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Music Theatre
Subcategory of AWGIE Awards
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2016 winner y separately published work icon The Rabbits Lally Katz , Kate Miller-Heidke (composer), 2015 8043706 2015 single work drama opera

'John Marsden and Shaun Tan's haunting picture book tells a story we all know: a story of colonisation, civilisation and progress — a story about displacement, destruction and culture clash. And in that landscape, it tells a story of hope taking root.

'It's a story for young people, it's a story for old people, it's a story for all of us.

'Opera Australia and Barking Gecko Theatre Company have assembled some of Australia's foremost creative talents to collaborate on a new opera for children and families.

'Gabriela Tylesova's kooky sets and costumes realise Tan's pictures in all of their mystical wonder, while Lally Katz has turned Marsden's spare poetry into an enchanting libretto. To write the score, Kate Miller Heidke: the butterfly-voiced, classically-trained indie-pop singer who is as at home on the charts as she is performing at the Met. As well as composing The Rabbits, Kate will perform in this production.' (Production summary)

2015 winner Little Bird Nicki Bloom , 2014 single work musical theatre

'Do you think a boy bird can sing a girl bird’s song?

'A dark fairytale for grown-ups, a song cycle, a thrilling piece of solo performance, Little Bird is a gripping story of how people can transform many times over the course of a lifetime.

'Commissioned by State Theatre Company and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Little Bird looks at the journey of young boy, Wren, from his parents’ isolated cottage all the way to the lights of the big city. Along the way a series of startling transformations occur, blurring the lines of identity, gender and reality as Wren searches for self, for love and for a place to belong.

'Little Bird has been created especially for Australian stage legend Paul Capsis by multi-award winning playwright Nicki Bloom (Tender, Land and Sea) and features songs by Cameron Goodall (The Audreys) and Quentin Grant (When The Rain Stops Falling) who collaborated on the Adelaide Cabaret Festival hit, You Me and the Bloody Sea. The production will be set in the fading Edwardian grandeur of Her Majesty’s Theatre and promises to be a rich and powerful theatrical experience. It's sure to be one of the highlights of the 2014 Adelaide Cabaret Festival program.

'Drawing upon fable, mythology and song to create a compelling dramatic and musical journey, Little Bird will leave you transported, uplifted and with tears in your eyes.' (Production summary)

2011 winner y separately published work icon The Musical Child Cathy Strickland , Andrew Ford (composer), Grosvenor Place : Australian Music Centre , 2009 Z1820279 2009 single work musical theatre

'William Crotch (1775 -1847) was appointed the first principal of the Royal Academy of Music in 1822, resigning some ten years later amid a certain amount of scandal. He had reputedly kissed a student, following a particularly pleasing harmony exercise. But Crotch's greatest fame was far behind him. As a child prodigy, he had played at court for George III and also at the Chapel Royal, and been shown off by his ambitious mother, Isabella, in a London hat shop ... As an old man writing his memoirs, William expressed mortification at the manner in which he had been exploited. After all, at the height of his fame he had been just three and a half years old. The Musical Child tells William Crotch's story with very little fabrication, and is, you might feel, a cautionary tale...' (Composer's website)

Cathryn Stickland for the libretto.
2010 winner Rembrandt's Wife Sue Smith , Andrew Ford (composer), 2009 single work musical theatre opera

'Rembrandt's Wife is a compelling story that explores the tragic relationships of one of the world's greatest painters: the death of his beloved wife Saskia, the madness of his lover Geertje and the haunting visions of his muse to be Hendrijke. A chamber opera, this work will reflect in words and music the light and colour that are the hallmarks of Rembrandt's style.'

Source: CUB Malthouse website,
Sighted: 20/04/2009

2008 winner Everything's F**ked Sean Peter , Sean Peter (composer), 2002 single work musical theatre

'Set against the events of September 11, the imperative to succeed, alienating corporate workplaces and using a contemporary beat-driven soundtrack, 'Everything's F**ked' shows how faith, love, and resilience get us through the day and on with our lives, as the world falls down around us and everything seems to be f**ked.'

Source: Adelaide Festival Centre website, sighted 31/07/2007)

2007 winner Electric Lenin Janis Balodis , Barry Conyngham (composer), 2006 single work musical theatre

'Janis Balodis was commissioned by NORPA to write the text [for Electric Lenin] after Lyndon Terracini first heard the intriguing true story about the life of a North Coast farmer, who despite his isolation on a rural property in 1960's Australia, developed relationships across the globe via his ham radio.

'Balodis's libretto uses elements of this life - themes such as rural isolation and communication - as a springboard into a remarkable story about memory and loss...

''Electric Lenin' paints a picture of a man so consumed by ideas and passions beyond his immediate realm he fails to realise the power of the relationships he has immediately around him. Using elements of opera, movement, video projections, live and recorded sound.'

Source: NORPA website,
Sighted: 02/08/2007

2005 winner The Republic of Myopia Jonathan Biggins , Drew Forsythe , Phillip Scott , Phillip Scott (composer), 2004 single work musical theatre humour
2003 winner The Anatomy Lesson of Doctor Ruysch Hilary Bell , Phillip Johnston (composer), 1999 single work musical theatre In the late eighteenth century, the Dutch anatomist, Frederick Ruysch, donated his collection of over two thousand body parts to Peter the Great of Russia, for his museum of curiosities. Some of the items were described as 'tableaus, made from human tissue, for the purposes of moral instruction.' Ruysch's collection is still housed in St Petersburg.