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Elton John World News: A Natural Achievement

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''Billy'' is Big Part of Sydney Theatre Honours

Monday 4 February 2008 @ 17:40 - GMT

On January 21, awards recognising 2007 performances were given out at the Paddington RSL Club.

Cate Blanchett attended the short ceremony, as did the four lads in the musical Billy Elliot.

Company B's Toy Symphony and Billy Elliot scooped the pool at the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Toy Symphony won seven gongs, including Best Mainstage Production and Best New Australian Work.

Billy Elliot received accolades for Best Musical Production and Best Actress in a Musical (Genevieve Lemon).

The four young actors who share the title role were awarded the Best Actor in a Musical gong: Lochlan Denholm, Rhys Kosakowski, Rarmian Newton and Nick Twiney. In their acceptance speech, the youngsters thanked the Billy Elliot production cast and crew. They also thanked "Elton John and all our parents for driving us around".

The 2007 Lifetime Achievement award was presented to critic, publisher and champion of Australian drama Katharine Brisbane, co-founder in 1971 of Currency Press, the performing arts publishers. Brisbane was a theatre critic for The Australian from 1967 to 1974.

Fifteen-year-old Newton was delighted to share the prize, but admitted there had been "a bit of healthy competition" between the Billys during rehearsals.

"We all wanted to show what we could do, but in the end we all have different strengths and we all do a different show," he said.