At a time when the performing arts are in shut down, the online presentation of the annual Performing Arts WA Awards still felt like a celebration, albeit a poignant one.
Whilst there was a poignancy to the presentation of the 2020 Performing Arts Awards, the excitement that usually surrounds the event was, if anything, heightened by the circumstances. At a time when performing arts venues stand still and silent, the opportunity to gather as a community, even virtually, felt particularly special. As Nick Maclaine, secretary of The Artist Relief Fund WA (who present the PAWAs), remarked, “These are extraordinary times for our sector. We felt it was more necessary than ever for WA’s arts workers to be acknowledged, rewarded and celebrated.”
In the Theatre category, Barking Gecko Theatre and Black Swan State Theatre Company’s co-production Fully Sikh swept up three awards, including Best Newcomer for writer and performer Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa, Best Director of a Mainstage Production for Matt Edgerton and Best Composition or Arranging for Pavan Kumar Hari.
See You Next Tuesday was another multiple award winner, with writer Sam Nerida winning Best New Work and the production winning Best Independent Production.
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre won Best Mainstage Production for On Our Beach, while both the awards for Best Actor went to independent performances presented at The Blue Room Theatre. Humphrey Bower won the award for Best Actor (Male) for his performance in his work The Apparatus, and Charlotte Otton won the award for Best Actor (Female) for her performance in her work Feminah.
In the dance awards, independent double bill BANG! BANG!, by Scott Elstermann and Shona Erskine, collected numerous awards. Scott Elstermann won two of these: Best New Work for Act 2, Scenes 1-4, and Best Performer (Male), with Joe Lui taking Best Sound Design and Lilly King winning Best Newcomer (also for her performances in Brooke Leeder’s Radar).
West Australian Ballet’s Alice (in wonderland) won Best Production, with Chihiro Nomura winning Best Performer (Female) for her work in the title role. Rachel Arianne Ogle was the winner of Best Choreography, for precipice.
This year the PAWAs also included the presentation of the inaugural Artist Relief Fund’s Student Endowments – supported by Minderoo Foundation. These awards were presented to five students studying at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). The endowments reward high achieving students to help support them during their studies.
Seesaw congratulations all award winners, listed below:
Best Mainstage Production
On Our Beach, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre
Best Independent Production
See You Next Tuesday, The Blue Room Theatre & Static Drive Co.
Best New Work
Sam Nerida, See You Next Tuesday
Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa, Fully Sikh, Barking Gecko Theatre & Black Swan State Theatre Company
Best Supporting Actor (Male)
St John Cowcher, Playthings, The Blue Room Theatre & Second Chance Theatre
Best Supporting Actor (Female)
Amberly Cull, Tony Galati: The Musical, Aarnav Productions
Best Actor (Male)
Humphrey Bower, The Apparatus, The Blue Room Theatre & Humphrey Bower
Best Actor (Female)
Charlotte Otton, Feminah, The Blue Room Theatre Summer Nights & Charlotte Otton
Best Director of a Mainstage Production
Matt Edgerton, Fully Sikh, Barking Gecko Theatre & Black Swan State Theatre Company
Best Director of an Independent Production
Emily McLean, The Wolves, The Blue Room Theatre & Red Ryder Productions
Alice (in wonderland), West Australian Ballet
Best New Work
Scott Elstermann, Act 2, Scenes 1-4 as part of “BANG! BANG!”
Best Performer (Male)
Scott Elstermann, “BANG! BANG!”, The Blue Room Theatre & Scott Elstermann & Shona Erskine
Best Performer (Female)
Chihiro Nomura, Alice (in wonderland), West Australian Ballet
Best Director or Choreographer
Rachel Arianne Ogle, precipice, State Theatre Centre of WA & Rachel Arianne Ogle
Theatre and Dance: Production Awards
Best Sound Design
Joe Lui, “BANG! BANG!”, The Blue Room Theatre & Scott Elstermann & Shona Erskine
Best Lighting Design
Chris Donnelly, 歸屬 Gui Shu (Belong), Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts & Performing Lines WA
Best Stage Design
Tyler Hill & Ashley de Prazer, 歸屬 Gui Shu (Belong), Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts & Performing Lines WA
Best Costume Design
Caitri Jones, Lé Nør [the rain], The Last Great Hunt
Best Composition or Arranging
Pavan Kumar Hari, Fully Sikh, Barking Gecko Theatre & Black Swan State Theatre Company
The Artist Relief Fund’s Student Endowments – Supported By Minderoo Foundation
Acting: Angelica Lockyer
Musical Theatre: Sam Moloney
Aboriginal Theatre: Lila McGuire
Dance: Indiana Mulherin
Performing Arts: Jacob Sgouros
Pictured top is winner of Best Newcomer (Theatre): Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa in ‘Fully Sikh’. Matt Edgerton won Best Director of a Mainstage Production for ‘Fully Sikh’ and Pavan Kumar Hari won Best Composition or Arranging.
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