WA’s professional performing arts sector celebrated the outstanding achievements of actors, directors, producers, theatre- and dance-makers at last night’s 2021 Performing Arts WA Awards.
The host – Artist Relief Fund WA – bestowed over 34 awards across theatre, dance, opera and musical theatre at the gala event, which was held at the State Theatre Centre of WA.
Hecate from Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company in association with Bell Shakespeare and Perth Festival led the charge, winning eight awards including Best Mainstage Production and Best New Work for Australia’s first large-scale Shakespeare production entirely in Noongar.
Hecate adapter/director Kylie Bracknell [Kaarljilba Kaardn] won Best Director of a Mainstage Production. Hecate actors Della Rae Morrison, Cezera Critti-Schnaars and Kyle J Morrison won several of the top acting trophies, including Best Newcomer for Critti-Schnaars, while Dr Clint Bracknell picked up Best Composition or Arranging and Mark Howett won Best Lighting Design.
STRUT Dance’s Hofesh in the Yard – a Perth Festival commission in association with Hofesh Shechter Company won two awards including Best Dance Production and Best Dancer (Male) for Mitch Harvey.
Candice Adea secured Best Performer (Female) for WA Ballet’s The Nutcracker; Samantha Crameri-Miller was Best Newcomer for High Expectations; and Architecture of Hope as part of Ballet at the Quarry: Light and Shadow by WA Ballet in association with Perth Festival won Best New Work.
Five new awards recognising achievements in musicals and opera were presented on the night with Così fan tutte by WA Opera winning Best Production and Oklahoma!’s Axel Duffy winning Best Newcomer and Best Performer (Male) in Black Swan State Theatre Company’s adaption of the wild west musical.
Teresa Moore took out Best Performer in an Opera or Musical and Tara Gower won for Best Movement Director, both for their work on Bran Nue Dae by WA Opera in association with Perth Festival.
Artist Relief Fund WA secretary Nick Maclaine congratulated the nominees and winners, as well as all the arts workers who entertain our state.
“Everyone has so much to be proud of,” he said. “Whether we got to make shows or not, we took care of each other, and we found new ways to provide hope and community during a dark 12 months.”
“We congratulate our worthy winners and salute the whole sector for its courage and compassion.”
Lifetime Achievement Awards, sponsored by City of Perth, were given to highly respected actor and director of Indigenous theatre and film, Lynette Narkle, and to multi-award-winning theatre director, Andrew Ross.
The City of Perth also presented a special ‘Outstanding Digital Engagement During COVID-19’ award to Propel Youth Arts WA for KickstART Virtual – a week-long online youth arts festival following the cancellation of their annual event usually held during Youth Week WA.
Additional presentations on the night included the Artist Relief Fund’s Student Endowments supported by Minderoo Foundation, which support promising second year Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) students from across six disciplines.
All winners received cash prizes on the night thanks to the generous sponsorship of Artist Management Australia, CircuitWest, City of Perth, Harlequin Floors, MEAA, Media Super, Minderoo Foundation, Moore Creative Artists and North Perth Community Bank Branch of Bendigo.