Melbourne’s annual awards ceremony for the performing arts names 2014’s highest achievers.
The nominations have been announced for the 32nd annual Green Room Awards. The annual prize-giving recognises the finest accomplishments of Australian-produced works, premiered in Melbourne, within the sphere of the performing arts. In total 57 awards across seven genres will be presented, including gongs for experimental performance, circus, independent theatre and cabaret, as well as the more mainstream theatre, opera and dance categories.
Damien Ryan, Director of Bell Shakespeare’s critical smash-hit production of Henry V has secured the most nods in the Theatre category, dominating with nominations for Best Direction, Production, Set and Costume, and Best Ensemble. If the success of this quirky, wartime interpretation of the Bard’s history play, at this year’s Sydney Theatre Awards (where it won Best Mainstage Production and Best Director) is anything to go by, John Bell’s swan-song year at the company looks like it could be one of the most award-laden yet.
Bell Shakespeare’s Henry V
Melbourne Theatre Company also had cause for celebration with 20 nominations in total across the board. Their world premiere production of Brendan Cowell’s footy-inspired sex-scandal The Sublime achieved the highest tally with three potential awards for Writing, Direction (Sam Strong) and Best Male Actor (Josh McConville).
Malthouse Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company’s collaboration with Sister’s Grimm, Calpurnia Descending, also earned two significant nominations: Best Production and Best Male Actor for multi-Helpmann Award and Green Room Award-winner Paul Capsis’ performance.
Inevitably Opera Australia dominated the Opera category, with nominations for eight of the nine awards up for grabs, but of their Melbourne offering last year it was Kasper Holten’s production of Tchiakovsky’s Eugene Onegin that garnered the most laurels, including nominations for Direction, Production, Conducting and performance with Nicole Car’s portrayal of Tatyana nominated for Best Female Lead and Sian Pendry nominated for Best Female in a Supporting Role for her performance as Olga.
Victorian Opera and Malthouse Theatre’s The Riders
Malthouse Theatre and Victorian Opera’s premiere production of Iain Grandage’s The Riders, based on Tim Winton’s best-selling novel, also received significant recognition, earning four nominations for Direction and Production (going head-to-head with OA’s Onegin as the only other nominee in that category) as well as Best Male Lead for Barry Ryan’s performance as Scully and Best Male in a Supporting Role for Jerzy Kozlowski’s performance as Arthur. Perhaps in an attempt to create some suspenseful anticipation, the Green Room Awards panel decided not to announce the sole nominee for the New Australian Opera Award, however since The Riders was the only significant world premiere in 2014, Victorian Opera should be making room for at least one award in their trophy cabinet.
The King and I, which smashed records for ticket sales in Victoria and NSW last year will be hoping to replicate its Helpmann Awards success, and with ten nominations overall at this year’s Green Room Awards including a nod for leading lady Lisa McCune, this highly lauded production seems due a few more gongs. Male lead Jason Scott Lee, whose role as the King of Siam was passed to Teddy Tahu Rhodes for the Sydney performances, was conspicuously absent from the Best Male Lead nominees however.
Shaun Parker & Company’s Am I
In the dance category Melbourne-based Chunky Move secured a very respectable four nominations, including two Music and Sound Design nods for Daniel Jenatsch score for Fountain and Alisdair Macindoe (perhaps better known as a Helpmann Award-winning dancer) for his score for Princess. However it was companies based in Sydney that cleaned up in the dance category: Sydney Dance Company and Australian Ballet were well represented with multiple nominations, as were relative new kids on the block Shaun Parker & Company, who secured two nominations for their critically acclaimed show Am I.
The full list of this year’s nominations can be found on the Green Room Awards website.