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Record-breaking list of nominees for coveted CONDAs

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The region’s dynamic performance sector will be front and centre at the upcoming City of Newcastle Drama Association Awards (CONDAs).

A record-breaking 177 nominations have been received, recognising the work produced by local theatre-makers.

There were 71 productions submitted for the awards program this year, as 39 companies crammed in postponed productions from 2021, as well as new work for 2022.

And, the winners are scheduled to be announced at a special ceremony, sponsored by Out of the Square Media, City of Newcastle and JH Productions, at Newcastle City Hall on Saturday 10 December.

Photo: Jamie Gilmore

The CONDAs acknowledge excellence by local theatre practitioners in 27 categories, including technical and design elements, performers for both musicals and plays, as well as directors, choreographers and musical directors.

Another highlight is the presentation of the Legacy Award.

Retired Civic Playhouse box office managers Betty Burns and Michael Wiltshire, as well as the late, beloved Newcastle theatre maker Noel Grivas will be honoured.

This year also includes the introduction of a new classification, which showcases the increasing participation of national actors who are brought into Newcastle productions as guest performers.

Vying for that title are Mike Booth (Uncle Vanya, Her Productions), Ross Chisari (Jersey Boys, The Very Popular Theatre Company), Tristan McKinnon (Uncle Vanya, Her Productions), Alex Sefton (La Traviata, Opera Hunter) and Ashlee Woodgate (La Traviata, Opera Hunter).

City of Newcastle Drama Association president Dr Shane Bransdon admitted it had been an exceptionally busy 12 months for the Newcastle industry, with as many as seven shows being staged at the same time some weekends.

“Newcastle is attracting national attention as an arts city, thanks to the quality work being produced in the region,” he said.

“As a result, local producers are enticing talent from around Australia to work on Newcastle-based productions.”

Anyone interested in the Hunter theatre industry is invited to purchase tickets through the Civic Theatre at www.civictheatrenewcastle.com.au or phone 4929 1977.

Photo: Jamie Gilmore

2022 CONDA nominees

Excellence in Hair, Make-up and Wigs

  • Lisa Bone & Kate Hanna, Madagascar a Musical Adventure JR, Hunter School of the Performing Arts
  • George Francis & Rachel Millard, Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical, Metropolitan Players
  • George Francis & Rachel Millard, Shrek the Musical, Metropolitan Players
  • Callie McLean & Ben Gilbert, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Opera Hunter
  • Rachel Millard & Melanie Neilsen, Jersey Boys, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Rachel Millard & Melanie Neilsen, Seussical the Musical, Hunter Drama
  • Alicia Whelan, The Cost of Wishes, ASPIRE – Catholic Schools Office Diocese of Maitland

Excellence in Costume Design

  • Jennifer Ellicott, Jersey Boys, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Bev Fewins & Steven Harrison, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Metropolitan Players
  • Lauren Harvey, The Cost of Wishes, ASPIRE – Catholic Schools Office Diocese of Maitland
  • Coralie Lewis, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Opera Hunter
  • Jody Miller, CHICAGO, Chookas Entertainment
  • Marigold Pazar & Charlotte De Wit, Uncle Vanya, Her Productions
  • Anne Robinson, Kadisha Patterson & Kaysia Dowie, In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play), Maitland Repertory Theatre
  • Maddie Watts, SpongeBob the Musical, Young People’s Theatre

Excellence in Set & Prop Design

  • Meg Connelly, Puffs, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Lisa Little, The Cost of Wishes, ASPIRE – Catholic Schools Office Diocese of Maitland
  • Jody Miller, CHICAGO, Chookas Entertainment
  • David Murray, The Fine Art of Deception, Newcastle Theatre Company
  • Daniel Shaunessy, In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play), Matiland Repertory Theatre
  • Daniel Stoddart, Kayla Crowe, Hayley Stoddart & Phillip Stoddart, Seussical the Musical, Hunter Drama
  • Allison Van Gaal, Trevor, Knock and Run Theatre
  • Maddie Watts, The SpongeBob Musical, Young People’s Theatre

Excellence in Lighting Design

  • Soph Bott, The Fine Art of Deception, Newcastle Theatre Company
  • Lyndon Buckley, The Cost of Wishes, ASPIRE – Catholic Schools Office Diocese of Maitland
  • Michael Cooper & Damon Herington, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, St Philips Christian College
  • Jacob Harwood & Lyndon Buckley, CHICAGO, Chookas Entertainment
  • Jacob Harwood, Jersey Boys, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Jacob Harwood, Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical, Metropolitan Players
  • Jacob Harwood, Puffs, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Xavier Shaw, Treasure Island, Hunter School of the Performing Arts

Excellence in Sound Design

  • Jacob Harwood, Disney’s Frozen JR, St Philips Christian College
  • Jacob Harwood, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, St Philips Christian College
  • Jacob Harwood, Jersey Boys, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Jacob Harwood, Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical, Metropolitan Players
  • Jacob Harwood, Puffs, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Jacob Harwood, Seussical the Musical, Hunter Drama
  • Jacob Harwood, Shrek the Musical, Metropolitan Players

Excellence in Audio-Visual, Multimedia and Projection

  • James Chapman & Kelton O’Shea, She Kills Monsters, Hunter Drama
  • Jacob Harwood, Seussical the Musical, Hunter Drama
  • Jacob Harwood, Jersey Boys, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Belle Holliday-Williams, Disney’s Frozen JR, St Philips Christian College
  • Rocky Sovechles, The Les Darcy Show, Newcastle Theatre Company

Legacy Award

  • Betty Burns, Civic Playhouse Box Office Manager (retired)
  • Michael Wiltshire, Civic Playhouse Box Office Manager (retired)
  • Noel Grivas, Beloved Newcastle Theatre Maker (award presented posthumously)
Photo: Jamie Gilmore

Excellence by a Performer 18 and Under in a Supporting Role – Musical

  • Samuel Mackintosh, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, St Philips Christian College
  • Angus Mackintosh, Disney’s Frozen JR, St Philips Christian College
  • Eloise Mahoney, Madagascar the Musical Adventure JR, Hunter School of the Performing Arts
  • Lexi Moore, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, St Philips Christian College
  • Layla Schillert, Be More Chill, Chookas Entertainment
  • Layla Schillert, Seussical the Musical, Hunter Drama
  • Jack Van Esveld, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, St Philips Christian College
  • Ruby Wooster, Madagascar the Musical Adventure JR, Hunter School of the Performing Arts

Excellence by a Performer 18 and Under in a Lead Role – Musical

  • Madison Barr, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, St Philips Christian College
  • Timothy Davies, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, St Philips Christian College
  • Jessie Edmonds, Seussical the Musical, Hunter Drama
  • Stephanie Hanlon, The Wizard of Oz, Young Performer’s Edition, Young People’s Theatre
  • Patrick Howlett, The Cost of Wishes, ASPIRE – Catholic Schools Office Diocese of Maitland
  • Anaiya Mahony, Seussical the Musical, Hunter Drama
  • Bridget Ponman, SpongeBob the Musical, Young People’s Theatre
  • Jude Schillert, Oliver, Hunter Drama

Excellence By a Performer 18 and Under – Play

  • Julia Boyd, Normal, Hunter Drama
  • Emma Blanch, Normal, Hunter Drama
  • Chloe Hilkemeijer, Treasure Island, Hunter School of the Performing Arts
  • Molly-Anne Kelly-Newton, Romeo and Juliet, Young People’s Theatre
  • Layla Schillert, Puffs, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Jude Schillert, Treasure Island, Hunter School of the Performing Arts
  • Kensington Steele, Kid Frankenstein, Hunter Drama

Best 18 and Under Ensemble

  • ASPIRE Catholic Schools Office Diocese of Maitland, The Cost of Wishes, ASPIRE – Catholic Schools Office Diocese of Maitland
  • Hunter Drama, Kid Frankenstein, Hunter Drama
  • Hunter Drama, She Kills Monsters, Hunter Drama
  • Hunter School of the Performing Arts, Madagascar the Musical Adventure JR, Hunter School of the Performing Arts
  • St Philips Christian College, Disney’s Frozen JR, St Philips Christian College
  • St Philips Christian College, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, St Philips Christian College
  • Young People’s Theatre, SpongeBob the Musical, Young People’s Theatre

Best Production – 18 and Under

  • Aspire Catholic Schools Office Diocese of Maitland, The Cost of Wishes, ASPIRE – Catholic Schools Office Diocese of Maitland
  • Hunter Drama, Kid Frankenstein, Hunter Drama
  • Hunter Drama, She Kills Monsters, Hunter Drama
  • Hunter School of the Performing Arts, Madagascar the Musical Adventure JR, Hunter School of the Performing Arts
  • St Philips Christian College, Disney’s Frozen JR, St Philips Christian College
  • St Philips Christian College, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, St Philips Christian College

Best Ensemble – Play

  • Bearfoot Theatre, I Hope it’s not raining in London, Bearfoot Theatre
  • Brunker Community Theatre, The Children, Brunker Community Theatre
  • Chookas Entertainment, 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche
  • Her Productions, Uncle Vanya, Her Productions
  • Knock and Run Theatre, Airness, Knock and Run Theatre
  • Knock and Run Theatre Company, Trevor, Knock and Run Theatre
  • Maitland Repertory Theatre, Veronica’s Room, Maitand Repertory Theatre
  • Very Popular Theatre Company, Puffs, The Very Popular Theatre Company

Best Ensemble – Musical

  • Chookas Entertainment, CHICAGO, Chookas Entertainment
  • Hunter Drama, Seussical the Musical, Hunter Drama
  • Metropolitan Players, Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical, Metropolitan Players
  • Metropolitan Players, Shrek the Musical, Metropolitan Players
  • Opera Hunter, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Opera Hunter
  • Very Popular Theatre Company, Jersey Boys, The Very Popular Theatre Company

Excellence by a Guest Performer

  • Mike Booth, Uncle Vanya, Her Productions
  • Ross Chisari, Jersey Boys, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Tristan McKinnon, Uncle Vanya, Her Productions
  • Alex Sefton, La Traviata, Opera Hunter
  • Ashlee Woodgate, La Traviata, Opera Hunter

Excellence by a Performer in a Supporting Role – Musical

  • Katie Blaxland, Jersey Boys, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Danny Folpp, CHICAGO, Chookas Entertainment
  • Drew Holmes, CHICAGO, Chookas Entertainment
  • Amber Lewis, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Opera Hunter
  • Riley McLean, Be More Chill, Chookas Entertainment
  • Rachelle Schmidt Adnum, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Opera Hunter
  • Rob Vidler, Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical, Metropolitan Players

Excellence by a Performer in a Supporting Role – Play

  • Nick Allen-Ducat, Puffs, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Derek Fisher, Barefoot in the Park, Newcastle Theatre Company
  • Megan Kennedy, Dale and Kevin Go to Heaven, The Objectively Good Theatre Company
  • Megan Kennedy, Puffs, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Karen Lantry, Uncle Vanya, Her Productions
  • Guil Noronha, Keeping Up Appearances, Metropolitan Players
  • Maike Strichow, Uncle Vanya, Her Productions
  • Connie Voisey-Barlin, In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play), Maitland Repertory Theatre

Excellence by a Performer in a Leading Role – Musical

  • Luke Aspinall, Shrek the Musical, Metropolitan Players
  • Kacie Bourke, CHICAGO, Chookas Entertainment
  • Drew Holmes, Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical, Metropolitan Players
  • Drew Holmes, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Opera Hunter
  • Thomas James, Jersey Boys, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Luke Power, Jersey Boys, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Zoe Walker, CHICAGO, Chookas Entertainment

Excellence by a Performer in a Leading Role – Play

  • James Chapman, Trevor, Knock and Run Theatre
  • Carl Gregory, Barefoot in the Park, Newcastle Theatre Company
  • Anna Lambert, Bash, Newcastle Theatre Company
  • Karen Lantry, Trevor, Knock and Run Theatre
  • Cath Patterson, Shirely Valentine, Bare Productions
  • Marigold Pazar, Uncle Vanya, Her Productions
  • Rachelle Schmidt Adnum, Ghosts, All’s One Theatre Company
  • Barry Shepherd, The Rest is Silence, Newcastle Theatre Company

Best New Play or Musical Written for a Newcastle Company

  • Scott Bevan, The Rest is Silence, Newcastle Theatre Company
  • Carl Caulfield, Creativity, Stray Dogs Theatre Company
  • Carl Caulfield, Fine Art of Deception, Newcastle Theatre Company
  • Anna Kerrigan, The Cost of Wishes, ASPIRE – Catholic Schools Office Diocese of Maitland
  • Theo Rule and Jared Mainey, Dale and Kevin Go to Heaven, The Objectively Good Theatre Company

Best Special Theatrical Event

  • Concert for Ukraine, Australian Ukrainian Community of the Hunter
  • Play Date, Knock and Run Theatre
  • Newcastle & Hunter Combined Schools ANZAC Service

Excellence by a Choreographer

  • Maddie Baillie & Jody Miller, CHICAGO, Chookas Entertainment
  • Natalie Baker, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, St Philips Christian College
  • Mick Dean, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Metropolitan Players
  • Lauren Harvey, Seussical the Musical, Hunter Drama
  • Xanthie Pagac & Evie Laurence, The Wolves, Newcastle Theatre Company
  • Adam Soldo, The Les Darcy Show, Newcastle Theatre Company
  • Jade Webber, Madagascar the Musical Adventure JR, Hunter School of the Performing Arts
  • Rachel Wilson, Jersey Boys, The Very Popular Theatre Company

Excellence by a Music or Vocal Director

  • Luke Baker, Shrek the Musical, Metropolitan Players
  • Lindy Connett, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, St Philips Christian College
  • Lindy Connett, Disney’s Frozen JR, St Philips Christian College
  • Mathew Gallimore, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Opera Hunter
  • Alison Hodge, Seussical the Musical, Hunter Drama
  • Alex Rigby, CHICAGO, Chookas Entertainment
  • Chris Vidler, Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical, Metropolitan Players
  • Daniel Wilson, Jersey Boys, The Very Popular Theatre Company

Excellence by a Director – Musical

  • Daniel Stoddart & Daniel Wilson, Jersey Boys, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Daniel Stoddart & Lauren Harvey, Seussical the Musical, Hunter Drama
  • Robert Stuart, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, St Philips Christian College
  • Allison Van Gaal, CHICAGO, Chookas Entertainment

Excellence by a Director – Play

  • Meri Bird, The Children, Brunker Community Theatre
  • Julie Black, Barefoot in the Park, Newcastle Theatre Company
  • Charlotte De Wit & Marigold Pazar, Uncle Vanya, Her Productions
  • Samuel Jenkins, HIR, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Daniel Stoddart, Puffs, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Allison Van Gaal, Trevor, Knock and Run Theatre
  • Claire Williams & Phillip Ross, The Rest is Silence, Newcastle Theatre Company

Best Musical Production

  • Chookas Entertainment, CHICAGO, Chookas Entertainment
  • Hunter Drama, Seussical the Musical, Hunter Drama
  • Metropolitan Players, Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical, Metropolitan Players
  • Metropolitan Players, Shrek the Musical, Metropolitan Players
  • Opera Hunter, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Opera Hunter
  • Very Popular Theatre Company, Jersey Boys, The Very Popular Theatre Company

Best Dramatic Production

  • Her Productions, Uncle Vanya, Her Productions
  • Knock and Run Theatre Company, Trevor, Knock and Run Theatre
  • Newcastle Theatre Company, Barefoot in the Park, Newcastle Theatre Company
  • Very Popular Theatre Company, HIR, The Very Popular Theatre Company
  • Very Popular Theatre Company, Puffs, The Very Popular Theatre Company

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