This prestigious award, to be presented at the 19th annual Helpmann Awards in Melbourne in July, honours exceptional service to the Australian live performance industry shining a spotlight on people in service roles that support our industry.
Liz Jones AO has been a cornerstone of Melbourne’s independent theatre scene since 1976. Her steadfast commitment to the ‘low financial risk, high artistic risk’ ethos has ensured La Mama remains a place where experimental and emerging theatre-makers can try out new ideas and hone their craft.
“I am delighted to receive this award, particularly as it is the Sue Nattrass Award,” said Jones. “Sue’s personal integrity and quiet determination in achieving her ideals has long been an inspiration to my own life in theatre.”
Liz is deeply committed to creating opportunities to artists who are under-represented in the mainstream. In the 1980s she addressed the gender imbalance in writing and directing roles, and in the 1990s she created new opportunities for indigenous theatre makers, including actively supporting the reinvigoration of Ilbijerri Theatre.
Liz’s commitment to Australian theatre extends beyond her work with La Mama. She has served on numerous government committees and the boards of several theatre companies; represented Australia at the Women’s International Playwrights’ Conference four times; mentored emerging artists and maintained a performing career while still managing a lively family life.
Liz has received numerous honours including the 2000 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award Facilitator’s Prize, 2001 Green Room Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2018 Australia Council Award for Theatre. She holds an honorary Doctorate of Laws from ANU and her name is on the Victorian Women’s Honour Roll. She was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2012.
After La Mama was gutted by fire in 2018, messages of support poured in from far and wide, which is testament to the place that Liz and La Mama have in the Melbourne theatre community’s heart. After forty years at the helm of La Mama, Liz is currently involved in the fundraising campaign to rebuild the theatre.
“LPA is delighted that Liz Jones AO is the recipient of the 2019 Sue Nattrass Award,” said LPA Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson. “Her unwavering commitment and support of performers and creatives over the past forty years has made La Mama an innovative theatrical force that is woven into the rich cultural fabric of Melbourne”.
In a new destination partnership with Visit Victoria, 42 prestigious Helpmann Awards will be presented across two-star studded nights for the very first time in Melbourne on 14 and 15 July 2019 at Arts Centre Melbourne.
The full program, including award category nominees, will be announced in June. For more information, visit: www.helpmannawards.com.au for details.
Image: Liz Jones AO (supplied)