SINGAPORE, 20 April 2015 - For the first time in 15 years, two theatre productions share the highest honours at the 15th M1-The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards.
Art by Nine Years Theatre, a Mandarin adaptation of a French comedy, and Wild Rice's Monkey Goes West, a rollicking musical following the exploits of the Monkey King, were crowned joint winners of the coveted Production of the Year award, given out this afternoon at the Esplanade Recital Studio.
Art earned Nine Years Theatre two other major accolades - Best Director and Best Actor nods for its founder, Nelson Chia, and actor Peter Sau, respectively.
This is Chia's second consecutive win for his directorial efforts. Wild Rice emerged well decorated too, with Monkey Goes West scoring the Best Costume Design award and earning the lion's share of public votes to clinch Production of the Year (Readers' Choice).
This is a separate award from Production of the Year, which is selected by a panel of judges. Jo Kukathas also won Best Supporting Actress for her role as a feisty house servant in the Wild Rice production, The House Of Bernarda Alba.
The lush visual spectacle that was Ten Thousand Tigers, artist Ho Tzu Nyen's lyrical take on the history and myth of the Malayan tiger, walked away with the Best Set and Lighting Design awards.
A new award celebrating excellence in theatre productions for children aged 12 years and below - Best Production for the Young - will be given out at the Life! Theatre Awards for the next three years, starting 2016.
This was announced by the Chairman of the National Arts Council, Professor Chan Heng Chee, who was Guest-of-Honour at the awards ceremony.
This inaugural award category will be administered by The Straits Times and supported by the National Arts Council to bring attention to the children's theatre scene in Singapore, and to give recognition to the outstanding professionals in this field.
For the first three editions, a dedicated panel of judges will be convened to judge this award, comprising theatre educators as well as journalists who are also parents.
This year's awards were judged by a six-member panel comprising LASALLE College of the Arts provost Venka Purushothaman, online arts journal The Flying Inkpot co-editors Kenneth Kwok and Matthew Lyon, as well as arts reviewers from The Business Times, Lianhe Zaobao and The Straits Times, Helmi Yusof, Tang Hwa Kwee and Corrie Tan.
See the full list of winners in the attachment below.
Full list of winners for the 15th M1-The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards 2015
Production Of The Year (tied first place)
Art by Nine Years Theatre
Monkey Goes West by Wild Rice
Nelson Chia for Art
Best Original Script
Fluid by Liu Xiaoyi
Peter Sau in Art
Mina Kaye in The Rise & Fall Of Little Voice
Dark Room x8 (created by Edith Podesta)
Best Supporting Actor
Remesh Panicker in The Merchant Of Venice
Best Supporting Actress
Jo Kukathas in The House Of Bernarda Alba
Best Set Design
Ho Tzu Nyen, Andy Lim and Jed Lim for Ten Thousand Tigers
Best Lighting Design
Andy Lim for Ten Thousand Tigers
Best Sound Design or Original Score
Bani Haykal for Gitanjali
Best Costume Design
Tube Gallery by Phisit & Saxit for Monkey Goes West