The nominations for the 2017 Matilda Awards – which recognise and celebrate theatre in Queensland – have been announced, with the lion’s share going to one-woman show Blue Bones. Written and performed by Merlynn Tong, it is a semi-autobiographical work that explores domestic violence, relationships, and love. A Playlab production, Blue Bones is nominated in seven categories – Best Mainstage Production, The Lord Mayor’s Award for Best New Australian Work, Best Director (Ian Lawson), Best Female Actor in a Leading Role (Tong), Best Lighting Design (David Walters), Best Sound Design (Guy Webster), and Best Audio Visual Design (Nathan Sibthorpe).

Merlynn Tong Merlynn Tong in Blue Bones. Photo: Brisbane Powerhouse.

Close behind with five nods, Opera Queensland’s production of Ruddigore, or the Witch’s Curse, has been nominated for Best Mainstage Production and Best Director for Lindy Hume’s “sparkling take” on a rare Gilbert and Sullivan musical (read Limelight‘s review here). Bryan Probets has also picked up a Best Male Actor in a Leading Role nomination for his portrayal of Robin Oakapple, with co-star Christine Johnston nominated for Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role for her Mad Margaret. Ruddigore has also been nominated for Best Lighting Design, headed by Andrew Meadows.

RuddigoreChristine Johnston and Natalie Christie Peluso in Ruddigore, or the Witch’s Curse. Photo: supplied.

Jute Theatre’s Joh for PM, a musical that satirises Queensland premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s attempt to become Prime Minister, has also landed five nominations. In addition to nods for Best Musical or Cabaret, and The Lord Mayor’s Award for Best New Australian Work, it sees Barbara Lowing nominated for Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role for her portrayal of Flo Bjelke-Petersen, as well as Kurt Phelan for Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role for Allen Callaghan. The musical has also received a nomination for Best Costume Design (Anthony Spinaze).

Also scooping up five nominations, Force of Circumstance and Nest Ensemble’s touching play He Dreamed a Train sees Margi Brown Ash receive a Best Female Actor in a Leading Role nod. Her son Travis Ash has also been nominated for Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role as well as for Best Sound Design. He Dreamed a Train has been further nominated for Best Lighting Design (Geoff Squires) and Best Audio Visual Design (Nathan Sibthorpe and Ben Knapton).

Close behind with four nominations apiece are Green Day musical American Idiot (read Limelight‘s review of the show’s Sydney performance here), indie play England, and the visually stunning Laser Beak Man. American Idiot has been nominated for Best Mainstage Production, Best Musical or Cabaret, Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role (Kurt Phelan picks up a second nod in this category) and Best Set Design (Josh McIntosh).

Meanwhile, Nathan Booth and Matt Seery’s England has received nominations for Best Independent Production, the Bille Brown Award for Best Emerging Artist (Matt Seery), Best Female Actor in a Leading Role (Barbara Lowing), and Best Male Actor in a Leading Role (Steven Tandy). Dead Puppet Society’s Laser Beak Man (read Limelight‘s review here) has picked up nominations for The Lord Mayor’s Award for Best New Australian Work, Best Set Design (Jonathon Oxlade and David Morton), Best Sound Design (Tony Brumpton and Sam Cromack), and Best Audio Visual Design (Justin Harrison).

Laser Beak Man, Matilda AwardsLaser Beak Man. Photo: Dylan Evans. 

Finally, Jimi Bani’s acclaimed My Name is Jimi, currently playing at Belvoir St Theatre as part of the Sydney Festival (read Limelight‘s review here) has been nominated for The Lord Mayor’s Award for Best New Australian Work, Best Set Design (Simona Cosentini and Simone Tesorieri), and Best Audio Visual Design (Justin Harrison). Nakkiah Lui’s directorial debut An Octoroon (read Limelight‘s review here) has also picked up nominations in three categories – for Best Mainstage Production, Best Male Actor in a Leading Role (Colin Smith), and Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role (Anthony Standish).


Full list of nominations here.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on February 6 at Brisbane Powerhouse.