The nominations for the Helpmann Awards, our national awards for the performing arts (yes, I know it's problematic), were announced earlier this week. I read them with lively interest: I was part of this year's theatre panel, and the secret ballot meant that I had as little idea as anyone what the results would be. And they're quite interesting.
In the theatre category, Benedict Andrews' brilliant production of War of the Roses for the STC Actors Company is the dominant note, with a swag of 10 nominations in practically every category. And it's good to see that Food Court by Geelong company Back to Back, which was probably my highlight of last year's Melbourne Festival, has gained some well-deserved notice, with three nominations in the Industry category. Barrie Kosky's production of The Women of Troy, an STC production seen here at the Malthouse, also won three nominations in the theatre category. And - to my surprise and delight - so did Peter Evans's production of David Harrower's Blackbird for the MTC. I'm pleased to see this subtle, modest and passionate production, low on spectacle but high on sheer class, put next to the more obviously significant works.
The full list of nominations can be trawled here. The winners will be announced in Sydney on July 27.