Stage

The Matilda Awards 2013: Tequila Mockingbird and 1001 Nights

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Queensland’s annual Matilda Awards (named not after the immortal Banjo Paterson song, but an equally immortal blue cattle dog, who snored her way though the early meetings) for excellence in live theatre are now in their 26th year, still surviving after a sometimes rocky ride because of funding problems. Gone are the $2000 cheques from Arts Queensland for the five Gold Matildas, awarded to the individuals who, in the opinion of the eight judges, have made the most impressive contribution – instead they get a statuette to prop open the bathroom door. Many theatre workers think that’s marginally better than the bottle of Australian bubbles winners used to get during the no-funding years and, in the long run, it’s more rewarding to have an award to put on your CV in perpetuity. To be considered eligible, nominees have to be Queensland-based, so in that sense they’re very parochial, but one of the reasons for this restriction is that not many national reviewers get to see Queensland productions.
Categories, as well as judges, have changed over the years, but these days the five Gold Matildas still stand, as well as a number of Silver awards, in a flexible number of categories, depending on the quality of the contenders. If, for example, there are no outstanding musicals in one year, then an award in that category won’t be given.
The prize-giving ceremony took place last night at the Gardens Theatre, attended by most of the theatre community, who don’t often get the chance to meet up for free food and drinks, and who appreciate the opportunity to cheer on their friends, acquaintances and even their rivals. There were, as usual, a number of sponsors, chief among whom were Arts Queensland and the Brisbane City council, but as always the eight-person judging committee remains completely independent.
It’s usually old friends’ time, and this year’s awards were hosted by Dash Kruck and Emily Burton, who won a number of awards last year for their enchanting little show A Tribute of Sorts, which has been picked up by the Queensland Theatre Company as part of this year’s main-house season. Special guest presenter was the nationally famous James Stewart  (Packed to the Rafters), whose brilliant career began in Brisbane, and is one of its favourite sons.
And the winners are:
GOLD MATILDAS, for individual excellence:
Barbara Lowing
(for performances in The China Incident, Tequila Mockingbird, and Motherland)
Jason Glenwright
(for lighting  Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele, Out Damn Snot, Blood Brothers, Oklahoma!, Next To Normal, Tequila Mockingbird)
Andrea Moor
(for directing Venus in Fur)
shake + stir
(for creating Tequila Mockingbird)
Christen O’Leary
(for performance in End of the Rainbow)
SILVER MATILDAS
Best Mainstage Production:
Tequila Mockingbird
, shake + stir and QPAC (pictured above)
Best New Australian Work:
1001 Nights, Michael Futcher and Helen Howard (adapters)
Best Independent Production:
Motherland, Metro Arts and Ellen Belloo
Best Male Actor in a Leading Role:
Dan Crestani, 1001 Nights
Best Female Actor in a Leading Role:
Libby Munro, Venus in Fur
Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role:
Hayden Spencer, End of the Rainbow
Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role:
Louise Brehmer, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Best Director:
Michael Futcher, 1001 Nights
Best Physical Design (Set and costumes):
Angel Kosch, costume design, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Best Technical Design (Lighting, multimedia and sound design):
Phil Slade, musical director, 1001 Nights
Bille Brown Award for the Best Emerging Artist:
Sandra Carluccio, creator, This Is Capital City
Best Musical or Cabaret:
Rumour Has It: 60 Minutes Inside Adele (Judith Wright Centre and the little red company)

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