Nominations were announced for the Sydney Theatre Awards for 2017, which will be presented at a gala ceremony.
Leading the list with a record 12 nominations isMuriel’s Wedding, produced by the Sydney Theatre Company and Global Creatures, followed by Sydney Theatre Company’sCloud NineandOnly Heaven Knows from Luckiest Productions and Hayes Theatre Co, both on nine nominations.Calamity Jane, produced by One Eyed Man Productions in association with Neglected Musicals and Hayes Theatre Co, was awarded eight nominations, while bothThe Trouble With Harry from Siren Theatre Co and Seymour Centre, andAssassins from Hayes Theatre Co received seven nominations. Red Line Productions’ A View From The Bridge received six nominations.
Nominations in the 35 categories were spread across 51 productions which played on Sydney stages during 2017. Vying for Best Mainstage Production areCloud Nine(Sydney Theatre Company),Hir(Belvoir), Mr Burns(Belvoir) andShit (Sydney Festival). The nominees for Best Independent Production areDry Land(Outhouse Theatre Co and Mad March Hare),The Ham Funeral (Siren Theatre Company),The Trouble With Harry (Siren Theatre Co in association with Seymour Centre) andA View From The Bridge (Red Line Productions).
The Sydney Theatre Awards are presented annually by a group of leading theatre critics to celebrate the strength, quality and diversity of theatre in Sydney. The Sydney Theatre Reviewers consist of Elissa Blake (Audrey Journal, formerly Fairfax), Jason Blake (Audrey Journal, formerly Sydney Morning Herald), Dee Jefferson (ABC, formerly Time Out), Deborah Jones (The Australian), Jo Litson (The Sunday Telegraph, Limelight), John McCallum (The Australian), Ben Neutze (Time Out, formerly Daily Review), Diana Simmonds (Stagenoise), Cassie Tongue (Time Out, The Guardian) and Suzy Wrong (Suzy Goes See, Auditorium Magazine).
The reviewers all felt 2017 was a very strong year for Sydney theatre. Elissa Blake said, “For me, this year was about the rise of the independent theatre scene. The difference in quality and ambition between the funded and unfunded theatre companies in Sydney has shrunk to the point where it is becoming minimal. Our best artists and our emerging artists are now working in both spaces, smashing the gender roles, telling all kinds of new Australian stories, cracking open audiences’ hearts and minds.”
Jo Litson agreed, saying, “Occasionally we expand the number of nominations in a category from four to five because the quality is so high and the voting so close that it seems wrong not to recognise five nominees. This year that has happened in three categories: Best Male Actor and Best Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Mainstage Production, and Best Newcomer.
“It is encouraging to note the number of women coming to the fore following a push to raise awareness of the lack of gender equity in Australian theatre. This year, three of the four nominations for both Best Direction of a Mainstage Production and Best Direction of an Independent Production have gone to women. Clearly there is more to be achieved in terms of gender parity, and a lot more to de done in terms of ethnic diversity in our theatre, though improvements are slowly being made.”
Peter Lowry OAM, President of the Seaborn, Broughton & Walford Foundation, is happy to confirm that the Foundation will again be the major sponsor of the 2017 Sydney Theatre Awards. “As avid theatre goers, many of us have attended the shows and seen the performances that will be honoured at the Sydney Theatre Awards,” he said. “We congratulate all nominees, and we congratulate the leading theatre critics responsible for the Awards, now in its 13th year, as they recognise and reward the strength, quality and diversity of outstanding, professional mainstage and independent plays, musicals and performances produced in Sydney over the last twelve months.”
The awards will be presented on Monday 22 January 2018 at 6pm at the Everest Theatre, Seymour Centre.