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David Atkins to direct the Helpmann Awards for three years

The Helpmann Awards ceremony looks set for a major rejig, following the appointment of a new production team for 2018-20.

Live Performance Australia (LPA) today announced David Atkins OAM has been appointed Artistic Director with Will Sheehan as Executive Producer and Dawn Martin as Production Director.

Atkins has a long history of directing both theatre and major live events both at home and internationally. Sheehan has previously been Associate Producer of the awards, and Dawn Martin served as production administrator in 2016.

LPA Chief Executive Evelyn Richardson said the organisation was delighted to have Atkins on board: “He has directed and produced some of the largest live events of this decade to a wide array of audiences around the world. He was acclaimed for his outstanding and innovative work as the artistic director and producer of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Opening and Closing ceremonies and has a pedigree that is unrivalled. His impressive list of credits in live entertainment events and theatrical experiences include creating and directing the first Australian musical presented on London’s West End, the Olivier Award winning Hot Shoe Shuffle. Currently David is the Artistic Director for White Night Melbourne and White Night Ballarat.”

LPA recently invited expressions of interest for a new artistic team to produce the annual ceremony, following the retirement of its long-standing Executive Producer Jon Nicholls. Nicholls produced his last ceremony in July 2017.

Atkins said: “Will and Dawn invited me to join them on the tender for this contract and it was too good an offer to pass up. The combination of our collective experience and skills, especially their delivery of the Helpmanns over the last few years meant we could bring both new blood and Helpmanns veterans to the team to create and produce the Awards. The Helpmanns and LPA are pivotal to the Australian performing arts industry and we are honoured to have won this opportunity.”

The new production team will oversee the next three ceremonies, culminating in the 20th anniversary ceremony in 2020.

Featured image: Dami Im and Jimmy Barnes presenting at this year’s Helpmann Awards. Photo by Lightbox Photography

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