Whiff of success for Baulkham Hills director's Cyrano

THE Hills theatre company Sport for Jove picked up three awards at the Sydney Theatre Awards last week.

Its new adaptation of Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac won best independent production, best actor in a leading role in an independent production (Yalin Ozucelik) and best director of an independent production, which went to the company's founder Damien Ryan, of Baulkham Hills.

"Kate Gaul, Ian Sinclair, Helen Tonkin (the other best director nominees), they're just such great artists I've respected for decades and it's great to be in their company," Mr Ryan said.

Cyrano de Bergerac was launched in 2013 as part of the Sydney Hills Shakespeare in the Park outdoor festival and was the first non-Shakespearean production to be staged by Sport for Jove since the company was founded in 2009.

"I started this company to bring theatre to this area, so I was just so proud this show was seen in The Hills," he said.

"We played at 95 per cent capacity this season, which is just fantastic."

The production, which was written by Mr Ryan, was also nominated for best supporting actress in a supporting role in an independent production (Lizzie Schebesta) and best costume design in an independent production (Anna Gardiner).

"It's just wonderful to see so many people coming to out see plays in The Hills," Mr Ryan said.

He said it showed theatre didn't need to be taken to the city.

"Why can't culture be in these areas? Shakespeare himself performed plays way outside London," he said.

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.

Maids co-star Elizabeth Debicki won best newcomer.

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