Spotlighting Queensland’s excellence in theatre – 36th annual Matilda Awards announces 2023 winners

AAR Breathe In by Crossroad Arts photo by Leah McLean PhotographyWith awards season in full swing, Queensland’s premier theatre awards have announced this year’s winners of the 36th annual Matilda Awards, following an awards ceremony at the Brisbane Powerhouse on Monday 26 February.

The stellar shortlist of nominees contested across 20 categories, recognises the work of a range of Queensland theatre makers, from emerging to established artists, mainstage and independent productions, new Australian work, and expertise in design.

This year’s winners reflect a strong diversity of performers, and regional companies account for nine of the awards, revealing the depth of theatre activity outside Brisbane.

Mackay based Crossroad Arts production, Breathe In, won three awards for its ground-breaking piece about the experience of living with alternative communication needs, including The Lord Mayor’s Award for Best New Australian Work, as well as the Judges’ Award – awarded at the discretion of the judges for an outstanding theatrical endeavour which pushes artistic and other boundaries.

The Farm, a movement-based company from the Gold Coast, also won three awards for its insightful and inventive work Stunt Double about the film industry’s treatment of its hardest workers, while Ipswich-based THAT Production Company won two awards for the sensitively directed play Every Brilliant Thing featuring actor Jason Klarwein at Metro Arts.

Other highlights include Drizzle Boy (Queensland Theatre), a play exploring lived experience of autism, which won Best Mainstage Production as well as Best Direction for Daniel Evans; Chenoa Deemal winning Best Performance In A Leading Role Mainstage Production for the powerfully moving First Nations play Is That You, Ruthie?; and Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall’s joyful BANANALAND which won Best Musical and Best Composition/Sound Design.

Other winners include Costume Designers Delvene Cockatoo-Collins and Peter Keavy for Capricorn at La Boite Theatre; Lighting Designer Ben Hughes for Brisbane Festival’s Salamander; Best Supporting Performances from Ng?c Phan (Mainstage) in Vietgone for Queensland Theatre and Cameron Hurry (Independent) in Grand Horizons at PIP Theatre. The Bille Brown Emerging Artist Award went to outstanding Video Designer Nevin Howell.

The Gold Matilda Award was presented to Suellen Maunder, founding director of JUTE, Cairns, for services to regional theatre in Queensland over more than 30 years.

Lead Judge of the Matilda Awards, Sue Rider, expressed how invigorating it is to give recognition to theatre makers within Queensland, especially with the quality of work coming from the independently produced and new writing space.

“Every year it gets more and more difficult to narrow down the winners. There were astonishing performances and productions across the past year, and we were thrilled to announce winners that hail from across the state,” she said.

“Live theatre can be a tough life. The Matilda Awards is a chance to step back and celebrate. Huge congratulations to every nominee and winner,” says Ms Rider.

The Matilda Awards were host to a memorable evening of high energy performance and fun, led brilliantly by MCs Tom Oliver and Angelique Cassimatis.

For the seventh consecutive year, Brisbane Powerhouse, Queensland’s leading presenter of contemporary culture and art, has partnered with the Matilda Awards to host one of the most anticipated events in the State’s performing arts calendar.

For more information about the Awards, including the winners, visit: for details.

Image: Breathe In by Crossroad Arts – photo by Leah McLean Photography