Stage

Major Winners At 2019 Helpmann Awards Include Moving Story Of A Sri-Lankan Australian Family

By Krisinda Merhi July 16, 2019

And more! 

The tale of Sri Lankan-Australian family has taken centre stage at the 19th annual Helpmann Awards, alongside the works of Indigenous singer-songwriter Kev Carmody.

The event celebrates Australia's live entertainment and performing arts industry with the awards presented at Melbourne's Art Centre on Monday.

Belvoir and Co-Curious’ Counting and Cracking won seven gongs at the awards including best production of a play, best new Australia work and best direction of a play.

The multilingual play follows a family from Colombo in the 1950s, through the Sri Lankan civil war, until they arrive in western Sydney in the 21st century.

Play writer Shakthi Shakthidharan said the industry wasn't set-up for shows like his.

"This industry is not set-up to make these kinds of shows happen. If we want to be an Australia that asks people to limit themselves to fit in then we diminish our collective imagination," he said, accepting a gong.

"If we want to be an Australia that asks us to expand and present our full selves and we can help fulfil the potential this country can be, and I hope Counting and Cracking is beginning with that.”

Indigenous singer-songwriter Kev Carmody, whose works are ingrained in Australian culture, won the JC Williamson Award for his outstanding contribution to the live performance industry.

"Thank you to the Helpmann organisation for the recognition  of our ancient oral tradition. I accept this award on behalf of that recognition as well as all Indigenous people," Carmody said.

Awards were handed out in the categories of comedy, cabaret, contemporary music, musicals, opera, classical music, theatre and ballet, dance and physical theatre.

The play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child's Neil Austin won best lighting design.

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Ali McGregor won her first best cabaret performer gong while Tara Jade Samaya won the title of best female dancer on the night among the accolades.

Comedian Susie Youssef and SA State Theatre's Mitchell Butel hosted the awards with performances from the cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the Victorian Opera, the Australian Ballet and the Bangarra dance group.

 

Full list of Helpmann Award winners for 2019 :

  • Best ballet - Aurum, The Australian Ballet
  • Best choreography in a ballet, dance or physical theatre production - Antony Hamilton, Forever & ever, Sydney Dance Company
  • Best dance production - The Beginning of Nature, Australian Dance Theatre
  • Best female dancer in a ballet, dance or physical theatre production - Tara Jade Samaya, Common Ground, Chunk Move
  • Best male dancer in a ballet, dance or physical theatre production - Waangenga Blanco, Dark Emu, Bangarra Dance Theatre
  • Best visual or physical theatre production - Out of Chaos... , Gravity & Other Myths
  • Best cabaret performer - Ali McGregor, Yma Sumac - The Peruvian Songbird, Adelaide Festival Centre's Adelaide Cabaret Festival
  • Best comedy performer - Hannah Gadsby, Douglas, A Token Event
  • Best Australian contemporary concert - Tim Minchin and Live Nation Australasia, Back
  • Best contemporary music festival - Museum of Old and New Art, MONA FOMA 2019
  • Best international contemporary concert - David Byrne and Frontier Touring, American Utopia Tour 2018
  • Best costume design - Gabriela Tylesova, Twelfth Night, Melbourne Theatre Company
  • Best lighting design - Neil Austin, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Parts One and Two), Sonia Friedman Productions, Colin Callender and Harry Potter Theatrical Productions, and Australian Executive Producer, Michael Cassel
  • Best music direction - Erin Helyard, Artaserse, Pinchgut Opera
  • Best new Australian work - Shakthi Shakthidharan and Eamon Flack, Counting and Cracking, Belvoir & Co-Curious
  • Best original score - Ursula Yovich, Alana Valentine and Adm Ventoura, Barbara and the Camp Dogs, Belvoir in association with Vicki Gordon Music Productions Pty Ltd
  • Best scenic design - Dale Ferguson, Counting and Cracking, Belvoir & Co-Curious
  • Best sound design - Stefan Gregory, Counting and Cracking, Belvoir & Co-Curious
  • Best special event - Dark MOFO 2018, MONA
  • Best choreography in a musical - Malik Le Nost & Mitchell Woodcock, Saturday Night Fever, John Frost in Association with Robert Stigwood
  • Best direction of a musical - Francesca Zambello, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: West Side Story, Opera Australia
  • Best female actor in a musical - Ursula Yovich, Barbara and the Camp Dogs, Belvoir in association with Vicki Gordon Music Productions Pty Ltd
  • Best female actor in a supporting role in a musical - Elaine Crombie, Barbara and the Camp Dogs, Belvoir in association with Vicki Gordon Music Productions Pty Ltd
  • Best male actor in a musical - Brent Hill, School of Rock Musical, GWB Entertainment and S&Co in association with Kham Inc by arrangement with the Really Useful Group Ltd
  • Best male actor in a supporting role in a musical - Tony Sheldon - Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The New Musical, John Frost, Craig Donnell, Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Langley Park Productions and Neal Street Productions
  • Best musical - Barbara and the Camp Dogs, Belvoir in association with Vicki Gordon Music Productions Pty Ltd
  • Best chamber and/or instrumental ensemble concert - Gabrieli Consort & Players, Purcell's King Arthur, Melbourne Recital Centre and State Opera of South Australia
  • Best direction of an opera - Barrie Kosky & Suzanne Andrade, Komische Oper Berlin's The Magic Flute, Adelaide Festival and Perth Festival by arrangement with Arts Projects Australia
  • Best female in a supporting role in an opera - Taryn Fiebig, Metamorphosis, Opera Australia
  • Best female performer in an opera - Lise Lindstrom, Salome, Opera Australia
  • Best individual classical music performance - Asher Fisch, Tristan und Isolde, West Australian Symphony Orchestra
  • Best male in a supporting role in an opera - Tom Erik Lie, Komische Oper Berlin's The Magic Flute, Adelaide Festival and Perth Festival by arrangement with Arts Projects Australia
  • Best male performer in an opera - Michael Honeyman, Wozzeck, Opera Australia
  • Best opera - Komische Oper Berlin's The Magic Flute, Adelaide Festival and Perth Festival by arrangement with Arts Projects Australia
  • Best symphony orchestra concert - Tristan und Isolde, West Australian Symphony Orchestra
  • Best presentation for children and young people - Robot Song, Arena Theatre Company
  • Best regional touring production - Bennelong, Bangarra Dance Theatre
  • Best direction of a play - Shakthi Shakthidharan and Eamon Flack, Counting and Cracking, Belvoir & Co-Curious
  • Best female actor in a play - Kate Mulvany, Every Brilliant Thing, Belvoir
  • Best female actor in a supporting role in a play - Vaishnavi Suryaprakash, Counting and Cracking, Belvoir & Co-Curious
  • Best male actor in a play - Prakash Belawadi, Counting and Cracking, Belvoir & Co-Curious
  • Best male actor in a supporting role in a play - Paul Blackwell, Faith Healer, A Belvoir Production presented by State Theatre Company South Australia
  • Best production of a play - Counting and Cracking, Belvoir & Co-Curious

Source: AAP. 

Images: Helpmann Awards.