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    Education & Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Matilda Awards recognise outstanding contribution to local theatre

    Education & Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Monday, March 21, 2005

    Matilda Awards recognise outstanding contribution to local theatre

    Ten talented theatre professionals were tonight honoured for their outstanding contribution to the theatre industry in south-east Queensland.

    Minister for the Arts Anna Bligh presented the annual Matilda Awards for Excellence in Drama, which are judged by a panel of theatre critics and reviewers, at a ceremony at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane.

    "This year the awards have taken a similar format to America's Academy Awards with the introduction of nine 'best of' categories including: Best Female Actor in a Leading Role, Best Male Actor in a Leading Role, Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Director, Best Designer, Best Lighting Designer, Best Sound Design and Best Production.

    "Five of the ten winners received $2000 prize money. The five winners were Melinda Butel, Bill Haycock, Caroline Kennison, Jean-Marc Russ, and Hayden Spencer."

    A full list of Matilda Award winners is attached.

    Ms Bligh said the awards, which are now in their eighth year, were an important recognition of the outstanding talent and dedication of those involved in the south-east Queensland theatre industry.

    "The Matilda Awards are highly sought after within the industry," she said.

    "These awards are a unique celebration of theatre and are awarded to those individuals who have made the most significant contribution to south-east Queensland theatre in the previous year's theatre session.

    "The awards are a great opportunity for the local theatre community to come together to celebrate excellence, innovation and artistry in Queensland's performing arts and to raise the profile of live theatre in this state."

    Ms Bligh said the State Government was proud to support local theatre and provided $10,000 annually to the awards through Arts Queensland.

    The Matilda Awards were established in 1988 by a group of theatre reviewers and are judged annually by a panel of local drama critics.

    In addition to the Matilda Awards, Ms Bligh also presented a number of other industry awards at tonight's event including the QPAC Award for excellence in performing arts; the Alan Edwards Award for lifetime achievement; the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) Award for an emerging artist; and the Backstage Award for ongoing excellence in and commitment to backstage work. The Matilda Category Winners are:

    Best Male Actor in a lead role Hayden Spencer for his roles in QTC's The Real Inspector Hound / Black Comedy, and QTC's Eating Ice Cream with Your Eyes Closed.

    Best Female Actor in a lead role Melinda Butel (joint winner) for her role as Catherine in QTC's Proof.

    Best Female Actor in a lead role Caroline Kennison (joint winner) for her role as Professor Vivian Bearing in Bunbury Theatre's Wit.

    Best Male Actor in a supporting role Sandro Colarelli for his role as (young) Ulysses in Zen Zen Zo's The Odyssey and as Pancrazio in QTC's The Venetian Twins

    Best Female Actor in a supporting role Carita Farrer for her role as Claire in QTC's Proof and Rosina in QTC's The Venetian Twins

    Best Director Jean-Marc Russ for QTC's Eating Ice Cream with Your Eyes Closed

    Best Design Bill Haycock for Zen Zen Zo's The Odyssey

    Best Sound Design Brett Collery for QTC's God is a DJ

    Best Lighting Design David Walters for Zen Zen Zo's The Odyssey and La Boite's Wicked Bodies

    Best Production Queensland Theatre Company for Eating Ice Cream with Your Eyes Closed

    Other awards presented tonight:

    The Alliance Award for Emerging Artist - Emily Tomlin

    The Backstage Award - Gayle MacGregor

    The Alan Edwards Life Time Achievement Award - Kaye Stevenson

    The QPAC Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts - Bille Brown

    Media contact: Shari Armistead (07) 3235 4593