It is the night of nights for Queensland’s theatre world, with this year’s winners of the Matilda Awards coming from all over Queensland.

The awards were handed out Monday at a memorable evening at Brisbane Powerhouse. It was a high-energy performance and fun event led by local theatre darling MCs Tom Oliver and Angelique Cassimatis.

This was the 36th annual Matilda Awards. The shortlist of nominees contested 20 categories which recognised the work of Queensland theatre makers from emerging to established artists, mainstage and independent productions, to new Australian work and expertise in design.

This year’s winners reflect a strong diversity of performers. Regional companies account for nine of the awards, revealing the depth of theatre activity outside Brisbane.

Mackay-based Crossroad Arts production Breathe In, a ground-breaking piece about the experience of living with alternative communication needs, won three awards: The Lord Mayor’s Award for Best New Australian Work; the Judges’ Award – awarded at the discretion of the judges for an outstanding theatrical endeavour that pushes artistic and other boundaries; and Best Video Design.

The Farm, a movement-based company from the Gold Coast, also won three awards for its insightful and inventive work Stunt Double, about the film industry’s treatment of its hardest workers; while Ipswich-based THAT Production Company won two awards for the sensitively directed play Every Brilliant Thing, staged at Metro Arts and featuring actor Jason Klarwein.

Other highlights include Drizzle Boy (Queensland Theatre), a play exploring the lived experience of autism, which won Best Mainstage Production as well as Best Direction for Daniel Evans.

Chenoa Deemal won Best Performance in a Leading Role Mainstage Production for the powerfully moving First Nations play Is That You, Ruthie?; while Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall’s joyful BANANALAND won Best Musical and Best Composition/Sound Design.

Other winners include Costume Designers Delvene Cockatoo-Collins and Peter Keavy for Capricorn at La Boite Theatre; Lighting Designer Ben Hughes for Brisbane Festival’s Salamander; Best Supporting Performances from Ngọc Phan (Mainstage) in Vietgone for Queensland Theatre and Cameron Hurry (Independent) in Grand Horizons at PIP Theatre.

The Bille Brown Emerging Artist Award went to Outstanding Video Designer Nevin Howell.

The Gold Matilda Award was presented to Suellen Maunder, founding director of JUTE, Cairns, for services to regional theatre in Queensland over more than 30 years.

State Arts Minister Leeanne Enoch says the Matilda Awards celebrate the unique and diverse stories and talented storytellers of Queensland’s dynamic theatre sector:

“Last year was an extraordinary 12 months for the state’s performing arts sector, with engaging local stories and high-quality productions shared on Queensland stages. I congratulate the nominees and winners of the 2023 Matilda Awards, and I am proud that Queensland Government investment, through Arts Queensland, has supported the majority of the arts companies and artists celebrated tonight.”

Lead judge of the Matilda Awards, theatre veteran Sue Rider, says it is rewarding to give recognition to theatre makers within Queensland, especially with the quality of work coming from the independently produced and new writing space.

“Every year it gets more and more difficult to narrow down the winners,” Rider says. “There were astonishing performances and productions across the past year, and we were thrilled to announce winners from across the state. Live theatre can be a tough life. The Matilda Awards is a chance to step back and celebrate. Huge congratulations to every nominee and winner.”

For the full list of nominees and winners go to:

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