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SA song and dance recognised in 2016 Helpmann Awards


Dancer Kimball Wong and singer Michael Griffiths were among the South Australian winners at last night’s 2016 Helpmann Awards, which were dominated by Tim Minchin’s ‘Matilda the Musical’.

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The national awards recognise excellence across all the performing arts and were presented at the Sydney Lyric Theatre.

Wong, Adelaide-based Australian Dance Theatre’s longest-serving dancer, was named Best Male Dancer in a Dance or Physical Theatre Work for his performance in Habitat, the company’s 2016 Adelaide Festival show.

Also in the dance category, Adelaide-born Frances Rings won a choreography award for Bangarra Dance Theatre’s Sheoak, which took out a total of three gongs (former composer David Page – who died in April – had also been posthumously nominated for his work).

Griffiths took out Best Cabaret Performer for Cole, an Adelaide Cabaret Festival show celebrating the music of Cole Porter, while WOMADelaide was named Best Contemporary Music Festival.

Among the other South Australian nominees in the 2016 awards was Slingsby theatre company’s The Young King, in the Best Presentation for Children category, which was won by Barking Gecko Theatre Company’s Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories.

Composer and lyricist Tim Minchin’s Matilda the Musical made a record sweep of this year’s gongs, taking out all 13 of its nominated categories including Best Musical, as well as acting, costume and design awards.

Minchin’s witty musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel has previously found success on London’s West End and Broadway, and debuted in Sydney last year. It was announced last month that the musical will come to Adelaide for an eight-week season from May next year.

Sydney-based Griffin Theatre Company’s The Bleeding Tree won three awards, including Best Play, with actor Paula Arundell beating four-time winner Cate Blanchett for Best Female Actor in a Play.


Best Musical – Matilda the Musical

Best Play – The Bleeding Tree, Griffin Theatre Company

Best Ballet or Dance Work – Sheoak, Bangarra Dance Theatre

Best Contemporary Music Festival – WOMADelaide

Best International Contemporary Concert – Prince Piano & Microphone Tour 2016

Best Comedy Performer – Tom Ballard, The World Keeps Happening

-with AAP

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