The Green Room Association has announced the recipients of four special awards to be presented at the annual Green Room Awards Ceremony to be held tonight at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre. These four awards will be presented along with more than fifty other awards acknowledging the outstanding work and performances we have seen on Melbourne stages in 2014.
The 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to renowned opera singer and teacher, Nance Grant. Alongside names such as Dame Nellie Melba, Florence Austral, Marjorie Lawrence and Dame Joan Sutherland, Nance Grant stands as one of Australia’s great sopranos.
After winning Mobil Quest in 1957 and singing for the Queen at the 1973 opening of the Sydney Opera House, she went on to have a career spanning four decades that saw her work with some of the great conductors including Sir Malcolm Sargent, Sir Edward Downes, Sir John Pritchard, Sir Charles Mackerras, Richard Bonynge, and Georges Tzipine.
In 1975, Nance received the Bayreuth Opera Award allowing her to study in Germany with Professor Clemens Kaiser-Breme and the following year she was awarded an MBE for her services to opera. In addition to this, she taught singing at the Victorian College of the Arts with Dame Joan Hammond, was a Director of the Melba Conservatorium of Music and of Opera Foundation Victoria and served as Chair of the Music Board of the Australian International Opera Awards. In 2013, Nance Grant was made a Member of the Order of Australia.
The 2015 Technical Achievement Award will be presented to renowned costume maker, Maruska Blyszczak. Coming to Australia for a holiday in the late sixties, Maruska has lived and worked here ever since. She has made costumes for an astonishing number of major productions in Melbourne working with a host of companies including JC Williamsons, Opera Australia, the Victorian State Opera, Victorian Opera, Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre and ABC-TV. Maruska sews in a way that is almost lost to the profession of theatrical tailoring.
This year, the Green Room Awards Association will honour the memory of one of its Life Members with the inaugural Geoffrey Milne Award for Contribution to the Development of Contemporary & Experimental Performance or Independent Theatre. The award will alternate between these two artform panels with which Geoffrey Milne was so closely associated during his many years with the Green Room Awards. This year’s award is being made by the Contemporary & Experimental Performance Panel and the recipient will be announced on the night.
The final special award announcement is the Industry Contribution Award which this year will go to Chunky Move in acknowledgement of their Next Move program. Since its inception, Chunky Move has commissioned, produced and presented nine new works through the Next Move program.
Next Move is designed to bridge the divide between young makers creating small independent work and more established choreographers. By providing the full producing resources of the Company and the creative freedom that comes with a complete commission with a programmed outcome, Next Move provides its recipients with a unique opportunity to create a new work in a focused manner over a concentrated period.
The 32nd Green Room Awards will be presented tonight (Monday 20 April – 7.00pm) at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre. For more information, visit: www.greenroom.org.au for details.
Image: Nance Grant – courtesy of Melba Recordings