The annual ANU Theatre Awards took place the night of Friday 18th; hosted at Psychedeli and boasting the suitably dramatic theme of ‘Venetian Carnivale’. The awards celebrated the efforts of all student theatre societies in 2019 – from the traditional Japanese theatre group ‘Za Kabuki’ to comedy focused revues.
While the awards themselves were focused on highlighting the achievements of students, issues still emerged within the nomination process.
Notably, the nomination for ‘best original work’ — awarded to Arts Revue’s ‘Cooked’ — received backlash from the theatre community. The skit critiqued Australia’s colonial history and Australian’s apathy towards the accompanying atrocities. However, the performance was criticised for its lack of nuance, the perfunctory portrayal of genocide, and the absence of indigenous students in its creation.
The award’s judges responded to the criticisms, stating:
“Due to our privileged experiences as non-indigenous people, we did not see that it was hurtful. We are genuinely sorry that what we thought was a clever skit was offensive, and we are especially sorry that we didn’t recognise it for what it was.”
The critics praised this response, and the night itself went on without a hitch. Below is an account of the awards and winner.
Lauren Crouch — ‘Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical’
Callum Bryan — ‘Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical’
Woody Coombs and Alana Grimely — ‘Actor in a Leading Role in a Play’ Amy McDonald for ‘Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play’
Lewis Laverty Wilson — ‘Standout Performance by an Individual in a Revue’
Much Ado About Nothing – ‘Best Ensemble in a Play/Musical’
Law Revue — ‘Best Ensemble in a Revue’
Sumer Kelly-Stout and Louis Festa — ‘Award for Technical Excellence’
Isabelle Yates — ‘Best Set Design’
Kate McDonald and Claire Noack — ‘Best Costume Design’
The Arts Revue Band — ‘Best Band’
Sarah Whiting — ‘Best Choreography’ for Law Revue
Arts Revue’s — ‘Best Musical Number’ with ‘Labour Relations in the Arctic Circle’
Women’s Revue — ‘Magic Moment’ with ‘The Tram (sorry, lightrail)’
Law Revue — ‘Best Original Work’ with ‘Mannix’s Fear’
Stephen Still — ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Arts at ANU’ — who although not a student has worked closely with Law Revue for many years.
The biggest awards of the night went to ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead’ for ‘Production Excellence,’ and Much Ado About Nothing for ‘Show of the Year’ and ‘Best Direction’.