A sellout show to celebrate performing arts in WA

9 August 2022

Once again, the annual Performing Arts WA Awards provided an opportunity to celebrate Western Australia’s rich and vibrant performing arts sector.

The Performing Arts WA Awards always serve as a reminder of the incredible breadth and depth of creative talent in this state and the 2022 line-up was no exception.

Hosted by Artist Relief Fund WA, the ceremony saw 46 Performing Arts WA (PAWA) Awards presented across the categories of dance, musicals and opera, and theatre, in front of a capacity crowd at the State Theatre Centre of WA, Monday 8 August.

Just hours before the ceremony started Spare Parts Puppet Theatre (SPPT) shared the news that they have had to cancel their next two seasons, because they have been advised by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries that their theatre auditorium must close with immediate effect, due to building remediation issues. So it was bittersweet to see the company’s productions take out multiple awards.

In the theatre catogory, SPPT’s Beanstalk won the PAWA Award for Best Mainstage Production, and the creative team of Amberly Cull, Nick Pages-Oliver, Melanie Robinson and Carmel Dean won the award for Outstanding New Work for SPPT’s The One Who Planted Trees.

Two winners at the Performing Arts WA Awards
Bittersweet wins for Spare Parts: pictured are actor Sam Longley and SSPT Artistic Director Philip Mitchell. Photo: Miles Noel Photography

Described by Seesaw Magazine’s David Zampatti as “passionate, poetic and immensely powerful”, Ian Michael and the Blue Room Theatre’s production of Angus Cerini’s The Bleeding Tree, took out four PAWA Awards in the theatre category, including Best Independent Production and Outstanding Ensemble. Director Ian Michael was awarded Outstanding Direction of an Independent Production and composer Rachael Dease won Best Sound Design.

Four award winners stand, holding awards at the Performing Arts WA Awards
Julia Moody, Karla Hart, Rachael Dease and Melanie Julien-Martial from ‘The Bleeding Tree’ team. Photo: Miles Noel Photography

In the musical and opera category, The Summer of our Lives, by Western Sky Projects and The Blue Room Theatre also took out four PAWA Awards. Recognised by Seesaw Mag’s David Zampatti as “an important milestone in the trajectory of two of WA’s finest theatre artists,” The Summer of our Lives won awards for Outstanding Musical Direction, Outstanding Ensemble and Outstanding New Work, with cast member Nick Maclaine taking Outstanding Performer in a Supporting Role (jointly with Elethea Sartorelli for her role in Cinderella).

A group of people holding Performing Arts WA Awards
‘The Summer of Our Lives’ team. Photo: Miles Noel Photography

Freeze Frame Opera’s Angels & Devils was another standout in the musical and opera category, picking up Best Production, as well as Outstanding Direction, Movement Direction or Choreography for director Rachel McDonald and Outstanding Performer in a Leading Role for soprano Harriet Marshall.

A group of people holding Performing Arts WA Awards
Cast and creatives fromArchives of Humanity‘. Photo: Miles Noel Photography

In the dance category it was an exciting night for Co3 Contemporary Dance. Described by Seesaw Magazine’s Nina Levy as “densely layered and intensely rewarding”, Co3’s work Archives of Humanity won PAWA awards for Best Mainstage Production and Outstanding Ensemble, with artistic director Raewyn Hill, design associate Bruce McKinven and sculptural artist Naoko Yoshimoto together taking out the award for Outstanding Stage Design.

A woman holding a Performing Arts WA Award
Chrissie Parrott. Photo: Miles Noel Photography

Emma Fishwick’s Slow Burn, Together, presented by Performing Lines WA for Perth Festival also won multiple awards in the dance category, including Outstanding New Work, with dancer Francesca Fenton winning Outstanding Newcomer and dancer Ella-Rose Trew winning Outstanding Performer (jointly with Natalie Allen for her role in Julia, Juan Carlos Osma for his role in Sleeping Beauty and Carina Roberts for her role in Coppelia).

A highlight of the night was witnessing West Australian dance legend Chrissie Parrott AO receive a Lifetime Achievement Award to a standing ovation. With a career spanning five decades, that included founding the seminal Chrissie Parrott Dance Company, Parrott was honoured for her extensive work in the creative industries as a dancer, choreographer, digital artist, director (across dance, theatre, television and film), set and costume designer and teacher.

For a full list of the 2022 Performing Arts WA award winners head to

Pictured top: Audience members arrive at the awards ceremony. Pictured (L-R) are Peter Cumins, Natasha Cove and Adam Perryman. Photo: Miles Noel Photography

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Author —
Nina Levy

Nina Levy has worked as an arts writer and critic since 2007. She co-founded Seesaw and has been co-editing the platform since it went live in August 2017. As a freelancer she has written extensively for The West Australian and Dance Australia magazine, co-editing the latter from 2016 to 2019. Nina loves the swings because they take her closer to the sky.

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