CONDA Awards recognise best in Newcastle's performing arts community

Rachel Parish, Chris Maxfield and Stephanie Priest in Metropolitan Players' version of Les Miserables.
Rachel Parish, Chris Maxfield and Stephanie Priest in Metropolitan Players' version of Les Miserables.

Veteran of the Hunter performing arts scene, Greg Paterson, has been honoured for a career of outstanding achievement at this year’s City of Newcastle Drama Association (CONDA) Awards.

Paterson, a musician and musical director who has helped develop the talents of countless singers, actors, and band and orchestra members in the Hunter over several decades, received the 2017 CONDA Inc Award for Outstanding Contribution and Achievement in Newcastle Theatre on Saturday night.

Earlier, he received the trophy for best musical or vocal director for his work on the Metropolitan Players’ version of Les Miserables.

CONDA judges Shane Bransdon, Michael Cooper, Michelle Gosper, Carl Gregory and Ken Longworth said Paterson had been a supportive mentor and teacher to thousands of emerging artists through his role as musical director of Star Struck from 1998 to 2007.

Throughout his career, he had volunteered as a piano accompanist, vocal director and conductor for most musical theatre companies in Newcastle, working on shows ranging from musicals such as Wicked, cabaret-style events including Ultra Swing Lounge, and the CONDA Awards ceremony.

He had been a player and conductor in or on virtually every orchestra pit and stage in Newcastle, and was highly respected for dedicating a lifetime to the development of young performers throughout the region.

Overall, awards went to 15 productions staged by 13 companies, organisations and schools on Saturday night.

Seven musical works were recognised.

St Philip’s Christian College’s staging of Mary Poppins at Civic Theatre won five trophies, including best musical production, and Hunter School of the Performing Arts took one for Catch Me If You Can.

Rent, by Pantseat Performing Arts, Seussical KIDS, from Hunter Drama, Cats:Abridged, by Young People’s Theatre, and Don Giovanni, from Opera Hunter, also received awards.