38th Conda Awards -2016

The 2016 Ceremony was held at Wests leagues Club on Saturday November the 26th and was a hugely successful night for all in attendance.


Check out our fantastic video highlights made by our wonderful major sponsors Out of the Square Media.


Best Dramatic Production: Suicide Incorporated
Knock and Run Theatre
This was a tasteful and sensitive look at a difficult topic: the decision by troubled people to end their lives through suicide. It left the audience with a sense of hope that supportive measures could reduce suicide rates. Suicide Incorporated was a dynamic and engaging work, staged in an intimate space with unique production aspects and powerful acting and direction.

Best Musical Production: Wicked
Metropolitan Players
The audience of Wicked were transported from their seats into the land of Oz and the Emerald City with this visual and aural feast of colour, life, laughs and the occasional tear. It pulled together performance and massive production elements to a foremost degree to deliver a highly engaging and magical show to a professional standard. A superb audience experience.

Best Special Theatrical Event: Aspire – There’s Something Strange about Marvin McRae
Catholic Schools Office
A highly imaginative theatrical event giving a large number of young people the opportunity to perform superbly in a range of different styles with acting, singing and dancing. The content of the production was timely and relevant, with a tasteful message about embracing individuality. An encouraging all-rounder production with strengths in performance aspects and production design.

Best New Play or Musical Written for a Newcastle Company: Saviour’s Day, by Theo Rule
The Grainery Theatre Company
Saviour’s Day was a timely, well-researched production dealing with highly meaningful content in a sensitive and not overly forced manner. It was lively, light and entertaining, while also being able to draw the audience into more emotional and serious aspects of life and the central character’s journey after Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin on Christmas Day in 1974. This is a show that people can relate to and it provides opportunities for creative ensemble work and dynamic characters.

Excellence by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama or Comedy: Scott Eveleigh
Punk Rock (Stooged Theatre)
Scott Eveleigh made an incredible character journey, brilliantly presented to the audience as it revealed a subtle transformation from innocent to psychotic. The complexity of the character was controlled, with strong movement and voice skills including a consistent accent. A highly engaging performance, which culminated in an intensity of fear striking the audience.

Excellence by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama or Comedy: Katy Carruthers
Other Desert Cities (Newcastle Theatre Company)
Katy Carruthers delivered an unrelentingly powerful and controlled performance with incredible energy and focus. This was a challenging character delivered with a consistent accent and dynamic, resulting in her shown to be the play’s central character. Longer monologue-style lines were presented with meaningful expression. A highly engaging performance.

Excellence by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Alex Sefton
The Marriage of Figaro (Opera Hunter)
With a high degree of training and vocal skill evident, Alex Sefton’s stage presence was consistently engaging and his characterisation included an edge of cheekiness. His understanding of the genre was clearly shown through a powerful performance that brought together the singing and acting.

Excellence by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Tayla Choice
Wicked (Metropolitan Players)
A highly dynamic performance showcasing an incredible vocal capacity. Tayla Choice showed an outstanding ability to act with sensitivity and emotion, plus excellent comic timing and spirited energy. A witty portrayal of a challenging character delivered with great skill.

Excellence by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role: Jerry Ray
Punk Rock (Stooged Theatre)
Jerry Ray gave an incredible intensity and believability to a character whose prowling and menacing behaviour carried fear across the stage and into the audience. He showed extraordinary control and outstanding focus, responding well to others on the stage while maintaining unsettling menace. He ultimately revealed the character’s duality, giving the audience insight into his struggles.

Excellence by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Elise Bialek
Proof (Newcastle Theatre Company)
Elise Bialek superbly revealed the ambiguity of a demanding woman’s situation and the complexities of her needs and wants. Her handling of the woman’s emotions ensured that she was neither villain or victim – just real. Her excellent focus and control of voice and movements had the audience watching intently.

Excellence by a Male Actor Under 18: Nicholas Thoroughgood
The History Boys (Lindsay Streets Players in association with Young People’s Theatre)
In a hugely challenging role, as a troubled boy in his final school year, Nicholas Thoroughgood’s acting was extraordinarily mature and with a deep level of engagement and believability. His highly focused performance held audience emotions as he showed the character’s complexity through well-controlled light and shade.

Excellence by a Female Actor Under 18: Tallulah Cobban
Trailer (Tantrum Youth Arts)
Tallulah Cobban consistently made outstanding use of stagecraft throughout her performance, engaging the audience as she interacted with the other characters in a story about uncertain teens. Her conviction and energy ensured that the audience journeyed with her.

Best Ensemble Acting: Noises Off
Newcastle Theatre Company
There was exceptional comic timing by all the actors who never missed a beat in Noises Off. The play is highly dependent on the collective energy and interaction of the actors, and this was delivered to the audience with precision and high engagement. With impeccable timing and brilliant pace, the physical action and reactions of the ensemble members kept the audience on the edge of their seats.

Excellence by a Director (Drama or Comedy): Cheryl Sovechles
The One Day of the Year (Newcastle Theatre Company)
This production offered an incredibly tactful and sensitive approach to some potentially controversial, yet topical, ideas and issues. Very clear decisions were made about character intentions and who should receive audience empathy, with this cleverly changing throughout. Director Cheryl Sovechles showed excellent vision, realised through the performance and production components alike. The pace and energy were consistent, bringing the audience into an era with the subtleties of the time period evident in the directing choices.

Excellence by a Director (Musical): Julie Black
Wicked (Metropolitan Players)
Director Julie Black daringly adventured to bring one of the world’s largest and most complex shows to a Newcastle stage. The overall vision for the production was original and engaging for the audience, while maintaining the integrity of the composers and writers. The fusion of lead actors, ensemble and production aspects created a superbly enjoyable and magical performance for all.

Excellence by a Musical Director or Vocal Director: Susan Hart
The Marriage of Figaro (Opera Hunter)
Susan Hart ensured that an incredibly complex musical score from Mozart was beautifully performed with precision and sustained vibrancy. The singers, with excellent support from the orchestra, wonderfully balanced the music as they made sensitive and well-blended transitions between songs and scenes.

Excellence by a Choreographer: Cadi McCarthy & Marnie Palomares
Manning the Fort (Tantrum Youth Arts and Catapult Dance)
The movement in Manning the Fort helped to significantly forward the story and create meaning for the audience. The section ‘Searchlights’ stunned the audience with a highly emotive revealing of the urgency of the women during the war to illuminate the planes in the sky. The choreography utilised the outdoor performance space cleverly and with sophistication.

Excellence in Costume Design: Bev Fewins & Steven Harrison
Wicked (Metropolitan Players)
Wicked offered a visual feast of life and colour, brilliantly interpreted and realised with excellence through a significant quantity of costumes, each with a spectacular eye for detail and bringing a range of textures and styles to the stage. The individuality of the Emerald City costumes created stunning moments for the audience, with a creative and unique design for each character on stage.

Excellence in Hair, Make-up and Wigs: George Francis
Wicked (Metropolitan Players)
The wigs in Wicked revealed aspects of the characters’ journeys, especially that of Elphaba. They helped to create the many characters and added to the show’s visual life and energy.

Excellence in Set and Props Design: Adelle Richards & David Murray
Noises Off (Newcastle Theatre Company)
Noises Off needed and had a highly functional, sophisticated and elaborate set that perfectly suited the demands of the play. The story was set both onstage and backstage in a theatre and the set took the role of a “character” within the play. The creative dressing of each side of the set’s back wall revealed a clear juxtaposition of scenic environment and dramatic intention.

Excellence in Lighting and Audio Visual Design: Lyndon Buckley
Manning the Fort (Tantrum Youth Arts and Catapult Dance)
It was an incredible undertaking to design and rig a vast array of creative and meaningful lighting states across a range of unconventional and mainly open-air spaces for Manning the Fort. The lighting added substantially to the aesthetic of the production, creating atmosphere without compromising the focus on the actors. It complemented the performance aspects with insightful depth.

Excellence in Sound Design: Huw Jones
Manning the Fort (Tantrum Youth Arts and Catapult Dance)
The narrative of Manning the Fort was substantially enhanced through the soundscape’s impeccable timing to build engagement for the audience. The sound added to the emotional aspects of the production, which brilliantly took the audience on a journey, as well as creating a dynamic mood and atmosphere.

Outstanding Achievement and Contribution to Theatre: Julie Black
The entire Theatre community of the Hunter is regularly inspired and encouraged by Julie’s courage to take productions where few dare to tread. With her 2016 production of ‘Wicked’ breaking Civic Theatre box-office records, Julie’s dream of producing theatre of the highest quality has certainly come to fruition. Julie’s contribution to the Theatre community reaches far beyond one show per year as she directs and contributes to multiple productions every year. She is a regular theatre-goer and supports a large number of companies with her personal time and finances. Of particular note is Julie’s ongoing friendship, optimistic attitude and genuine love for everyone around her. Thank you Julie for all you contribute personally and professionally to make our regions’ theatre outstanding!

Youth Ambassador appointments for the 2016/2017 CONDA season:
Male: Tom Rodgers
Female: Rebekah Abel


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