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Canberra Today 3°/8° | Saturday, April 13, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Awards afternoon brings out the talent

Billy Bourchier sings To Dream the Impossible Dream

The 29th CATs – Combined Area Theatre Awards – whizzed by at The Q on Sunday afternoon in what was reckoned to be the fastest such event ever.

With a sophisticated program of entertainment, directed by musician Leisa Keen, the limelight shone not so much on the winners but on guest artist, Billy Bourchier, who had won a CAT for playing Judas when he was a schoolboy and is now slated to appear in a leading role with Opera Australia.

The first half saw regional NSW musical and dramatic societies to the fore and a more limited number of Canberra companies – you have to join up to be nominated – as many ACT theatre and dance organisations had joined the alternative Ovations network.

Nowra director Julia Armstrong

Junior Albatross MTC from Nowra carried off seven awards, with Best Costumes for a School or Youth Production and Best Direction of a School or Youth Musical going to its director Julia Armstrong, who spent much of the afternoon getting up on stage.

The announcements were interspersed with amusing scene changes orchestrated by stage manager David Bennett.

We saw a sharp dance number by Legs Dance Academy’s hoofers as kittens, Nothing Short of Wonderful from Dogfight by Taylor Paliaga, Ruth’s song from the Pirates of Penzance by Samantha Nettleton and a tender rendition of Almost Paradise from Footloose by Nowra duo Molly Parrish-Gibbons and Daniel Layson, who showed just why it was that the regional groups had done so well.

From left, Billy Bourchier, Coralie Wood and Andrew Bell

A highlight of the celebration was the moment when Bourchier and MC Andrew Bell escorted CATS co-founder Coralie Wood on to the stage for a hearty round of applause.

The second half of the afternoon, which focused on the “Bests” opened with Bourchier singing This is the Moment from Jekyll and Hyde.

Here Canberra Philharmonic Society’s Cats took out three spots, Canberra’s The Training Ground won three dance awards and Dramatic Productions’ Dogfight won three, including Best Production of a Musical.

CAT awards commendations for contributions to the community went to Cowra Music and Dramatic Society, Dramatic Productions, Canberra, Child Players ACT, ANU Med Revue and Revolution Theatre, Albury.

The concluding moments saw the presentation of the Silver Cat to founder of Child Players ACT, BJ Anyos, and the Gold Cat went to Queanbeyan Players’ stalwart musical director Jenna Hinton.

Bell told those present of a generous donation from Blumer’s Lawyers, which would allow the CATS to celebrate their pearl anniversary (30th) next year, before he gave the stage to Bourchier to finish the afternoon with To Dream the Impossible Dream.

The full list of CAT Awards

BEST SET FOR A PLAY

Greg Whitby

Present Laughter, Spectrum Theatre Group, Merimbula

BEST SET FOR A MUSICAL, VARIETY OR DANCE PRODUCTION

Julie Fraser

Frozen Jr, JAM Junior Albatross MTC, Nowra

BEST COSTUMES FOR A PLAY

Robyn Whitby

Present Laughter, Spectrum Theatre Group, Merimbula

BEST COSTUMES FOR A MUSICAL OR VARIETY SHOW

Pip Muller

Cats, Canberra Philharmonic Society

BEST COSTUMES FOR A SCHOOL OR YOUTH PRODUCTION

Julia Armstrong

Frozen Jr, JAM Junior Albatross MTC, Nowra

BEST LIGHTING

John Matkovic

The Wedding Singer, Griffith Regional Theatre

TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT

Brenton Golley

Make-up and wigs, The Little Mermaid, Albury Wodonga Theatre Company

Trent Houssenloge and Chris Curran

Video production, Unhinged, The Training Ground, Canberra

JOHN THOMSON THEATRE MAGIC

Canberra Grammar School, Canberra

Atmosphere created in the foyer for Chicago

Revolution Theatre, Albury

Appearance of the Oompa Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

BEST ORIGINAL WORK

Ted Ayers

Modern adaption, Macbeth, Melting Pot Theatre, Bundanoon

BEST ORIGINAL WORK FOR A SCHOOL OR YOUTH PRODUCTION

Joe Woodward and senior drama students

Script, The Gift of Story: Myths and Stories from Fairy Tale Archetypes, Daramalan Theatre Company, Canberra

BEST ENSEMBLE IN A PLAY

The ensemble cast

Neighbourhood Watch, Wagga Wagga School of Arts Inc SOACT

BEST ENSEMBLE IN A SCHOOL OR YOUTH PRODUCTION

The ensemble chorus

Catch Me If You Can, Karabar High School, Queanbeyan

BEST ENSEMBLE IN A MUSICAL, VARIETY OR DANCE PRODUCTION

The cast

Cats, Canberra Philharmonic Society

PATRICIA KELSON ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD

Toby Breach

Dance and ensemble work, Oklahoma!, Queanbeyan Players

BEST YOUTH ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Harrison Labouchardiere

As Rumpelstiltskin and others in The Gift of Story: Myths and Stories from Fairy Tale Archetypes, Daramalan Theatre Company, Canberra

BEST YOUTH ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Zach Moses

As Barry Mann in Beautiful – the Carole King Musical, Chevalier College, Bowral

Rylee Williams

As Olaf in Frozen Jr, JAM Junior Albatross MTC, Nowra

BEST YOUTH ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Mollie Morris

As Pigeon Guy in Zetaclorm, Lake Ginninderra College, Canberra

BEST YOUTH ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Maya George

As Ursula in The Little Mermaid, Canberra Girls Grammar School

BEST YOUTH ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Lachlan Elderton

As Frank Abagnale Jr in Catch Me If You Can, Karabar High School, Queanbeyan

BEST YOUTH ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Gaby Black

As Anna in Frozen Jr, JAM Junior Albatross MTC, Nowra

Kate Greenwood

As Elsa in Frozen Jr, JAM Junior Albatross MTC, Nowra

BEST VARIETY PERFORMANCE BY AN INDIVIDUAL OR ENSEMBLE

Lisa Core-Flanagan

in ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ in Celebration! Diamond Jubilee Concert, Cowra Musical and Dramatic Society

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A MONOLOGUE OR ONE-ACT PLAY

Iain Wright

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in ‘The Return of Sherlock Holmes’, Ten x 10 Play Fest – Intrigue and Inspiration, Wagga Wagga School of Arts Inc SOACT

BEST DANCE PERFORMANCE BY AN INDIVIDUAL OR ENSEMBLE

Jeremy Chan and Silvana Moro

‘Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer’, Cats, Canberra Philharmonic Society

BEST ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Iain Murray

As George Gardiner in Mr Bennet’s Bride, Canberra Repertory Society

BEST ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

John Whinfield

As Willard Hewitt in Footloose, Queanbeyan Players

BEST ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Sally Rhynveld

As Mrs Graves in Mr Bennet’s Bride, Canberra Repertory Society

BEST ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Sarah Hull

As Vi Moore in Footloose, Queanbeyan Players, Queanbeyan

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

Jim Adamik

As Salieri in Amadeus, Canberra Repertory Society

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Josif Jovanovski

As Reverend Shaw Moore in Footloose, Albatross Musical Theatre Company, Nowra

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

Karina Hudson

As Judy in Home I’m Darling, Canberra Repertory Society

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Taylor Paliaga

As Rose Fenny in Dogfight, Dramatic Productions, Canberra

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

John Michael Narres and Teagan Huntsdale

Strictly Ballroom, So Popera Productions, Wollongong

Bonnie Neate & Suzy Piani

Unhinged, The Training Ground, Canberra

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTION FOR A SCHOOL OR YOUTH PRODUCTION

Emily Berkhout, Eleni Kalaitzis, Jane McIntosh and John Dunstan

Anastasia, Nowra Anglican College

BEST DIRECTION OF A SCHOOL OR YOUTH MUSICAL

Julia Armstrong

Frozen Jr, JAM Junior Albatross MTC, Nowra

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTION

Peter Copeland

Strictly Ballroom, So Popera Productions, Wollongong

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY

Michael Mitchell

Neighbourhood Watch, Wagga Wagga School of Arts Inc SOACT

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL OR VARIETY SHOW

Grant Pegg and Kelly Roberts

Dogfight, Dramatic Productions, Canberra

BEST DANCE PRODUCTION

Unhinged

The Training Ground, Canberra

BEST PRODUCTION OF A SCHOOL OR YOUTH MUSICAL

Frozen Jr

JAM Junior Albatross MTC, Nowra

BEST PRODUCTION OF A PLAY

Neighbourhood Watch

Wagga Wagga School of Arts Inc SOACT

BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL

Dogfight

Dramatic Productions, Canberra

CAT AWARDS COMMENDATION

The CAT Awards commends the following companies and individuals, and acknowledges the special contribution they have made over the last year to theatre and to the community.

Cowra Music and Dramatic Society

For 60 years of bringing community theatre to Cowra and district

Dramatic Productions, Canberra

For ongoing charity donations through the ‘Dramatic Difference Program’

Child Players ACT, Canberra

For Introducing children to topical issues such as elections, climate change, discrimination and diversity in Mayor of Munchkinland, and for inclusivity with casting of The Pirates of Penzance

ANU Med Revue

For continuing support to Companion House ($11,000 this year from the proceeds of Malpractice in Wonderland)

Revolution Theatre, Albury

For donating 50% of proceeds from all shows to Albury Wodonga Community Chest.

SILVER CAT AWARD

B J Anyos

Child Players, Canberra

for her dedication and commitment to nurturing young talent and excellence in all areas of theatrical production through Child Players, Canberra

GOLD CAT AWARD

Jenna Hinton

Queanbeyan Players

for versatility and achievement this year in musical direction, performance, and set design including Queanbeyan Players’ Downtown (MD), Footloose (MD) and Oklahoma! (MD and set) and music performance in Free Rain Theatre Company’s Spamalot

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