The winner of the 2014 Rob Guest Endowment Award was announced tonight at a glamourous Gala Concert at the Capitol Theatre, Sydney. Competing against five other outstanding Semi-Finalists with his performance of Soliloquy from Carousel and Let Me Dream, Joshua Robson took out the prestigious award after being chosen by an expert panel of judges, which included Nancye Hayes, Todd McKenney and Guy Simpson.
Presented by ANZ and hosted by Bert Newton with Lucy Durack, the glamourous event, which is now is its 6th year, featured performances by 2013 winner Samantha Leigh Dodemaide, Kirby Burgess, Bobby Fox, The Tap Pack, Swing On This, Eddie Muliaumaseali’l, Oscar and Joshua Han, and cast members from Wicked and Strictly Ballroom the Musical.
Joshua Robson took home $20,000 as the prize, and the runners up were each awarded $1,500. The inaugural East End Theatre District Artist Development Award, a $5,000 cash prize to a promising young music theatre talent, went to Andrew Cook. Sponsored by Melbourne’s East End Theatre District, this is an initiative of Mike Walsh and the Marriner family to celebrate the six beautiful heritage theatres located in the cultural heart of the city. The Playbill Future Prospect Award went to Daniel Assetta, who is currently performing in Wicked. This award, generously sponsored by Playbill, is 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.
This year also saw the introduction of two exciting new categories recognizing further excellence in other fields of musical theatre. The Rob Guest Endowment Technical Award in Honour of Sue Nattrass was won by Isabelle Stadler, who took home a $10,000 cash prize intended to help fund “the tuition and experience needed to help them become a leader in their field”. Funded by the Capitol Theatre and the Sydney Lyric Theatre, the judges in this category this year were three of the most respected technicians in theatre, Cameron Flint, Richard Martin and Paul Rigby.
The Rob Guest Endowment Musician Award, awarded to Isaac Hayward, is intended to similarly help a current musician in the musical theatre. This is a $10,000 cash prize to be used for professional development to further the winner’s career. Also funded by the Capitol Theatre and the Sydney Lyric Theatre, the judges in this category were Peter Casey, Kellie Dickerson and Guy Simpson.
NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism and Major Events Andrew Stoner said: “Well done to Joshua for winning the prestigious Rob Guest Endowment, a well-deserved honour, and one intended to assist this talented young professional to progress his career in the musical theatre industry,” Mr Stoner said.
“Musical theatre is a key component of the Sydney and NSW Events Calendar, attracting visitors from across Australia and overseas and reinforcing the city’s position as Australia’s live performance capital. The NSW Government’s support for the Rob Guest Endowment and Concert, through our tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, demonstrates our commitment to supporting the arts,” he said.