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Stage set for awards
The entire Driving Into Walls cast received nods for Best Newcomer.

The late lamented Deckchair Theatre Company has had six nominations in the WA theatre industry awards, the Equity Guild Awards, to be held next month.

Former Deckchair artistic director Chris Bendall received a nod as best director for the revival of Ingle Knight’s America’s Cup play, Taking Liberty, which also picked up a nomination as best production.

The nominees are dominated by the Black Swan Theatre Company, whose good form in two plays in particular has been acknowledged with 16 mentions across most categories, including best production and best director (Adam Mitchell) for When the Rain Stops Falling.

The Andrew Bovell play received six nominations while the Barking Gecko Theatre Company’s world-premiere production of Suzie Miller’s Driving into Walls had eight.

In an exceptional set of circumstances, five of the nominations for Driving Into Walls were in the Best Newcomer category for the entire five-member cast of Rikki Bremner, Harrison Elliott, Thalia Livingstone, Michael Smith and Matthew Tupper.

Splitting them was Joshua Brennan, one of five nominations for Tender Napalm, and seven overall for the Perth Theatre Company, including Best Production for Tender Napalm and Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer, and two Best Director nominations for PTC artistic director, Melissa Cantwell (Tender Napalm, Blackbird).

“What a way to end the year,” said the Barking Gecko artistic director, who also received a Best Director nomination.

“I am incredibly proud of our West Australian artists and thrilled they have received acknowledgment from the State’s Equity Guild.

“Let’s hope the right name is on the right envelope on the night,” he said, in reference to the shemozzle at the Helpmann Awards in August when Driving into Walls was mistakenly announced as a winner, an embarrassing error not corrected until the next day.

Black Swan’s production of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia received four nominations, as did John Logan’s Red, directed by nominee Lawrie Cullen-Tait for Sally Burton’s Onward Productions.

The Best Actor nominees are Joshua Brennan (Tender Napalm), James Hagan (Red), Luke Hewitt (Red Silk), David Meadows (The Merchant of Venice), Scott Sheridan (Arcadia) and Steve Turner (When the Rain Stops Falling).

Ella Hetherington (The Red Tree), Anna Houston (Tender Napalm), Rhoda Lopez (Lorelei), Julia Moody (When the Rain Stops Falling), Whitney Richards (Arcadia), and Alison van Reeken (When the Rain Stops Falling) are contesting the Best Actress prize.

Best New Play contenders are I (Honestly) Love You by Damon Lockwood, Red Silk by Lois Achimovich, Skin by Humphrey Bower, The Damned by Reg Cribb, The Yellow Wallpaper by Teresa Izzard and Silvia Lehmann, and They Ran ’Til They Stopped by The Duck House.

The Equity Guild Awards will be held in the De Parel Spiegeltent on January 23.