Helpmann Awards nominations: big cast of WA nominees announced

WA Ballet’s The Great Gatsby.
WA Ballet’s The Great Gatsby.

NOMINATIONS across the 42 categories of the 18th Annual Helpmann Awards were announced at simultaneous events in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney yesterday.

The Helpmann Awards is an annual celebration of Australia’s live performance industry, recognising achievement and excellence in sectors including musicals, contemporary music, comedy, opera and classical music, theatre, ballet, dance and physical theatre, presentations for children, regional touring and cabaret.

The Perth event was held at State Theatre Centre of WA and hosted by opera singer Fiona Campbell with help by Mamma Mia the Musical performer and WAAPA graduate Stephen Mahy, newly appointed Perth Festival artistic director Iain Grandage and director, writer, dramaturg and producer Sally Richardson.

There was a big nod to Perth’s dance sector with nominations for WA Ballet’s The Great Gatsby, including Best Ballet and Melissa Boniface was singled out from the season for Best Female Dancer.

STRUT Dance also received a Best Dance Production nomination for One Flat Thing Reproduced and Perth-born Australian Ballet dancer Kevin Jackson is up for Best Male Dancer for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Perth Festival’s Siren Song received a Best Sound Design nomination, Sensorium Theatre and Performing Lines WA’s Odyssey is in the running for Best Regional Touring Production.

The Last Great Hunt followed up last year’s nomination with another for The Irresistible (presented with Side Pony) in the Best Play category

WASO was nominated for Best Symphony Orchestra Concert for Wagner and Beyond: Inspiring Wagner.

Perth-born opera singer Taryn Fiebig is up for Best Female Performer in an Opera while Hale School and WAAPA graduate Matthew Lutton is in the running for Best Direction of an Opera.

WAAPA graduate Mat Verevis was highlighted in the category a Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical for Beautiful: The Carole King Story.

Best Female Actor in a Musical included Natalie O’Donnell who trained at WAAPA and is currently starring in Best Musical nominee Mamma Mia the Musical at Crown Theatre Perth, along her cast mate Ian Stenlake also nominated for Best Male Actor in a Musical.

Other nominees were Ed Sheeran and Paul McCartney for Best International Contemporary Concert, Lano and Woodley’s Fly for Best New Australian Work and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time which tours to His Majesty’s Theatre in August.

In a shake-up to tradition, the 2018 Helpmann Awards will follow the same model as other major international awards ceremonies and hold two events across two nights.

Act I, on Sunday, July 15 at Sydney Town Hall, will be a sit down event at cocktail hour celebrating the very best creative, designer and supporting roles.

Act II, on Monday, July 16 at the Capitol Theatre, will be a black tie affair staged on the set of Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical, presenting all live performance award genres.

“Two shorter shows enables us to better highlight the artistry and excellence in our dynamic live performance industry,” Live Performance Australia chief executive Evelyn Richardson said.

“Over the past 18 years the Helpmann Awards have received nearly 11,000 entries and announced over 2,750 Nominees which highlights the scale of the live performance industry enjoyed by 18.4 million people each year in Australia.”

The Capitol Theatre Act II ceremony will be broadcast on ABC 1 on the Monday night with highlights from Act I.