Hills theatre company honoured with awards

THE Hills theatre company Sport for Jove was recognised with three awards at last night’s Sydney Theatre Awards.

Their new adaptation of the French masterpiece, Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac won best independent production.

The production also garnered best director of an independent production (Damien Ryan of Cherrybrook) and best actor in a leading role in an independent production (Yalin Ozucelik).

Cyrano de Bergerac was launched in The Hills on December 7, 2013, as part of an outdoor festival season at Bella Vista Farm.

It was the first non-Shakespearean production to be staged by Sport for Jove since Damien Ryan founded the company in 2009.

Also last night, Golden Globe winner Cate Blanchett was nominated for best lead actress in a mainstream production for her role in Sydney Theatre Company’s The Maids, but lost to fellow STC performer Harriet Dyer, for her breakthrough role in Machinal.

Blanchett’s Maids co-star Elizabeth Debicki won best newcomer at the awards, which are presented by the city’s leading theatre critics every year.

In the best lead actor category, big names Richard Roxburgh and Hugo Weaving were overlooked for their work in STC’s Waiting For Godot.

Peter Kowitz took the title for his ‘‘thrilling and wrenching’’ performance as a World War II veteran in Griffin Theatre’s revival of John Romeril’s The Floating World.

That play also won best direction (Sam Strong). Romeril was awarded the lifetime achievement award.

Godot won best mainstream production and Luke Mullins, in the role of Lucky, picked up the best supporting actor gong.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels won awards for best production of a musical, the Judith Johnson Award for best performance by an actor in a musical (Matt Hetherington) and the Judith Johnson Award for best performance by an actress in a musical (Katrina Retallick).

Best new Australian work was won by The Secret River, Andrew Bovell’s adaptation of Kate Grenville’s novel.

A special award was presented to the creators of STC’s annual Wharf Revue, Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott, for ‘‘services to laughter, satire and sanity, above and beyond the call of duty’’.

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