LIVE: TV theme for theatre awards

A HIT song in a musical once declared that “the stage is a world of entertainment”. And that will certainly be the case at this year’s City of Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDA).

The musical numbers in the show will look at the relationship between the stage and television. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the start of telecasts by Newcastle’s NBN, which was the first regional station to begin operations in NSW. So the audience at the awards night at the Civic Theatre on Friday, December 7, will get to see well-known television theme songs given big, bright and colourful stage performances.

The members of The Addams Family will come very much to life in the performances of well-known musical theatre actors as they sing the show’s title song.

The characters from Happy Days will also be larger than life in a spectacular number featuring 18 performers, including CONDA nominees Danny Folpp, Andrew Holmes and Luke Jarvis.

And a tribute to NBN’s A Touch of Tartan, a show built around Scottish music, will feature a piper, highland dancers, a choral group and ballet, with two songs from Brigadoon, a musical set in Scotland’s highlands.

There will also be a Celtic flavour to an act performed by a Circus Avalon member as he twirls and tosses diabolo cups on a string with Irish music playing in the background.  Two female circus members will climb black cloth tissues hanging from above the stage to do breathtaking acrobatics.

The CONDA Show Band, conducted by musical director David Fitzgerald, will play a medley of television theme songs in foot-tapping style.

This year’s CONDA hosts will be Lauren O’Brien, in her stage persona as the glitteringly elegant Denise Gold, and Ultra Swing Lounge singer Daniel Stoddart. They will get the night going with a lively duet.

The presenters will include Kim Hornby, who will also be singing.

The CONDA Awards show is open to the public. Awards will be presented in 22 professional, non-professional and open categories. Sixty-six shows staged in the 12 months to October 31 were eligible for consideration, and 42 works have won nominations, with 19 companies represented.

Five shows are in line for the best professional production award: Breathing Corpses (Stooged Theatre), The Pillowman (Stooged Theatre), The Return (Stooged Theatre), Sense and Sensibility: a play (Blank Page Theatre), and The Vagina Monologues (The Popular Theatre Company).

Vying for best non-professional dramatic production are: Creche and Burn (Theatre on Brunker and Blank Page Theatre), Twelfth Night (Young People’s Theatre), The Twits (Hunter Region Drama School), and The Women of Lockerbie (Newcastle Theatre Company).

The best non-professional musical production contenders are: Into the Woods (Pantseat Productions), Oliver! (Metropolitan Players), and Spring Awakening (Hunter Region Drama School).

The program will include the presentation of the Newcastle Youth Theatre Development Grants, which are sponsored by Newcastle groups and individuals and are aimed at assisting young people in improving and expanding their theatre skills.

The recipients, aged nine to 20, are: Paige Carr (DAPA Theatre), Maike Strichow (Hunter Region Drama School), Thomas Hamilton (Pantseat Productions), Jemima Webber (Tantrum Theatre), and Annabel Fleming (Young People’s Theatre)

The show will climax with the announcement of the Newcastle City Council Award for Outstanding Achievement in Newcastle Theatre in 2012. There are no nominations for this award. It will be given to the person or group that the judges believe has made the most significant contribution to Newcastle theatre in the year.

The awards have been dedicated to the memory of long-serving members and supporters of the Newcastle theatre community who died in the past year: 

Carol Bannister, Glen Barker, Ray Bell, Aileen Chapman, John Gilmore, Tony Peate and Marjorie Probyn-Lee.

The name of the people’s choice winner will also be announced. Theatregoers voted for their favourite production in the 12 months covered by the awards through the use of entry forms in the Newcastle Herald. 

The CONDA Awards will be presented at the Civic Theatre on Friday, December 7, at 7.30pm. Tickets are $16, with a $14 price for groups of 10 or more. Book at Civic Ticketek, 49291977 or

NOMINATED: Catherine Cook and Ella Burchmore in Young People Theatre’s Twelfth Night, up for best non-professional production.

NOMINATED: Catherine Cook and Ella Burchmore in Young People Theatre’s Twelfth Night, up for best non-professional production.