Guil Noronha and Lesley Coombes win City of Newcastle Drama Association (Conda) Award for Maitland Repertory Theatre's The Diary of Anne Frank

It has been a big year for Rutherford’s Guil Noronha, and several recent wins at the City of Newcastle Drama Association (Conda) Awards were the “icing on the cake”.

Mr Noronha and partner Lesley Coombes won the excellence by a director (drama or comedy) award for their adaptation of 'The Diary of Anne Frank' for Maitland Repertory Theatre. Mr Noronha also won excellence in set design.

The wins come after a successful show season and appearances in widely-broadcast television commercials for Toyota and KFC.

It was Mr Noronha’s first wins at the Condas from four nominations, but it was Ms Coombes first time being nominated.

“She’s got a better track record than I have!” Mr Noronha said.

The Diary of Anne Frank also received five other nominations including:

  • Best dramatic production
  • Excellence by a female actor under 18 – Abbey Matt as Anne Frank
  • Excellence by a male actor in a leading role (drama or comedy) – Ian Robinson as Otto Frank
  • Excellence by a male actor in a supporting role – Chris Henderson as Peter van Daan
  • Excellence in lighting and audio visual design – Guil Noronha, Vic Thompson, Lesley Coombes

Ms Coombes said despite it being decades later, the story of Anne Frank still resonates with so many people.

Ms Coombes and Mr Noronha had the vision to do a production of the play after visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam in 2013.

Ms Coombes said she was particularly inspired by a quote from Anne’s father Otto – “We cannot change what happened any more. The only thing we can do is to learn from the past and to realise what discrimination and persecution of innocent people means. I believe it is everyone’s responsibility to fight prejudice.”

She said the cast were equally as passionate about the project and did a lot of research for the play.

“It was really an ensemble effort, we became a bit of a family,” Ms Coombes said.

The audience also gave a lot of great feedback, saying how moved they were by the story and performance.

The Conda Awards were held at Wests New Lambton on December 2.