The Helpmann Awards — Australia’s answer to the Tony Awards — are finally giving Queensland’s theatre scene the recognition it deserves.
Queensland has long been underrepresented at the Helpmann Awards, which recognise excellence in Australian live performance. But that’s all changed this year, as the Sunshine State has racked up 30 nominations.
Queensland Theatre Company’s Ladies In Black is leading the way for the Queensland contingent with six nominations, including Best New Australian Work, Best Director of a Musical, Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, Best Music Direction and the highly coveted Best Musical gong.
La Boite Theatre Company’s Prize Fighter also bagged a number of nominations, after being strangely overlooked at the local Matilda Awards.
The boxing drama is up for Best Play, Best New Australian Work, Best Male Actor in a Play and Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play.
Bangarra Dance music director David Page, who tragically passed away in April, is nominated for two posthumous awards for his work on Bangarra Dance Theatre’s Ochres.
Shake & Stir Theatre Company received two nominations, for their production of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts.
Expressions Dance Company’s Daryl Brandwood is nominated for Best Male Dancer for his performance in Natalie Weir’s The Host, while Townsville’s Dancenorth has been nominated for Best Ballet or Dance Work for Spectra. That show’s choreographers, Kyle Page and Amber Haines, also secured a nomination.
Queenslanders will go head to head in the Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical category, with Jack Chambers (Singin’ In The Rain) and Simon Gallaher (Wicked) both earning nominations.
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda is the big winner so far, scooping up 13 nominations, including one in every musical theatre category. Matilda will arrive in Brisbane in November, playing at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre.
For the complete list of nominees, visit helpmannawards.com.au. This year’s awards ceremony will be held at the Sydney Lyric Theatre on Monday 25 July.