Myths, fairy tales and cutting edge new works have dominated the 2019 Matilda Awards tonight with stage adaptations of classic stories scooping the awards pool and an original work dealing with women at war, taking home the Best New Australian Work.
The spotlight shone brightly on shake & stir theatre co. who picked up three awards, including the coveted Gold Matilda.
One of Australia’s leading contemporary theatre companies, shake & stir received a record nine nominations for performance and technical achievements across its productions of Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts, Fantastic Mr Fox and Jane Eyre.
Founded in Brisbane in 2006, the company celebrated success across the categories of Best Video Design (Craig Wilkinson and Jon Weber, Fantastic Mr Fox) and Best Set Design (Josh McIntosh, Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts)
In announcing the Gold Matilda, the judging committee lauded shake & stir for “creating bold and exciting mainstage and in-school productions that tour Australia and New Zealand”.
Queensland Theatre was awarded Best Mainstage Production for its season of Death of a Salesman and shared honours with Brisbane Festival, Belvoir and ATYP when Fangirls took out the Best Musical or Cabaret category.
Innovative theatre collective, The SUI Ensemble, won Best Independent Production for its sold out season of La Silhouette, an immersive performance chronicling Brisbane’s queer history.
Physical theatre performer Gina Tay Limpus was named Best Emerging Artist for her work in La Silhouette and Zen Zen Zo’s The Tempest.
Matilda Awards Executive Committee chairperson Deb Wilks said the depth of talent within 2019’s pool of nominees and winners was representative of the widespread excellence across Queensland’s theatre industry.
Ms Wilks said this year’s ceremony included a new category: the QUT Creative Industries Backstage Award.
“Our inaugural winner is Tanya Malouf, an Opera Queensland stage manager and arTour tour manager, who worked tirelessly to promote, build and secure financial support for Little Match’s 2020 national tour of The Owl and the Pussycat,” she said.
“This award honours the great work of technicians, stage managers and other behind-the- scenes workers, without whom none of Queensland’s stellar productions would be possible.”
Timeless tales took out several award categories with Daniel Evans named Best Director and Amy Ingram Best Female Actor in a Leading Role for Cinderella, a modern adaptation of the classic fairy-tale and the first production from new theatre company, Myths Made Here.
Richard Lund pipped a strong field, including Cinderella star Thomas Larkin, for Best Male Actor in a Leading Role for his vulnerable and powerful portrayal of Australia’s most-famous bushranger in Kelly.
Mr Larkin did not leave empty-handed, named Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role for his stirring examination of Biff Loman in Death of a Salesman.
Susie French won Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role for her standout performance in A Girl’s Guide to World War with the production also honoured with The Lord Mayor’s Award for Best New Australian Work.
The site-specific Inside Out, conceived and directed by Tammy Zarb and Company for Bleach* Festival, was named Best Circus or Physical Theatre Work with Best Lighting Design honours for Geoff Squires.
The Matilda Awards’ 10-member judging committee also credited Luke Smiles (design) and Anna Whitaker (associate) of The Farm with Best Sound Design/Composition for Throttle and Libby McDonnell whose striking aesthetic nabbed her Best Costume Design for Orpheus and Eurydice, a co-production between Opera Queensland and Circa.
The second annual Emerging Female Leader Award was presented to Emily Wells whose producer credits include BlakDance and Supercell: Festival of Contemporary Dance and who worked as assistant director on Steven Oliver’s new work From Darkness at
La Boite Theatre.
Arts Minister Leeanne Enoch congratulated all 2019 Matilda Awards nominees and recipients for their outstanding work.
“The Matilda Awards honour actors, designers, directors, playwrights, companies along with members of creative teams, and I’m pleased to see the 2019 Awards recognise new productions and emerging practitioners alongside the work of Queensland’s established performing arts organisations,” Ms Enoch said.
More than 500 performers, artists and patrons of the arts attended the Matilda Awards ceremony at Brisbane Powerhouse tonight, hosted by Barbara Lowing and Louise Brehmer and featuring showstopping performances from talented Queensland theatre stars directed by Zoe Tuffin.