2017 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards announced in Brisbane

The winners of the prestigious 2017 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards have been announced by Carrillo Gantner AO, Chair of the Sidney Myer Fund at the Brisbane Powerhouse as part of the Australian Performing Arts Market on Wednesday 21 February 2018.

Three of Australia’s leading arts practitioners have been announced as the winners – Kate Mulvany playwright and actor has been won the Individual Award ($60,000), Nicole Beyer, executive director, Theatre Network Australia has won the Facilitator’s Prize ($25,000) and Dancenorth has won the Group Award ($90,000).

Now in its 34th year, the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards are one of the richest and most coveted Awards in the performing arts in Australia. To date they have awarded well over $3.5 million. The Trustees of the Sidney Myer Foundation believe that real achievement should be recognised and rewarded. For each recipient this Award is an acknowledgement of their rich artistic achievements.

Kate Mulvany is an Australian playwright and actor on stage, television and film, with roles in The Great Gatsby (2013), Griff the Invisible (2010) and The Final Winter (2007). She has played lead roles with major Australian theatre companies as well as appearing on television and in film.

In 2004 she won the Philip Parsons Young Playwrights Award for The Seed. In 2017, she won the Helpmann Award for Best Female Actor in a Play for her role in Richard III. Her adaptation of Craig Silvey’s novel Jasper Jones has been performed in Perth by Barking Gecko Theatre Company, in Sydney by Belvoir St Theatre, and in Melbourne by the Melbourne Theatre Company.

“My work as an Australian artist has been nurtured and driven by the support of so many companies and individuals over the past 20 years,” said Kate Mulvany. “Without their trust, heart and spirit, I would not have the body of work that I do today.”

“To receive the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award in recognition of my work inspires me to give back to the industry that has given me so much, and has so much to give. Those artists that strive to make our vast Australian canon resonate bolster my love of Australian stories and my pride in our storytellers. I am honoured to be one of them and I am truly humbled to be the recipient of such a beautiful gift.”

As a major champion of the arts in regional North Queensland, Dancenorth balances a dynamic regional presence with a commitment to creating compelling contemporary dance that tours the globe. Dancenorth empowers and supports great art and artists and is a creative hub for many artistic voices including emerging and highly established choreographers, guest collaborators, artists in residence and dancers.

Since 2015 Dancenorth has presented work at major Australian international arts festivals. including OzAsia Festival (2015) MONA FOMA (2016), Asia TOPA (2017), Womadelaide (2017), Brisbane Festival (2016, 2017 & 2018), Sydney Festival (2017 & 2019) and Perth (2018). Receiving critical acclaim and industry recognition for our work.

“We are truly ecstatic to be named recipients of the 2017 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Group Award,” says Artistic Director Kyle Page. “Dancenorth is the coming together of incredible minds generously collaborating to create contemporary dance that challenges convention and inspires a reimagining of the world.”

“The extraordinary generosity of the Sidney Myer Fund and the Trustees enables us to continue pushing the boundaries, creating bold new work in Townsville, North Queensland before touring around Australia and across the globe.”

As founding Director of Theatre Network Australia (then Theatre Network Victoria), Nicole has consistently put the wellbeing of the artist at the centre of TNA’s work – advocating for better conditions, better rates of pay, and a greater say for artists in their futures.

Her work goes above and beyond the role of a service organisation – she commits personal time and energy to ensuring that independent artists’ work is better valued, and she is one of very few voices in the performing arts representing artists in high profile forums, in the media, and on various Advisory Boards.

“I’m so thrilled to win the 2017 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award Facilitator’s Prize, but really, it’s a win for the whole arts sector and the Free The Arts campaign,” said says Nicole Beyer, Theatre Network Australia. “The Award recognises the power of the collective voice, demonstrated by the enormous groundswell of opposition to the government’s changes to the 2015 arts budget.”

“I’m buoyed by the recognition of my role in that, and it will inspire me to keep fighting on behalf of the small to medium / independent performing arts sector in particular – a sector that is incredibly vibrant, prolific and creatively acclaimed, but a sector that is financially fragile. I’m really grateful that the work of behind-the-scenes advocates is valued by the Sidney Myer Fund.”

Announced annually, the national awards are determined by a Judging Committee chaired by Carrillo Gantner AO (Chair of the Sidney Myer Fund) and this year they included: Brian Ritchie (Curator, MOFO, TAS); Christie Anthoney (Director, Festivals South Australia, SA); David Berthold (Artistic Director, Brisbane Festival QLD); and Terri-anne White (CEO, UWA Publishing, WA).

The Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards were established in 1984 by the Trustees of the Sidney Myer Fund, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Sidney Myer – a passionate advocate and great friend to the arts. For more information, visit: www.myerfoundation.org.au for details.

Image: Nicole Beyer and Carrillo Gantner AO – photo by Richard Walker