One of the richest and most coveted awards in the performing arts in Australia, creativity, innovation and dedication have been rewarded in the annual Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards, announced by Ian Scobie AM, Director Art Projects Australia at the Adelaide Festival on Monday 4 March 2019.
The winners for the 2018 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards are Bleach Festival (Queensland) – Group Award; Genevieve Lacy (Victoria) – Individual Award; and Annette Downs (Tasmania) – Facilitator’s Prize.
Group Award ($90,000) – Bleach Festival, Gold Coast
Bleach Festival has transformed the arts on the Gold Coast. It has made a major contribution to the performing arts in Australia by filling a critical void in the nation’s sixth largest City. Through Bleach, the Gold Coast now has a growing sector of artists who are inspired to make distinctive, daring and unique art that crosses form and responds to unique Australian landscapes. Bleach in its short history is one of Australia’s leading and most exciting site-specific contemporary arts programs and has attracted close to 1 million people since inception.
“Winning this Award is one of the most exciting rewards of recognition we have ever received for the Bleach Festival,” said Louise Bezzina, Artistic Director. “The Board and team are thrilled to be acknowledged nationally for the work that we have done here on the Gold Coast.”
“This is such a prestigious Award to win and this will enable us to be even more ambitious and adventurous in the new work we make with local artists. This is a real game changer for the Gold Coast and Queensland. Thank you so very much.”
Individual Winner ($60,000) – Genevieve Lacy, Melbourne
Genevieve Lacey is an acclaimed musician working in many contexts, with all kinds of people. She creates large-scale collaborative works across radio, film, dance, theatre and public art, and has premiered scores of works, written for her. She’s a recorder virtuoso, artistic director, spokesperson and leader, with a significant recording catalogue and a career as an international artist.
“The Myer family,” says Genevieve Lacy, “have held artists and the arts dear for generations, creating career changing opportunities that have shaped our cultural life. Joining the list of extraordinarily distinguished artists who have been previous recipients of the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award is humbling and inspiring. I’m over the moon!”
Facilitator’s Prize ($25,000) – Annette Downs, Tasmania
Annette Downs is Senior Producer for Tasmania Performs. She has ensured that artists in regional areas have a voice on local, national and international stages. For the past 27 years she has committed herself to raising the profile of Tasmanian companies and independent artists with exceptional results right across the sector. Most people won’t know her name because she works in the background ensuring the light always shines on the artists.
“Growing up in a small country town, centred around an abattoir, I treasured the rare performances that toured to our region, each revealing a creative world beyond the town limits where a person like me might thrive,” said Annette Downs. “I’ve since devoted the bulk of my career to working with the artists of this island to broker opportunities for them to create and tour their work.”
“This acknowledgment confirms the value of the work that I and others do celebrating the diversity of voices that live outside our major centres who deserve to be heard. My deepest gratitude to the Sidney Myer Foundation for their generosity to the arts and the incredible impact their strategic giving has had on every corner of this nation.”
The Trustees of the Sidney Myer Foundation believe that real achievement should be recognised and rewarded. It has awarded over $3.8 million in the Awards’ 35 years. The Judging Committee recognises past achievements but also gives consideration to the potential of an individual or group to continue their contribution to Australian society through the performing arts.
The national Awards are determined by a Judging Committee that this year they included: Christie Anthoney, Fraser Corfield, Iain Graindage, Fiona Maxwell and Brian Ritchie. The Committee is Chaired by Carrillo Gantner AC (Chairman, Sidney Myer Fund) who does not vote.
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: Leonard Vary – CEO The Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund; Annette Downs – Senior Producer Tasmania Performs; Genevieve Lacey – Musician; Louise Bezzina – Artistic Director and CEO Bleach* The Gold Coast Festival; and Andrew Myer AM – Trustee Sidney Myer Fund – photo by Tony Lewis