Brisbane theatre's night of nights has celebrated its silver anniversary in a glittering ceremony. Red Dog and Underbelly: Razor star and former Matilda recipient John Batchelor announced the five arts practitioners deemed the "best of the best", alongside 10 category Commendation winners.
Actors Melanie Zanetti and Steven Rooke, artistic director of independent troupe Mixed Company, Simone de Haas, designer Josh McIntosh and playwright Marcel Dorney received one-of-a-kind handmade trophies in honour of their outstanding achievements in 2011.
In recognition of the awards' 25th year, the committee also inducted 13 inaugural Hall of Fame members who had been recipients of three or more major Matilda Awards over the past quarter-century.
One such honouree, Hayden Spencer, hosted the evening in a comic double act with his off-stage partner, Carita Farrer. Providing further entertainment, actor-singer Emma Dean reprised her nominated role with a show-stopping performance of Cabaret, while So You Think You Can Dance star Jesse Martin led students from the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts in raising the curtain with a premiere dance piece.
Theatre critics Sue Gough and Alison Cotes instigated the Matilda Awards in 1988 to recognise the excellence of professional Brisbane theatrical artists working in local productions. The current voting committee includes reviewers from The Australian, The Courier-Mail and Time Off, and tertiary, publishing and publicity arts exponents.
Full list of Matilda Award winners
:: 2011 MATILDA AWARD WINNERS ::
Simone de Haas for her artistic direction of Mixed Company and directing, designing and acting in it's body of work
Steven Rooke for his body of performance work in 2011 including Julius Caesar, No Man's Land and The Removalists
Josh McIntosh for his set and costume designs for Harvest Rain Theatre Company and body of work
Marcel Dorney for his script Fractions
Melanie Zanetti for her performance in Pygmalion
:: 2011 MATILDA AWARD COMMENDATIONS ::
Best New Australian Work Fractions by Marcel Dorney Queensland Theatre Company and HotHouse Theatre
Best Independent Production Animal Farm by shake & stir theatre co
Amadeus by 4MBS Festival of Classics
Best Mainstage Production Pygmalion by Queensland Theatre Company
Best Director Michael Futcher for Animal Farm, shake & stir theatre co
Michael Gow for No Man's Land, Queensland Theatre Company
Best Male Actor in a Leading Role Paul Bishop in Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness
Best Female Actor in a Leading Role Melanie Zanetti in Pygmalion
Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role Steven Rooke in No Man's Land
Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role Carol Burns in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Best Design Renee Mulder for set design, Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness
Best Emerging Artist Anna McGahan for Julius Caesar
Best Musical Cabaret by Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre