Current Issue #488

Adelaide's festivals loom large in 2019 Helpmann nominations

Adelaide's festivals loom large in 2019 Helpmann nominations

Nominees for the 2019 Helpmann Awards have been revealed, with Adelaide Festival, WOMADelaide, State Opera and Adelaide Cabaret Festival among the work recognised in Australia’s annual celebration of live entertainment and performing arts.


One of no less than three high profile productions of Carmen to visit Adelaide in 2019, Adelaide Festival’s exclusive Australian season of Dresden’s Semperoper Ballet’s Carmen is up for Best Ballet. The Adelaide run of London-based Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter’s Grand Finale picked up nominations for Best Dance Production and Best Choreography, while Australian Dance Theatre’s Beginning of Nature earned nominations for Best Dance Production and individual recognition for its choreographer, ADT artistic director Garry Stewart, and dancer Kimball Wong. Gravity & Other Myths’ hit Adelaide Festival show Out of Chaos… earned the Adelaide company a place in the Best Visual or Physical Theatre Production field.

Belvoir and Co-Curious’ epic production of Counting and Cracking, a 2019 Adelaide Festival highlight, has dominated the theatre categories with Eamon Flack and S. Shakthidharan nominated for Best Direction, nominations for actors Prakash Belawadi, Vaishnavi Suryaprakash, Antonythasan Jesuthasan and Best Production. Windmill Theatre’s Australian debut of Baba Yaga also makes an appearance in the race for Best Presentation for Children and Young People.

The cast of Counting and Cracking (Photo: Brett Boardman / Belvoir St Theatre)
Vaishnavi Suryaprakash in Counting and Cracking (Photo: Brett Boardman / Belvoir St Theatre)

Komische Oper Berlin’s The Magic Flute, a key draw in this year’s Festival program, attracted nominations for Best Opera, Best Male Performer for its lead Aaron Blake, Tom Erik Lie and Aleksandra Oczyk for their supporting roles and co-directors Barrie Kosky and Suzanne Andrade for Best Direction. State Opera of South Australia has also received nominations for its production of Purcell’s King Arthur and Carmen in the Square, for which Emma Pearson is up for Best Female Performer in a Supporting Role.

2018 Adelaide Cabaret Festival performances by Ali McGregor, Michaela Burger and Libby O’Donovan’s comprise the bulk of the Best Cabaret Performer category, while Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette follow-up Douglas looks poised to clean up in the comedy category. The show, soon to be given the Netflix special treatment, received its first previews in Adelaide in March before being toured nationally and overseas.

Christine & The Queens perform at WOMADelaide (Photo: Sia Duff)

In Contemporary Music, WOMADelaide is nominated for Best Contemporary Music Festival alongside the likes of MONA FOMA and Vivid LIVE, while its 2019 Friday headliner Christine & The Queens is up for Best International Contemporary Concert. Tours by Kylie Minogue, Paul Kelly and the Adelaide Festival-programmed Tim Minchin will vie for Best Australian Contemporary Concert.

Other well-represented nominees include Belvoir’s Barbara and the Camp Dogs, tapped for Best Musical along with writer Ursula Yovich vying for Best Female Actor In A Musical and Port Pirie-born co-star Elaine Crombie nominated for Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical.

A final notable addition comes in the form of the late Paul Blackwell, nominated for Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play for his appearance in last years’s State Theatre Company and Belvoir co-production of Faith Healer, which proved to be his final curtain call.

Paul Blackwell in Faith Healer (Photo: Jeff Busby / State Theatre Company)

Winners of the 2019 Helpmann Awards will be announced on July 14

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Gravity & Other Myths

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