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Performance Studies staff in the spotlight

News story

The 2015 Performing Arts WA (PAWA) Awards has recognised four Curtin staff for their work on a play about the true story of a boy who believed he was a machine.

Joey: The Mechanical Boy received six nominations across nine categories, including Best Production and Best Script, with Curtin’s Performance Studies Course Coordinator Dr Leah Mercer taking out Best Director on the night.

Mercer wrote the play with colleague Margi Brown Ash under the banner of their company The Nest Ensemble, and with partial funding from Curtin University. The award-winning duo is known for producing plays that deal in ideas, imagination and transformation grounded in social constructionist values, and Joey: The Mechanical Boy is no exception.

Based on the famous article of the same name (written by controversial child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim and published in the Scientific American in 1959), the play explores how personalities are made, destroyed and made again, and how sometimes imagination can be the best medicine.

Curtin Associate Lecturer and award-winning actor Philip Miolin earned himself a well-deserved Best Actor nomination as nine-year-old Joey, while Hayman Theatre Company Coordinator Karen Cook was nominated for lighting and Curtin guest lecturer and occasional artist-in-residence Tessa Darcey got the nod for set and costumes.

Joey: The Mechanical Boy opened for a limited season at the Blue Room Theatre in November 2014 to critical acclaim.

The awards

The Performing Arts WA (PAWA) Awards, formerly the Equity Guild Awards, are Western Australia’s premier awards for the state’s professional live theatre industry.

Hosted by PAWA with the support of a number of generous sponsors, the awards honour outstanding achievement and excellence by WA professional theatre artists. The 2015 PAWA Awards were held at the De Parel Spiegeltent in the Perth Cultural Centre on 23 February.

Performing Arts WA (PAWA) is a not-for-profit association established in 1979 to support and develop professionals involved in the performing arts in WA and to promote a greater public awareness and appreciation of the sector.