For the first time since the foundation of the Helpmann Awards in 2001 by Live Performance Australia, the 2019 Helpmann Awards ceremony is being held in Melbourne rather than Sydney, with the announcement of the 43 awards taking place over two nights. The first 20 awards for best creative, designer and supporting actor roles were presented tonight at an intimate, industry-only cocktail hour event hosted by Robyn Archer.

Helpmann Awards Vaishnavi Suryaprakash and Sukania Venugopal in Counting and Cracking. Photograph © Brett Boardman

Counting and Cracking , the epic, new play by S. Shakthidharan, produced by Belvoir and Co-Curious, was the big winner of the evening with four awards. The play, which moves between 1956 and 2004, and takes place in Australia and Sri Lanka, tells a compelling story of Sri Lankan history over the past 30 years. Featuring a multi-cultural cast who performed in six different languages, the play premiered at the 2019 Sydney Festival and then moved to the Adelaide Festival. Eamon Flack and S. Shakthidharan took home the Helpmann Award for Best Direction of a Play. Vaishnavi Suryaprakash was named Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play, Dale...

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