana Simmonds (Stagenoise), Cassie Tongue (Time Out, The Guardian) and Suzy Wrong (Suzy Goes See, Auditorium magazine).
For more information, and to view the complete list of Winners and Nominees, visit: www.sydneytheatreawards.com for details.
Image: Helen Thomson and Greg Stone in Belvoir’s production of Hir – photo by Brett Boardman