‘Highly effective’ Karen awarded critics’ theatre prize

Karen Vickery in motion. Picture: Jane Duong

A POWERFUL actor-director who gave up her day job to get behind a brand new theatrical enterprise in Canberra was introduced with the Helen Tsongas Award for excellence in appearing by Canberra Theatre director Alex Budd on the ACT Arts Awards tonight (November 22).

Karen Vickery was singled out by the Canberra Critics Circle for a outstanding 12 months of appearing, particularly for her performances as Jaques in Lakespeare’s “As You Like It”, because the older lady in Edward Albee’s “Three Tall Girls” for ACT Hub and because the narrator in “Urinetown: The Musical” for Coronary heart Strings Theatre Firm. 

A graduate in appearing and a long-time workers member on the Nationwide Institute of Dramatic Artwork with a level from the College of Melbourne behind her, Vickery has made herself well-known within the Canberra appearing scene since coming to Canberra in 2011 to hitch the Nationwide Portrait Gallery as director of entry and studying.

She left the NPG in April this 12 months to focus on her appearing and on the challenges introduced on the new ACT Hub in Kingston, conceived in the course of the covid lockdown when she and the administrators of three different theatre firms joined forces to safe the way forward for severe theatre follow in Canberra. 

Helen Tsongas Award for excellence in acting winner Karen Vickery. Photo: Jane Duong 
Helen Tsongas Award for excellence in appearing winner Karen Vickery. Picture: Jane Duong

A performing artist on the very peak of her powers, Vickery, the judges consider, takes maintain of the mature components introduced to her now and interprets them with a substantial amount of complexity and class.

An completed Russian linguist who has translated performs by Anton Chekhov and Maxim Gorky into hotly sought-after English-language playscripts, she additionally spent a few years working as a jobbing actor for TV sequence, together with “All Saints” and “A Nation Apply” (thrice in three completely different roles) and in stage dramas, as soon as enjoying 13 characters within the Sydney Theatre Firm’s manufacturing of “Nicholas Nickleby”. 

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Transferring to Canberra to pursue her new profession, she discovered the Portrait Gallery aware of the facility of dance and theatre in deciphering portraiture and internet hosting many performances and a celebration of playwright Ray Lawler’s “The Summer season of the Seventeenth Doll” in its sixtieth 12 months, which she later directed at The Q. 

She additionally based the undertaking “In their very own phrases,” the place poems or literature pertaining to portraits are learn within the galleries.

However Vickery by no means deserted her love of treading the boards and, as a lead actor with Canberra Rep (her first foray into neighborhood theatre), then as actor-director with Everyman Theatre, Pigeonhole Theatre and her personal newly shaped Chaika (Russian for “seagull”) Theatre, she turned a driving power within the Canberra theatre scene and a mannequin to youthful actors.

The late Helen Tsongas, who would have been 44 in November this 12 months, was a dramatic actor memorable for tragic roles who was equally admired for her finely-tuned comedian roles in comedy. She labored at arts ACT for a few years after which moved to the then Commonwealth Workplace for the Arts.

She died together with her husband in a bike accident shortly after their marriage and her household has established this award in her reminiscence. 

The Helen Tsongas award takes the type of a cheque to the worth of $1000 and a certificates going to one of the best Canberra actor of the 12 months, with no restrictions on age or gender, as judged by the theatre panel of the Canberra Critics Circle.