On Monday night, 6th September, graduates from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts took out several categories of the prestigious Helpmann Awards.

The Helpmann Awards®, established in 2001 by Live Performance Australia (LPA), saw the presentation of awards in 42 categories. In addition Tony Gould AM and Brian Nebenzahl OAM RFD were honoured as the recipients of the prestigious JC Williamson AwardTM that recognises their outstanding contribution to the Australian live performance industry.

Acting graduate, Ewen Leslie (2000), took out the coverted Best Male Actor in a Play award for his dazzling portrayal of the title character in Melbourne Theatre Company’s critically acclaimed production of Richard III.

The Best Male Dancer in a Dance or Physical Theatre Production award went to Western Australian dance graduate Richard Cilli (2008) for his performance in, We Unfold by Sydney Dance Company where he is a company member along with five other WAAPA dance graduates. Raphael Bonchachela (Artistic Director SDC) has nothing but praise for the quality of WAAPA’s dancers. “The polished professionalism, the charisma, the confidence, and riveting performance qualities from these young artists are outstanding.”

Best Presentation for Children went to Sonya Hartnett’s Thursday’s Child produced by Monkey Baa Theatre for Young People. This company’s two Artistic Directors are both Acting graduates, Sandie Eldridge (1991) and Tim McGarry (1987).

Classical Voice graduate, Emma Matthews (1992) was presented with the award for Best Female Performer in an Opera for Opera Australia’s production of La Sonnambula and Music Theatre graduate, Christina O’Neill (2005) won Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical for her work on the hilarious musical comedy Avenue Q, produced by Arts Asia Pacific and Power Arts. Coincidentally the Executive Producer of this touring show, Jarrod Carland is a Music Theatre graduate from 2000.

The Helpmanns are a celebration of the very best in live performance in Australia. They also serve as a reminder of the central place live performance takes in the lives of so many Australians, whether it be a child attending a live concert for the very first time, a young Australian attending a concert by their favourite band or comedian, or one of the millions of Australians who attend our major musicals or performances by our extraordinary performing arts companies.