Arts / Sam bags gold in big night for theatre awards

BLACK ties and sparkles were in abundance tonight at the CAT Awards, back at the Canberra Theatre after several years elsewhere.

CATS followers packed the theatre to see hosts, musical stars and entrepreneur Simon Gallaher and “CityNews” music writer, Ian McLean, introduce routines and excerpts from plays and musicals, interspersed with the 51 people and organisations singled out from all around the Canberra region and beyond for their work during 2017.

Gold CAT Award winner Sam Lloyd.

The winner of the ICON Water Gold CAT Award, was Sam Lloyd, artistic director of Bay Theatre Players in Bateman’s Bay, for her achievements in the areas of set design, costume design, direction and performance with the company.

The ActewAGL Silver CAT Award went to Canberra theatre stalwart Fiona Leach for achievements in costume design for numerous companies and across a range of styles, and for her contribution to the community through the Cook Collective.

The $2500 Mary Porter Scholarship for professional development went to Jesse Challis, of Albury, to assist with his studies of musical theatre at the Victorian College of the Arts this year.

As well, in a non-award category, the CAT judges commended several companies for their special contributions made over the past year to theatre and to the community.

Speaker of the ACT Legislative Assembly Joy Burch was on hand to present the Silver Cat on behalf of the ACT government while ACT politician and former radio presenter Mark Parton presented the Gold Cat on behalf of the NSW government in the absence of Deputy Premier John Barilaro, a long-time CAT fan and sponsor.

A scene from “Sweeney Todd” performed at the CATS Awards.

Other presenters at the gala “night of nights” included former politician Bronwyn Bishop, star of “Masterclass”, Amanda Muggleton, Tim Shaw from 2CC and Craig Bennett from Channel 10’s “Good Morning” show.

Founder and Top CAT, Coralie Wood, told “CityNews”: “We are very excited to be back to where we started at the Canberra Theatre Centre 23 years ago.”

The 2017 CAT Awards winners are:

BEST SET FOR A PLAY: Chris Baldock, “A View From The Bridge”, Canberra Repertory Society;

BEST SET FOR A MUSICAL, VARIETY OR DANCE PRODUCTION: Tim Hawkins, “Beauty and The Beast”, So Popera Productions, Wollongong;

BEST COSTUMES FOR A PLAY: Sam Lloyd, “A Murder is Announced”, Bay Theatre Players, Batemans Bay;

BEST COSTUMES FOR A MUSICAL OR VARIETY SHOW: Sophie Rose King, “Beauty and the Beast”, So Popera Productions, Wollongong;

BEST COSTUMES FOR A SCHOOL OR YOUTH PRODUCTION: The costume team, “Neverland”, Classical Ballet Centre Canberra;

BEST LIGHTING, Chris Ellyard, “A View from the Bridge”, Canberra Repertory Society;

TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT: Shiva Prakash and Michael Li, video production, “Bedside Story”, ANU Med Revue, Canberra;

JOHN THOMSON MAGIC MOMENT OF THEATRE: Reveal of the dead spirits, “Slaves”, Kinross Wolaroi Preparatory School, Orange;

BEST ORIGINAL WORK: Matthew Webster, original music, “Wait Until Dark”, Canberra Repertory Society;

BEST ORIGINAL WORK FOR A SCHOOL OR YOUTH PRODUCTION: Bartholomew Bunk, Charlie Curry, Jack Curry, Nick Philp, Luke Wheelwright, Michael Wilson, music, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, Daramalan Theatre Company, Canberra;

BEST ENSEMBLE IN A PLAY: the cast, “The Vagina Monologues”, Pigs Fly Productions, Bowral;

BEST ENSEMBLE IN A MUSICAL: the ensemble, “Chicago”, So Popera Productions, Wollongong;

BEST ORCHESTRA FOR A SCHOOL OR YOUTH PRODUCTION: “Mary Poppins”, Illawarra Grammar School, Wollongong;

BEST ORCHESTRA: “Chicago”, So Popera Productions, Wollongong;

PATRICIA KELSON ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD: James Whalan, first time musical direction, “9 to 5”, Parkes Musical & Dramatic Society;

BEST YOUTH ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY: Max Etherington, as Grandpa Joe in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, Child Players ACT, Canberra;

BEST YOUTH ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL: Liam Jackson, as Corny Collins in “Hairspray Jr”, St Mary MacKillop College, Canberra;

Mary Porter Scholarship winner Jesse Challis.

BEST YOUTH ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY: Sophie Marzano, as Mrs Beaver in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, Daramalan Theatre Company, Canberra;

BEST YOUTH ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL: Steph Maclaine, as Miss Hannigan in “Annie”, Canberra Girls Grammar School, AND Teadora Avramovic, as Madame Thenardier in “Les Miserables”, Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts;

BEST YOUTH ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY: Oliver Durbidge, as Hamlet in “Hamlet”, Daramalan Theatre Company, Canberra;

BEST YOUTH ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY: Zara McCann, as Gertrude in “Hamlet”, Daramalan Theatre Company, Canberra;

BEST YOUTH ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL: Matthew Hearne, as Jean Valjean in ‘Les Miserables,’ Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts;

BEST YOUTH ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL: Molly Stewart, as Mary Poppins in “Mary Poppins”, Illawarra Grammar School, Wollongong AND Meaghan Stewart, as Mrs Lovett in “Sweeney Todd”, Dramatic Productions, Canberra;

BEST VARIETY PERFORMANCE BY AN INDIVIDUAL OR ENSEMBLE: Kirsten Busby, in “Time to Say Goodbye”, Step Into the Limelight: Inspire, ACT Education Directorate;

BEST DANCE PERFORMANCE BY AN INDIVIDUAL OR ENSEMBLE: Jessica Potter, as Cinderella, “Cinderella and Other Fractured Fairy Tales”,Legs Dance, Canberra;

BEST ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY: Sandy Glass, as Earl “Brother Boy” Ingram in “Sordid Lives”, Spectrum Theatre Group, Merimbula;

BEST ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL: Tim Stiles, as Uncle Fester in “The Addams Family”, The Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council;

BEST ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY: Myf Thompson, as Dora Bunner in “A Murder is Announced”, Bay Theatre Players, Batemans Bay;

BEST ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL: Joanne Darby, as Madame Morrible in “Wicked”, Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre;

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY: Knox Peden, as Eddie Carbone in “A View from the Bridge”, Canberra Repertory Society;

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL: Gordon Nicholson, as Gomez Addams in “The Addams Family”, The Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council;

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY: Jenna Roberts, as Suzy Henderson in “Wait Until Dark”, Canberra Repertory Society;

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL: Anastasia Feneri, as Roxie Hart in “Chicago”, So Popera Productions, Wollongong;

BEST CHOREOGRAPHER: Teegan McKeen, “Chicago”, So Popera Productions, Wollongong;

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTOR FOR A SCHOOL OR YOUTH PRODUCTION: Natalie Guile, “Annie”, Canberra Girls Grammar School;

BEST DIRECTOR OF A SCHOOL OR YOUTH PLAY: Joe Woodward, “Hamlet”, Daramalan Theatre Company, Canberra;

BEST DIRECTOR OF A SCHOOL OR YOUTH MUSICAL: Crystal Mahon, “Rock of Ages”, Hawker College, Canberra;

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Peter Copeland, “Chicago”, So Popera Productions, Wollongong;

BEST DIRECTOR OF A PLAY: Chris Baldock, “A View from the Bridge”, Canberra Repertory Society;

BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL OR VARIETY SHOW: Amy Copeland, “Chicago”, So Popera Productions, Wollongong;

BEST DANCE PRODUCTION: “Neverland”, Classical Ballet Centre Canberra;

BEST PRODUCTION OF A SCHOOL OR YOUTH MUSICAL: “Mary Poppins”, Illawarra Grammar School, Wollongong;

BEST PRODUCTION OF A SCHOOL OR YOUTH PLAY: “Hamlet”, Daramalan Theatre Company, Canberra:

BEST PRODUCTION OF A VARIETY SHOW: “Step Into The Limelight: Inspire”, ACT Education Directorate;

BEST PRODUCTION OF A PLAY: “A View from the Bridge”, Canberra Repertory Society;

BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL: “Chicago”, So Popera Productions, Wollongong, AND Wicked, Orange Theatre Company;

MARY PORTER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SCHOLARSHIP: Jesse Challis of Albury;

Silver CAT winner Fiona Leach.

SILVER CAT: Fiona Leach, for outstanding achievement in costume design for numerous companies and across a range of styles, and for contribution to the community through the Cook Collective;

GOLD CAT: Sam Lloyd, for outstanding achievement in the areas of set design, costume design, direction and performance for the Bay Theatre Players;

CAT COMMENDATIONS (non-award category),

  • ANU Med Revue, Canberra, for donating all proceeds of “Bedside Story” to Companion House;
  • Queanbeyan Players, for 50 years contributing to quality theatre in Queanbeyan and the ACT;
  • Albury Wodonga Theatre Company, for 50 years of contributing to quality theatre in Albury Wodonga;
  • The Cook Collective: the Free-Rain, Phoenix Players and Supa costume teams, for donating materials and time towards a range of aid projects;
  • Pigs Fly Productions, Bowral, for supporting White Ribbon in its campaign against violence towards women;
  • Dramatic Productions, for raising over $4000 for a variety of Canberra charities and community groups from the run of “Sweeney Todd”.

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