There’s no red carpet, no paparazzi clawing for pics, no searchlights scanning the sky. Instead, the most intensely loyal of Sydney theatre-goers express their admiration for on-stage talent at the Annual Glugs of Gosh Theatre Awards, this year’s being the biggest one yet (scroll down for a complete list of winners).
‘The Glugs’ (born out of regular meetings by Sydney theatre critics) meet for lunch every month or so, generally with a guest or two from the theatre scene. While the awards may not hold the same public recognition as a Helpmann or a Tony, the gong that is presented by the theatre-paying public leads most recipients to proclaim ‘’I always wanted a Glug!”
|Isaac Broadbent, Molly Bugeja, Noah Mullins
Over the two-hour presentation, guests and artists were also treated to an incredible display of talent, with musical numbers performed in the rawest of forms: a single baby grand piano accompaniment, a single microphone on a stand, no foldback, no auto-tune, pitch-perfect. With musical directors John Martin and Andrew Worboys at the helm, Elenoa Rokobaro performed a knock-out version of Aretha Franklin’s ‘Think’ to get the show started, before MC (and legendary actor agent) Les Solomon kept proceedings tight, as a theatre man should.
Other performers included names familiar with the stage: Liam Falkner-Dimond, Noah Mullins (both of whom also performed a clever interwoven medley piece combining Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton), Molly Bugeja, Deb Krizaka, Isaac Broadbent, Ana Maria Belo and Callan Purcell.
As always, the room was touched when recognising members of the theatre ‘family’ who made their final exeunt during the past year. Ben Gerrard read the honour roll, as Jasper Bruce, Sam Welsh and Samson Alston harmonised through Hammerstein’s When I Grow Too Old To Dream.
|Amanda Muggleton, Anna Hruby
More than ever, this was a night of memorial as well as recognition. The Most Outstanding Production for Children Award is now named for Penny Cook, and was beautifully presented to Monkey Baa for Possum Magic, by Poppy and David Lynch (Penny's daughter and husband). The Most Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role is now named in honour of Joy Hruby, won by Molly Bugeja (West Side Story) and presented by Joy’s daughter Anna.
Other awards are named as a tribute to the likes of Stuart Wagstaff, Jeffrey Joynton-Smith, Lee Young (though still very much alive), John West, Leslie Walford, Hayes Gordon, Colleen Clifford, Norman Kessell, Taffy Davies, Micki and Robert Davis, and the Award for an Actor 25 years or younger has, from this year, been named in honour of Matthew Leonard. Matthew, a graduate of WAAPA, was killed in a plane crash over the Kokoda Track in 2009. He was 28 years old. Presented by his best mate James Millar, this inaugural award was a tied result, with Isaac Broadbent (Relative Merits) and Noah Mullins (West Side Story) both taking home the glassware.
But the assault felt by those in the arts by government did not go unmentioned. Important Contribution for Theatre was won by independent outfit Red Line Productions, giving Andrew Henry a platform to vent on the vanishing of the federal arts portfolio (now shoehorned with roads and infrastructure), as well as frustration at the industry demarcation between Main Stage productions and the ‘others’. “It’s all MAIN STAGE!” he lamented.
Producer Christine Dunstan, in presenting the Hayes Gordon Award to Red Line, praised the GLUGS themselves for ensuring the rich and colourful history of Australian theatre is never forgotten. The lack of recognition of the arts by government was also raised by Amanda Muggleton, presenting the awards for Most Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor, and Female Actor in a Leading Role (won by Jonathan Biggins and Sheridan Harbridge).
|Elenoa Rokobaro, Nancye Hayes AM
Each year at the awards, a presentation is made for Lifetime Achievement, this time bestowed upon Nancye Hayes. By way of introduction, Tony Sheldon remarked that even though she had undertaken almost every type of performance in her career, he felt this should be thought of more as an ‘Encouragement Award’ ensuring that “the best is yet to come.”
In common parlance, The GLUGS awards would be considered ‘grass roots.’ Without pretence, giant video presentations or table service (but you can help yourself to sandwiches in the next room), those treading the boards can be assured that their GLUG is presented with love, warmth and appreciation by those who matter the most: The Audience.
2020 GLUG AWARD WINNERS
The Jeffrey Joynton Smith Memorial Award for the Most Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play .
Samuel Welsh - Relative Merits
The Jeffrey Joynton Smith Memorial Award for the Most Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play .
Contessa Treffone - Anatomy of a Suicide. Red Line Productions
Award for Original Choreography or Movement in a Production.
Catch Me If You Can - Cameron Mitchell (Hayes Theatre)
The Lee Young Award for the Most Outstanding Cabaret Performance
Margi de Ferranti - Claire's Kitchen Cabaret
Penny Cook Award for Most Outstanding Production for Children.
Possum Magic – Monkey Baa.
The John West Memorial Award for the Most Outstanding New Australian Performed Work.
Prima Facie (Griffin Theatre Company).
Award for the Most Outstanding Independent Musical production
Catch Me if You Can (Hayes Theatre).
The Leslie Walford Memorial Award for Most Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical.
Thomas Campbell – HMS Pinafore (Hayes Theatre)
The Joy Hruby Memorial Award for most Outstanding Performance by a Female actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical
Molly Bugeja - West Side Story (Opera Australia)
Award for Most Outstanding Performance or Performances by a Newcomer.
Callan Purcell - Hair/Jasper Jones
The Hayes Gordon Memorial Award for Important Contribution to Theatre
Red Line Productions.
The Colleen Clifford Memorial Award for Most Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Tim Draxl - Catch Me if You Can (Darlinghurst Theatre Company)
The Colleen Clifford Memorial Award for Most Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Elenoa Rokobaro - Caroline or Change.
The Stuart Wagstaff A.M. Memorial Award for Most Outstanding Direction.
Mitchell Butel – Caroline or Change.
The Norman Kessell Memorial Award for the Most Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading role in a Play.
Jonathan Biggins - Krapp’s Last Tape (Old Fitz /Red Line Productions)
The Norman Kessell Memorial Award for the Most Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading role in a Play.
Sheridan Harbridge - Prima Facie (Griffin Theatre Company)
The Taffy Davies Memorial Award For Most Outstanding Independent Production
Jasper Jones (Bondi Pavilion Theatre - Lambert House)
The Micki and Robert Davis Memorial Award for Most Outstanding Main Stage Production
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Sydney Theatre Company)
The Matthew Leonard Award for a Young Actor (25 years or Younger) impacting a Theatrical Role.
Isaac Broadbent - Relative Merits (Bondi Pavilion Theatre/Lambert House Productions)
Noah Mullins - West Side Story (Opera Australia)
Award for Most Outstanding Main Stage Musical Production
Once (Darlinghurst Theatre Company)
The Seaborn Broughton & Walford Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Nancye Hayes AM