21 Aug 2019

Helpmann Awards Light up Melbourne – Entertainment Industry’s Big Night


by Julius Grafton.

Melbourne turned on the excitement at the State Theatre July 15 where a full house whooped and hollered the winners at a tightly run awards presentation.

After just two hours, the show concluded with a performance by the young cast of School of Rock (yes, they were playing those instruments) and we all bussed over to the Sofitel Ballroom for some serious schmoozing.

Live Performance Australia always intended the Helpmanns would alternate between Sydney and Melbourne but somehow it never happened, and then the Victorian Government offered a three year deal. It was less about Sydney losing the awards, more about the Melbourne arts industry really wanting it at the hub of the arts in Australia.

Melbourne has six full sized theatres while Sydney has three. Both have a state managed centre – Arts Centre in Melbourne, Opera House in Sydney. Both have smaller theatres.

But Melbourne just kicks the ball harder.

A big difference this year was the Melbourne definition of Black Tie, which is ‘anything goes’. It really felt fresh, exciting and… just right. On stage audio management was this year well handled by NW Group, long serving Helpmann Lighting Designer Gavan Swift took it to a whole new level; it was BEAUTIFUL.

Dawn Martin produced, R.M. directed the tech, Gary Young directed the show, and Eamon D’Arcy did design. You can have a look at ABC iView where the show is available to see.

Industry winners included Neil Austin for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and Stefan Gregory for Counting and Cracking at Belvoir.

A complete list is at

News from August CX Magazine, p.8.

Photos by Getty Images.


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