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Helpmann Awards celebrate live performance

Helpmann Awards celebrate live performance
July 28, 2009

Music industry veteran Michael Gudinski was honoured at the 2009 Helpmann Awards at the Sydney Opera House last night.

The Mushroom Records founder and Liberation/Frontier Touring Company boss was co-recipient of the J.C. Williamson Award for outstanding contribution to the live music industry. He shared the award with John Bell.

Gudinski, along with Michael Chugg, Joe Segreto and Mark Pope, also shared the award for Best Special Event for the Sound Relief benefit concert.

Among the 39 other awards celebrating the very best in live performance in Australia, winners were:

Nick Schlieper - Best Lighting Design
Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps - Best Regional Touring Production
Compagnie Philippe Genty - Best Visual or Physical Theatre Production
Big Day Out 2009 - Best Contemporary Music Festival
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu - Best Australian Contemporary Concert
The Frontier Touring Company (Leonard Cohen World Tour 2009) - Best International Contemporary Concert
Ben Winspear in Baghdad Wedding - Best Male Actor in a Play
Robyn Nevin in Women of Troy - Best Female Actor in a Play

Award Presenters included Neil Armfield, Damien Bermingham, Richard Bonynge, Joan Carden, Marta Dusseldorp, Joel Edgerton, Kate Fitzpatrick, Hale & Pace, Hi 5, Lindy Hume, Marilyn Jones, Maggie Kirkpatrick, Matt Lee, Craig McLachlan, Meow Meow, Sharon Millerchip, Rob Mills, Sarah Murdoch, Julianne Newbould, Glynn Nicholas, Bonjana Novakovic, Stephen Page, Gina Riley, Tim Rogers, Ruby Rose, Leo Schofield, Jim Sharman, Tiffany Speight, Lyndon Terracini, Liv Ulmann, Ben Winspear, and Ursula Yovich.

Also in attendance at the event were Cate Blanchett, Rafael Bonachela, Michael Chugg, Kate Fitzpatrick, Nancye Hayes, David McAllister, Todd McKenney, Robyn Nevin, Amanda Pelman, Eddie Perfect, and Pamela Rabe.

President of Live Performance Australia, Andrew Kay, said "this is the Helpmann Awards 9th year and we're delighted, for the first time, to be presenting them live from the Sydney Opera House.

"The Helpmanns ... serve as a reminder of the central place live performance takes in the lives of so many Australians, whether it be a child attending a live concert for the very first time, a young Australian attending a concert by their favourite band or comedian, or one of the millions of Australians who attend our major musicals or performances by our extraordinary performing arts companies.

"Live performance engages and entertains audiences across the breadth of Australia from the smallest rural community to the largest city. And the strength of the industry is evidenced in the extraordinary list of outstanding Helpmann nominees we honour."

The annual Helpmann Awards recognise distinguished artistic achievement and excellence in the many disciplines of Australia's vibrant live performance sectors, including musical theatre, contemporary music, comedy, opera, classical music, dance and physical theatre. The Helpmann Awards also incorporates the JC Williamson Award for outstanding contribution to the Australian live performance industry.

Named in honour of Sir Robert Helpmann and to commemorate his memory and achievements, the Awards were established in 2001 by Live Performance Australia (LPA) to recognise, celebrate and promote Australia's live performance industry, similar to the Tony Awards on Broadway and the Olivier Awards in London.

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