The company took a swag of gongs at the awards ceremony last night, attended by 300 from the Sydney theatre fraternity.
Belvoir’s haul included best mainstream production for Measure for Measure.
The updated Shakespeare play, set in a modern hotel room, also won awards for best direction (Benedict Andrews) and best stage design (Ralph Myers with Sean Bacon).
The company’s production of The Diary of a Madman won four awards, including best actress in a supporting role (Yael Stone) and best score or sound design (Alan John and Paul Charlier).
Belvoir also won best new Australian work (Scott Rankin for Namatjira) and best newcomer (actor Derek Lynch, also for Namatjira.)
The men of Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Uncle Vanya fared well, with best actor going to Richard Roxburgh and best supporting actor to Hugo Weaving. Robyn Nevin was named best actress for her role in STC’s Long Day’s Journey into Night while Jersey Boys took out best musical. Its star, Bobby Fox, won the Judith Johnson award for best performance by an actor in a musical. The female equivalent went to Christine Anu for her role in The Sapphires.
Unlike the Oscars or Golden Globes, the "no budget" Sydney Theatre Awards has no gift bags for unsuccessful nominees. No engraved statuettes are handed out, either. Instead, winners have to make do with a framed certificate.
According to founder Ian Phipps, the awards, now in their sixth year, are about peer and industry recognition rather than gift bags and trophies.
"The ceremony is designed to be a very relaxed, informal evening where the industry can celebrate itself," he says.
The awards are judged by a panel of seven Sydney critics ,including The Australian’s Deborah Jones and John McCallum. McCallum says the judges’ task was arduous because 2010 was a particularly strong year for theatre.
"There were stunning productions and brilliant performances throughout the year," McCallum says. "Because the competition was so steep, certain shows that didn’t get up this year might well have in another year."
McCallum presented this year’s lifetime achievement award to Shakespearean actor and director John Bell, founder of Bell Shakespeare.