After a full day of workshops, second-time Rob Guest Endowment finalist Georgina Hopson took out the prestigious $20,000 award after competing against five other talented finalists at the Capitol Theatre, Sydney yesterday.
Announced last night at an official Grand Final Event, Hopson took out the award with her performance of ‘Glitter and Be Gay’ and ‘When Did I Fall In Love’ after being chosen by an expert panel of judges, which included Roger Hodgman, Kellie Dickerson, Sharon Millerchip, Michael Tyack, Guy Simpson and Suzanne Jones.
Runners up Jayme-Lee Hanekom, Thomas McGuane, Imogen Moore and Morgan Palmer were each awarded $1,500.
The Melbourne’s East End Theatre District Artist Development Award, an initiative of Mike Walsh and the Marriner family awarding a $5,000 cash prize to a promising young music theatre talent, went to Stefanie Caccamo while the Playbill Future Prospect Award (a $1,500 cash prize to a semi-finalist who didn’t make the finals but the judges wanted to encourage to return to the competition next year) went to Sam Ward.
The six Finalists spent the day with the judging panel and creative team in musical, dramatic and movement sessions, allowing the judges to get to know the finalists and see how they work, informing their overall decision. This is a divergence from the RGE finals of the last 8 years, which previously saw Finalists performing two songs on stage with full orchestra in a ticketed Industry Gala Concert.
Following the Presentation, a social function was held for the finalists and award winners to connect with the industry professionals in attendance, and make direct contact with people who can assist them in developing their career. This fulfils the aim of the Rob Guest Endowment to better connect young performers with industry professionals who can encourage, mentor and advise them.
This year also saw the return of two categories recognising further excellence in other fields of musical theatre. The Rob Guest Endowment Technical Award in Honour of Sue Nattrass was awarded to Natalie Carige and the Rob Guest Endowment Musician Award was won by Anthony Barnhill. Funded by the Capitol Theatre and the Sydney Lyric Theatre, both winners took home a $10,000 cash prize intended to help fund the tuition and experience needed to help them become leaders in their field.
The Rob Guest Endowment executive committee, Kellie Dickerson, Stephen Found and Bernadette Hayes, were blown away by the calibre of talent this year.