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SA vies for multiple 2017 Helpmann Awards

Arts & Culture

A swag of 2017 Adelaide Festival shows – including sumptuous centrepiece Saul, an intimate work by Restless Dance Theatre, circus show Backbone and 3D audio experience The Encounter – are vying for gongs at this year’s Helpmann Awards.

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The much-acclaimed Saul, which sold out 13 weeks before the Festival opening, has been nominated in seven opera categories in Australia’s premier live performance awards, including Best Opera, Best Direction (Barrie Kosky), Best Male Performer (Christopher Purves) and Best Male Performer in a Supporting Role (Kanen Breen).

Adelaide-based acrobatic ensemble Gravity and Other Myths 2017 Festival show, Backbone, is competing for Best Australian New Work, alongside Windmill Theatre’s Girl Asleep (written by Matthew Whittet). Backbone is also up for lighting (Geoff Cobham) and choreography awards, while Girl Asleep’s Amber McMahon received a best supporting actress nomination.

Other Adelaide Festival shows revealed last night as Helpmann nominees include Restless Dance Theatre’s acclaimed Intimate Space, an experiential work presented at the Hilton Hotel (Best Dance Production) and one-man audio-theatre show The Encounter (Best Sound Design).

Intimate Space. Photo: Jianna Georgiou

Simultaneous events were held in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney to announce nominations across 42 categories, with Dame Julie Andrews’ classic production of My Fair Lady leading the way with nine nods. Andrews came to Australia last year to direct the production, for Opera Australia and John Frost, in keeping with the original Lerner and Loewe production in which she made her Broadway debut as Eliza Doolittle 60 years ago.

My Fair Lady is up for best musical against strong contenders The Book of Mormon, with eight nominations, and Kinky Boots and Aladdin with seven each.

In other SA successes, the State Opera production of Cloudstreet has secured a Best Direction nomination for Gale Edwards, while Patch Theatre Company’s The Moon’s a Balloon is up for Best Regional Touring Production. SA actress Tilda Cobham-Hervey has been nominated for an acting award for her role in the State Theatre Company of SA and Frantic Assembly co-production Things I Know to Be True, which is also in the running for Best Play.

WOMADelaide is nominated for Best Contemporary Music Festival, alongside Moma Foma, the Byron Bay Bluesfest and St Jerome’s Laneway Festival.

The concert Ancient Rain, featuring Paul Kelly and Camille O’Sullivan and presented at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival last weekend by Far and Away Productions in association with Brink Productions, has been nominated for Best Original Score.

Electro-pop star Flume’s national tour last year is up for best Australian Contemporary Concert, against Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds for their emotionally-charged tour in support of the album Skeleton Tree at the start of this year.

Adele’s first tour of Australia will compete against Bruce Springsteen for best International Contemporary Concert.

The 17th Helpmann Awards will take place at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney on July 24.

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