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Canberra Today 16°/21° | Monday, March 4, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Rachel scores awards-night Standing Ovation

Standing Ovation winner, Rachel Thornton. Photo: Ben Appleton

It was a standing ovation in more than one way for multi-skilled theatre enabler Rachel Thornton at the second annual Ovations Awards night held in the Hellenic Club on Friday.

The Standing Ovation is the name of the evening’s top award, announced by Ovations president Greg Hood, which goes to a person who goes above and beyond in the performing arts, on stage, backstage or behind the scenes.

An enthusiastic participant in many different local theatre companies, Thornton had, the judges said, stepped in and saved the day on multiple occasions when a show had been in dire need.

Frequently described as “indispensable”, she had been a cast member, choreographer, stage manager and assistant director, also running dance auditions and social media and helping with costumes, wigs, and props, always demonstrating the qualities of generosity, capacity and hard work and “a whole-of community commitment”.

Among the front-runners was Dramatic Productions’ musical, Dogfight, which garnered no fewer than 10 awards, hotly challenged by ACT Hub and its component companies, Chaika, Free Rain and Everyman.

The relatively-new Ovations Awards aim to celebrate the successes of member companies and individuals from the performing arts community in Canberra and Queanbeyan throughout the previous year and features more than 30 categories for theatre and musicals, both on stage and behind the scenes, covering performers, directors, designers, sound, lighting, and costumes.

After feedback from last year, the organisers said, changes had been made to bring in gender-neutral awards and alter “Best” awards to “Outstanding”. A new category for cabaret was announced, to be presented at the 2025 ceremony.

The Ovations winners, 2022-23

  • Outstanding Set, Andrew Kay, Home, I’m Darling, Canberra Repertory;
  • Outstanding Lighting Design, Stephen Still, The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised], Canberra Repertory;
  • Outstanding Sound Design, Patrick Haesler, The Trials, Canberra Youth Theatre;
  • Outstanding Costume Design, Deborah Huff-Horwood, Amadeus, Canberra Repertory;
  • Outstanding Supporting Performance – Comedy. Joe Dinn, Hay Fever, ACT Hub;
  • Outstanding Supporting Performance – Drama, Mischa Rippon in Ruben Guthrie, ACT Hub;
  • Outstanding Featured Performance, Ella Buckley, You Can’t Tell Anyone, Canberra Youth Theatre;
  • Outstanding Youth Performance, (18y and under) Kathleen Dunkerley, The Trials, Canberra Youth Theatre;
  • Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play – Comedy, Andrea Close Hay Fever, ACT Hub and Callum Doherty, The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised];
  • Outstanding Lead Performance – Drama, Karen Vickery as Hazel, The Children, Chaika Theatre, and Steph Roberts, Speaking in Tongues, Free-Rain Theatre Company;
  • Outstanding Director Tony Knight and Sophie Benassi, The Children, Chaika Theatre;
  • Musical Theatre:
  • Outstanding Set, Michael Sparks, Marry Me A Little, Everyman Theatre;
  • Outstanding Lighting Design, Craig Muller and Grant Pegg, Dogfight, Dramatic Productions;
  • Outstanding Sound Design, James McPherson, Dogfight, Dramatic Productions;
  • Outstanding Costume Design, Sarea Nicholas and team (Jessica Coates, Ange Futrell, Karen Malam, Jane Espeland, Vicky Young and Bonnie Babic), Alice in Wonderland, Child Players ACT;
  • Outstanding Supporting Performance, Darcy Kinsella as Patsy, Spamalot, Free-Rain Theatre, and Will Collett Dogfight, Dramatic Productions;
  • Outstanding Featured Performance, Phil Marlan, Cats, Canberra Philharmonic Society;
  • Outstanding Youth Performance, (18 and under) Jamie and Ryan Lloyd, Alice in Wonderland, Child Players ACT;
  • Outstanding Lead Performance, Alexander Clubb, Dogfight, Dramatic Productions and Taylor Paliaga, Dogfight, Dramatic Productions;
  • Outstanding Orchestra, Dogfight, Dramatic Productions;
  • Outstanding Musical Director, Caleb Campbell, Dogfight, Dramatic Productions;
  • Outstanding Choreographer Nathan Rutups, Dogfight, Dramatic Productions;
  • Outstanding Director, Grant Pegg and Kelly Roberts, Dogfight, Dramatic Productions;

Major awards

  • Behind the Scenes Award – Theatre, Emma Rowland, puppet designer, Holding the Man, Everyman Theatre;
  • Behind the Scenes Award – Musical Theatre, Ryan d’Argeaval, Pirates of Penzance, Child Players ACT;
  • Judges’ Awards for Outstanding Achievement, Child Players ACT for Inclusivity, and Child Players ACT for Mayor of Munchkin Land, and Pied Piper Productions for Shrek Jr;
  • Outstanding Original Work or Adaptation, Joanna Richards, You Can’t Tell Anyone, Canberra Youth Theatre;
  • Outstanding Production of a Play – Community, You Can’t Tell Anyone, Canberra Youth Theatre;
  • Outstanding Production of a Play – Independent, The Children, Chaika Theatre and Speaking in Tongues, Free-Rain Theatre Company;
  • Outstanding Musical, Cats, Canberra Philharmonic Society and Dogfight, Dramatic Productions.
  • Standing Ovation, Rachel Thornton.

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Helen Musa

Helen Musa

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