Leading the list with 10 nominations is The Beauty Queen of Leenane, produced by Sydney Theatre Company, followed by American Psycho from BB Arts Entertainment, Two Doors Productions and Hayes Theatre Co, and Belvoir and Co-Curious’s Counting and Cracking, both on nine nominations. HMS Pinafore, produced by Hayes Theatre Co, was awarded eight nominations, while Griffin’s First Love is the Revolution and Angels in America from Apocalypse Theatre Company and Red Line Productions received seven nominations.
Nominations in the 34 categories were spread across 46 productions which played on Sydney stages during 2019. The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Sydney Theatre Company), Counting and Cracking (Belvoir and Co-Curious), First Love is the Revolution (Griffin Theatre Company) and Prima Facie (Griffin Theatre Company) are nominated for Best Mainstage Production.
The nominees for Best Independent Production are Angels in America (Apocalypse Theatre Company in association with Red Line Productions), The Happy Prince (Little Ones Theatre), John (Outhouse Theatre Co and Seymour Centre) and Krapp’s Last Tape (Red Line Productions). The Award for Lifetime Achievement will be announced at the Awards Ceremony in 2020.
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 panel consists of Elissa Blake (Audrey Journal), Jason Blake (Audrey Journal), Deborah Jones (The Australian), Jade Kops (BroadwayWorld), Jo Litson (Limelight), John McCallum (The Australian), Ben Neutze (Time Out), John Shand (The Sydney Morning Herald), Diana Simmonds (Stagenoise), Cassie Tongue (Time Out) and Suzy Wrong (Suzy Goes See).
The reviewers all felt 2019 was a very strong year for Sydney theatre. “The initial list of nominations for performances by female actors was particularly long and strong this year, and very difficult decisions had to be made by the group to narrow it down to the final four nominees in each acting category,” said Jo Litson.
“It was hard to do, and several performances that could easily have won an award had the line-up not been so incredibly impressive didn’t make it to the shortlist. But it says something for our industry that the level of performance was so high and the competition so fierce.”
“It was also immensely satisfying to see theatre-makers embrace the diversity of Australian culture. It’s clear from our list of nominees that audiences had their lives enriched by artists and stories from an invigorating range of backgrounds and perspectives,” added Deborah Jones.
“There’s more to be done there, however, and it’s the only way to go if audiences are to become more strongly representative of our society. The realisation some years ago that women were vastly and most unfairly under-represented in theatre directing and writing led to action that is now bearing brilliant fruit as our nominations for Best Mainstage Production, Best Direction of a Mainstream Production and Best New Australian Work attest. Onwards!”
The Sydney Theatre Awards gratefully thanks our major sponsor, The Seaborn, Broughton and Walford Foundation, as well as other sponsors William Fletcher Foundation, Showcast, Currency Press, Ticketmaster, Hayes Theatre Co, Bellbird Cottages, Actors Benevolent Fund, ACMN, JPJ Audio and Helen Constance.
The President of the Seaborn, Broughton & Walford Foundation, Peter Lowry OAM, has confirmed that the Foundation will once again be the major sponsor of the Sydney Theatre Awards in January 2020. “We are delighted to be able to support the 15th annual Sydney Theatre Awards” he said.
“We commend the leading theatre critics for their efforts in recognising and rewarding the strength, quality and diversity of particularly outstanding professional mainstage and independent plays, musicals and performances produced over the last twelve months in Sydney.”
“The Sydney Theatre Awards is an important night in the theatrical calendar and we look forward to congratulating all the nominees and winners. The Friends of the Foundation are a growing number of enthusiastic, regular theatre goers who are always keen to support the wide variety of talent that will be acknowledged and celebrated at the Awards,” said Lowry.
The Foundation is a charity to assist the performing arts and, following the wishes of founding President Dr Rodney Seaborn AO OBE, proudly supports a wide variety of performing arts initiatives through funding, attending performances and preserving precious theatrical records for education and research as well as providing accessible and affordable space for rehearsals and small performances.
The 2019 Sydney Theatre Awards will be presented at the York Theatre – Seymour Centre on Monday 20 January 2020. For more information, and complete list of nominees, visit: www.sydneytheatreawards.com for details.
Image: Sydney Theatre Company’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane – photo by Brett Boardman