Melbourne Theatre Company’s 2016 opening show Ladies in Black has won the coveted Best New Australian Work at the 16th Annual Helpmann Awards.
The production, created by Queensland Theatre Company, written by Carolyn Burns and Tim Finn, and directed by Simon Phillips, launched MTC’s 2016 Subscription Season and was a sell-out success. In receiving the Award the creative team stressed the need for, and clear benefits of, thorough development of Australian works.
In a year in which Melbourne Theatre Company productions received more nominations than any other theatre company in the country, North By Northwest, an MTC and Kay + McLean co-production, was nominated for 5 awards in the categories of Best Play, Best Lighting (Nick Schlieper), Best Scenic Design (Nick Schlieper and Simon Phillips), Best Sound Design (Ian McDonald), and Best Direction of a Play (Simon Phillips).
MTC actors were also recognised, with Mark Leonard Winter winning Best Male Actor in a Play for his performance in MTC’s Birdland. Both Anna Samson and Katrina Milosevic were nominated for Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play, for their performances in Birdland and MTC’s The Distance respectively. Mark also won Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play for King Lear. Sarah Peirse, star of Joanna Murray-Smith’s Switzerland which is soon to be seen at MTC, won Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play for The Golden Age.
As well as winning Best New Australian Work, Ladies in Black was nominated for Best Direction of a Musical (Simon Phillips), Best Musical, Best Costume Design (Gabriela Tylesova), Best Music Direction (Isaac Hayward), and Best Original Score (Tim Finn).
MTC also congratulates Lee Lewis who won Best Director of a Play. Lee, who directed Rupert for MTC in 2013, will also be directing a key production in MTC’s 2017 season to be announced on 28 August.
MTC Artistic Director Brett Sheehy said, ‘The Helpmann Awards recognise the best in Australian live performance and we’re delighted that so many artists and productions featured in our 2015/2016 seasons received nominations and awards in an especially competitive year. We are proud to work alongside such esteemed companies and artists and send congratulations to all those who received awards.’