32nd “Canberra CityNews” Artist of the Year
Nigel Featherstone (photo credit: Holly Treadaway)
Helen Tsongas Award
for Excellence in Acting
Karen Vickery (photo credit: Jane Duong)
A graduate in acting and a long-time staff member at the National Institute of Dramatic Art with a degree from the University of Melbourne behind her, Vickery has made herself well-known in the Canberra acting scene since coming to Canberra in 2011 to join the National Portrait Gallery as director of access and learning.
She would have been 43 in November this year.
The Helen Tsongas award takes the form of a cheque to the value of $1000 and a certificate going to the best Canberra actor of the year, with no restrictions on age or gender, as judged by the theatre panel of the Canberra Critics Circle and will continue over the coming years.
Frank McKone, Helen Musa, Rob Kennedy, Meredith Hinchliffe,
Tony Magee, Alanna Maclean, Joe Woodward, Kerry-Anne
Cris Kennedy, Michelle Potter, Simone Penkethman, Bill
Brian Rope, Len Power, Graham McDonald, Peter Wilkins,
Dante Costa, Barrina South, Ian McLean, Con Boekel,
Jane Freebury, Samara Purnell, Arne Sjostedt
For “Uncalibrated Space, post-digital and networked
photographic art”. Deep learning carves facets into images. Mesmerising,
dreamlike. The underlying machinations of algorithms are investigated. Seeking
what is real and exploring how we know that.
Tuggeranong Arts Centre in November/December 2021.
For “Voices and Veterans”.
Each Veteran living with PTSD has a story, visually told, expressed,
felt and heard through a challenging creative process using molasses as a metaphor
to reveal both darkness and light. The
National Press Club in May/June 2022.
Judith Nangala Crispin
For “Nox”. Paying
respect to our non-human brothers and sisters by creating a lyric poem of
mourning using her own alternative process to make extraordinarily beautiful
artistic images of roadkill. A record of things passing by night. Grainger
Gallery in January/February 2022.
For “Quietly Spoken”, in which the artist displayed a
notable development and assurance in her conceptual ideas as well as skill and
innovation in glass making techniques that resulted in an impressive and
emotive exhibition based on the artist’s perception of memory and loss. Canberra Glassworks in August.
For “Unpredictable: an exploration of Soda Vapour Glazing
2004-2022”, where the artist displayed the results of a single minded
dedication to the study of form and practice.
The resulting works are beautiful and honest pots that have developed
from a long tradition but whose forms and surfaces reflect the innovation and
skill of a true, dedicated artist. Canberra Potters, Watson Arts Centre in
Valerie Kirk and Harriet Schwarzrock
For the exhibition Artist-in-Residence at CraftACT. This body of work was the result of a 2021
artists’ residency at Namadgi National Park in August and demonstrated the passionate and thoughtful
response both artists had to their environment not only allowing us to see the
preliminary studies they made but also the completed works that reflected their
For her survey exhibition “1970-2022” at the Woolshed at
Strathnairn, which traced her work from student days to her most recent
work. Her work reflects the vistas and
landscapes she lives in, travels in and travels through. Family is just as important to this artist,
who settled the area some generations ago.
For its initiative in bringing together dance filmmakers
from the ACT and South Australia in October 2021 and September 2022 in
“Dance.Focus”, where nine short films were commissioned and shown, thus
widening knowledge and understanding of Canberra’s dance culture beyond the
For an exceptional full-length solo performance, “December”,
choreographed using a variety of physical genres combined with a strong visual
arts component and an underlying focus on issues concerning the disastrous
bushfires that ravaged parts of Australia in December 2019.
Australian Dance Party
For its adventurous site-specific work “Less”, that explored
a Canberra sculpture and its surrounding watery setting through innovative
dance, and exceptional lighting and sound design, to give the audience a highly
For his charismatic, athletic performance in his
self-choreographed work “Similar, Same but Different”, based on a piece
choreographed by Ruth Osborne for Riley’s brother, performed against a film of
this work performed by his brother, with a calm assurance that was as
captivating as it was moving.
For stirring up a storm as the onstage fiddler in “Girl from
the North Country”, for consistent excellence over a wide range of styles from
Romanian street music to classical performance as part of Canberra Strings, the
Phoenix Collective and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra.
For his concert to welcome Afghanistan evacuees to Canberra;
an often sad, often funny, always poignant evening of fine entertainment which
traced Australia’s 10 year deployment culminating in the chilling scenes of the
2021 airport evacuation.
Luminescence Chamber Singers
For “Ave Regina//God, be with the Mother”, a well-conceived
and performed concert where the singers were joined by jazz guitarist, Jess
Green, to explore the long tradition of devotional music for Mary and the many
meanings of motherhood.
For his invigorating world premiere performance of Dulcie
Holland’s “Piano Concertino” with Canberra Sinfonia.
Rachel McNally and Michael Dooley
For their concert “In2deep” which featured jazz playing and
singing of the highest calibre.
Canberra Symphony Orchestra
For their initiative, research and choice of composers and
performers in devising and presenting a captivating and collaborative program
of contemporary Australian music through the “Australian Series”.
For his realistic, humorous and scene stealing portrayal of
Alexander Downer in the Queanbeyan Players production of “Keating”.
Echo Theatre Company
For a high quality production of “Ruthless” where superb
acting, singing, directing, musicianship, staging and costuming produced a
hilarious, over the top and most entertaining spoof.
For a beautifully sung and emotionally sensitive portrayal
of Eliza Doolittle as she transcended from flower girl to belle of the ball in
the Free Rain Theatre production of “My Fair Lady”.
For her highly inventive production of “Urinetown” which she
directed for Heartstrings Theatre Company.
Rachel Reid (Jazida)
For her extraordinary performance in “Exotica Hypnotica” in
which she showcased her remarkable range of professional level skills.
For “My Heart is a Little Wild Thing”, (Ultimo Press, May
2022) a beautifully told story, set in the magically-realised Monaro region, of
love, duty and personal restoration.
For “Words for Lucy”, (Thames & Hudson March, 2022) a
profoundly moving memoir celebrating the life of the writer’s late daughter, in
which she weaves together everyday details and treasured events.
For “This Is Not A Book About Benedict Cumberbatch”
(HarperCollins AU, March 2022), a book about what happens to women's passions
after they leave adolescence, where the author depicts herself unexpectedly
falling for the British actor Benedict Cumberbatch while stuck at home with two
Sarah St Vincent Welch
For “chalk borders” (Flying Islands Pocketbooks, December
2021) where she transformed her ephemeral chalk-poems, enjoyed by hundreds on
the footpaths at art festivals Contour 556 and Noted, into beautiful permanent
meditations on art and life.
Kimberly K. Williams
For “Still Lives”, (Gazebo Books, September 2022) poems
written about departing a place and then living in a very new one, Canberra,
and forging a relationship with it. For stepping in to manage Poetry at Manning
Clark House; she is a driving force behind Canberra’s poetry scene.
Shannon Wilson-McClinton – Producer
For constructing a narratively-strong, youth-oriented film,
“6 Festivals”, supported by impressive performances, created and shot in our
region under the challenging conditions of COVID lockdowns.
For her cleverly nuanced performance as Eliza Doolittle in
Tempo Theatre’s production of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”.
For his accomplished direction of Everyman Theatre’s
production of a confronting but very funny play, “Hand To God”.
For using her unique skills to give a sensitive and incisive
performance of a woman suffering dementia in “Demented” by Ruth Pieloor.
For a superb trio of vignettes in Lakespeare’s “As You Like
It”, in which he brought comedy, pathos and wild eccentricity to his roles.
Christopher Samuel Carroll
For his performance as Meursault, the emotionally detached
antihero in “The Stranger” for Bare Witness Company, which he adapted from the
novel by Albert Camus. This was a
powerful and hypnotic theatrical experience.
For her ferociously real performance as Martha in Edward
Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” by Free Rain Theatre at the ACT Hub.
Dylan Van Den Berg
For his script “Whitefella Yella Tree” which explored the
effects of colonisation on two young indigenous boys in a love story.
For her direction of Gordon Graham’s “The Boys” for Alchemy
Artistic, a strong, unnerving and impactful ensemble performance.