Hayes Theatre and Sport for Jove dominate, as Sydney’s independent theatre scene appears in rude health.

The nominations for the 2015 Sydney Theatre Awards have been announced this morning, and for the first time independent musical theatre has been given its own platform with the introduction of several new categories separating the accomplishments of mainstream and independent productions.

Tim Minchin’s global smash-hit adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Matilda, presented by The Royal Shakespeare Company, leads the tally in the mainstream musical theatre awards with five nods including Best Production, and two nominations a piece in both Best Actress and Actor categories. A Special Achievement Award will also go to the four young performers in the title role of the Australian premiere season at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre.

In the independent musical theatre categories, Hayes Theatre is all but guaranteed to take home an impressive haul after securing 17 nominations in total – nine for its production of Heathers and eight for Violet. This marks a watershed year for the musical theatre pioneers, who were also one of the most successful applicants to the highly competitive September grant round for Australia Council funding, receiving almost $150,000 to develop several new Australian musicals in 2016.

The Australian cast of Matilda

In the mainstream theatre categories, 2015’s glut of Chekhov is strongly represented with seven nods for Belvoir’s Ivanov, including Best Production and Best Director (Eamon Flack), and seven for Sydney Theatre Company’s The Present, adapted by outgoing Artistic Director Andrew Upton. STC predictably dominate in the mainstage awards, with nineteen nods in total, but perhaps most notably among this cache are two Best Direction nods for Kip Williams, the 29-year-old theatre firebrand and protege of Andrew Upton. 2015 has been a superb year for the young director, who took the coveted Helpmann for Best Director of a Play earlier this year.

Thanks to STC’s consistently starry casting, the Best Actress and Actor awards in the mainstream categories both boast some A-list clout, with Cate Blanchett nominated for her performance in The Present, and Hugo Weaving nominated for Endgame. However, arguably the company’s headline production of 2015, King Lear, has been conspicuously snubbed, with Geoffrey Rush’s critically praised portrayal of the iconic Shakespearean monarch, and Neil Armfield’s most substantial directorial undertaking of the year both missing from the nominations. Nick Schlieper’s lighting design is the sole nod for this production, one of three nominations for the lighting and set designer.

The biggest winner in the independent theatre categories is Sport for Jove’s production of Of Mice and Men, which has received ten nominations, more than any other single production this year.

2015 marks the eleventh year of the Sydney Theatre Awards, which are awarded annually by a collection of Sydney-based theatre critics. The winners of this year’s awards will be announced at the Paddington RSL on January 18.


2015 Sydney Theatre Awards Nominations

Mainstage

BEST MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION

Endgame (Sydney Theatre Company)
Ivanov (Belvoir)
The Present (Sydney Theatre Company)
Suddenly Last Summer (Sydney Theatre Company)
The Wizard of Oz (Belvoir)

BEST DIRECTION

Eamon Flack (Ivanov)
Andrew Upton (Endgame)
Kip Williams (Love and Information)
Kip Williams (Suddenly Last Summer)

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Paula Arundell (The Bleeding Tree)
Cate Blanchett (The Present)
Jacqueline McKenzie (Orlando)
Eryn Jean Norvill (Suddenly Last Summer)

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Colin Friels (Mortido)
Ewen Leslie (Ivanov)
Josh McConville (Hamlet)
Hugo Weaving (Endgame)

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Blazey Best (Ivanov)
Jacqueline McKenzie (The Present)
Susan Prior (The Present)
Helen Thomson (Ivanov)

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Matthew Backer (The Tempest)
John Bell (Ivanov)
John Howard (Ivanov)
Barry Otto (Seventeen)

BEST STAGE DESIGN

Alice Babidge (Suddenly Last Summer)
Marg Horwell (La Traviata)
Renée Mulder (The Bleeding Tree)
Nick Schlieper (Endgame)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Alice Babidge (Mother Courage and her Children)
Alice Babidge (Suddenly Last Summer)
Alicia Clements (After Dinner)
Marg Horwell (La Traviata)

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN

Paul Jackson (Love and Information)
Nick Schlieper (Endgame)
Nick Schlieper (King Lear)
Emma Valente (The Wizard of Oz)

BEST SCORE OR SOUND DESIGN

Stefan Gregory (Suddenly Last Summer)
Max Lyandvert (Endgame)
Max Lyandvert (The Wizard of Oz)
The Sweats (Love and Information)

Independent

BEST INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION

Cock (Red Line Productions in association with Mardi Gras Festival)
The Dapto Chaser (Apocalypse Theatre Company in association with Griffin Theatre Company)
Grounded (Seymour Centre, Red Stitch and the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney)
Misterman (Siren Theatre Co in association with Red Line Productions)
Of Mice and Men (Sport for Jove and Seymour Centre)

BEST DIRECTION

Shane Bosher (Cock)
Kate Gaul (Misterman)
Glynn Nicholas (The Dapto Chaser)
Iain Sinclair (Of Mice and Men)

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Kate Box (Dolores)
Kate Cole (Grounded)
Belinda Giblin (Blonde Poison)
Matilda Ridgway (Cock)

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Thomas Campbell (Misterman)
Ben Gerrard (I Am My Own Wife)
Anthony Gooley (Of Mice and Men)
Andrew Henry (Of Mice and Men)

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Taylor Ferguson (Good Works)
Lucy Goleby (Good Works)
Deborah Galanos (The House of Ramon Iglesia)
Natasha Herbert (The Unspoken Word is ‘Joe’)

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

James Bell (The Aliens)
Andre de Vanny (Of Mice and Men)
Christopher Stollery (Of Mice and Men)
Jeremy Waters (The Aliens)

BEST STAGE DESIGN

Simon Greer (Violet)
Michael Hankin (Deathtrap)
Michael Hankin (Of Mice and Men)
Hugh O’Connor (The Aliens)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Brendan Hay (Man of La Mancha)
Michael Hankin (Of Mice and Men)
Melanie Liertz (Love’s Labour’s Lost)
Angela White (Heathers)

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN

Michele Bauer (Cock)
Ross Graham (Violet)
Sian James-Holland (Of Mice and Men)
Hartley TA Kemp (Misterman)

BEST SCORE OR SOUND DESIGN

Nate Edmondson (Misterman)
Nate Edmondson (Of Mice and Men)
Jeremy Silver (Violet)
Daryl Wallis (The Dapto Chaser)

Other Nominations

BEST NEW AUSTRALIAN WORK

The Bleeding Tree (Angus Cerini)
Boys Will Be Boys (Melissa Bubnic)
Kill the Messenger (Nakkiah Lui)
Mortido (Angela Betzien)

BEST NEWCOMER

Kerrie Anne Greenland (Les Misérables)
Charlotte Hazzard (War Crimes)
Lauren McKenna (Heathers)
Stephen Madsen (Heathers)
Lasarus Ratuere (Kill the Messenger)

BEST ENSEMBLE

After Dinner (Sydney Theatre Company)
Love and Information (Sydney Theatre Company)
Seventeen (Belvoir)
War Crimes (atyp)

BEST PRODUCTION OF A MAINSTREAM MUSICAL

Anything Goes (Opera Australia and John Frost)
Les Misérables (Cameron Mackintosh)
Matilda (The Royal Shakespeare Company, Louise Withers, Michael Coppel and Michael Watt)

The Sound of Music (John Frost, Andrew Lloyd Webber, David Ian and the Really Useful Group)

BEST PRODUCTION OF AN INDEPENDENT MUSICAL

Dogfight (Neil Gooding Productions in association with Hayes Theatre Co)
Heathers (Showqueen Productions and Working Management in association with Hayes Theatre Co)
Man of La Mancha (Squabbalogic)
Violet (Blue Saint Productions in association with Hayes Theatre Co)

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

Trevor Ashley (Heathers)
Mitchell Butel (Violet)
Neil Gooding (Dogfight)
Jay James-Moody (Man of La Mancha)

JUDITH JOHNSON AWARD FOR BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Hilary Cole (Dogfight)
Samantha Dodemaide (Violet)
Jaz Flowers (Heathers)
Amy Lehpamer (The Sound of Music)

JUDITH JOHNSON AWARD FOR BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Simon Gleeson (Les Misérables)
Stephen Madsen (Rent)
Tony Sheldon (Man of La Mancha)
Hayden Tee (Les Mis
érables)

FOR BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Marika Aubrey (Matilda)
Jacqueline Dark (The Sound of Music)
Elise McCann (Matilda)
Lauren McKenna (Heathers)

FOR BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Damien Bermingham (Violet)
Daniel Frederiksen (Matilda)
Stephen Madsen (Heathers)
James Millar (Matilda)

MUSICAL DIRECTION

Lucy Bermingham (Violet)
Paul Geddes (Man of La Mancha)
Isaac Hayward (Dogfight)
Bev Kennedy (Heathers)

BEST CABARET PRODUCTION

Josie Lane (Asian Provocateur)
Elise McCann (Everybody Loves Lucy)
Rob Mills (Rob Mills is Surprisingly Good)
Phil Scott (Reviewing the Situation)

BEST PRODUCTION FOR CHILDREN

The 52-Storey Treehouse (CDP)
Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium (Erth)
The Listies Ruin Xmas (Sydney Opera House)
Snugglepot and Cuddlepie (CDP)

BEST PRODUCTION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Shellshock (Riverside Productions)
A Town Named War Boy (ATYP)
The Unknown Soldier (Monkey Baa Theatre Company)
War Crimes (ATYP)

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Molly Barwick, Sasha Rose, Georgia Taplin, Bella Thomas (Matilda)