And the CONDA goes to …FIFTEEN shows and 13 groups shared the 22 category wins in the 2017 CONDA Awards, led by St Philip’s Christian College staging of Mary Poppins with five trophies: Musical Production, Ensemble Acting, Director (Musical) – Robert Stuart, Choreographer – Eva-Marie Irwin and Natalie Baker, and Lighting and Audio Visual Design – Lyndon Buckley.

Newcastle Theatre Company’s Picnic won for Dramatic Production and Female Actor Supporting Role – Alison Cox, with its other wins for New Play or Musical Written for a Newcastle Company – Festive Spirit, by Sally Davies, and Female Actor Leading Role Drama or Comedy – Katy Carruthers, Inherit the Wind.

Pantseat Performing Arts’ Rent collected trophies for Male and Female Actors in a Musical – Liam Bird and Konstanze Koedam, and Maitland Repertory Theatre’s The Diary of Anne Frank was also a double winner: Director (Drama or Comedy) – Guil Noronha and Lesley Coombes, and Set and Props Design – Guil Noronha.

Greg Paterson won trophies for Musical Director or Vocal Director, Les Miserables (Metropolitan Players) and Outstanding Contribution and Achievement in Newcastle Theatre, while Georgia Vaughan and Hamish Pickering were named as the 2018 CONDA Youth Ambassadors.

Other awards were: Special Theatrical Event – Micro Theatre Festival 2017, Male Actor Leading Role Drama or Comedy – Mathew Lee, Grace (Knock and Run Theatre), Male Actor Supporting Role – Tristan Entwhistle, Don Giovanni (Opera Hunter), Male Actor Under 18 – Declan Dowling, Catch Me If You Can (Hunter School of the Performing Arts), Female Actor Under 18 – Alexandra Jensen, The Crucible (Lindsay Street Players), Costume Design – Melanie Hunt, Seussical KIDS (Hunter Drama), Hair, Make-up and Wigs: Claire Thomas, Cats: Abridged (Young People’s Theatre), Sound Design: Huw Jones, Home (Tantrum Youth Arts).