South Australian arts and culture honoured at the 2017 Ruby Awards

Arts SA Ruby Awards Ian Scobie AMWOMADelaide Director Ian Scobie AM has received one of South Australia’s highest arts and cultural honours, winning the Premier’s Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 2017 Ruby Awards.

Presented by Arts South Australia and now in its 12th year, the Ruby Awards celebrate the best within South Australia’s arts and cultural sector, with 10 winners announced at a gala event at the Queen’s Theatre in Adelaide.

A leading light of South Australia’s arts scene for more than 30 years, Mr Scobie has been a key influence in not only bringing extraordinary artists, companies and events to Australia, but in creating pathways for Australian work overseas.

His long and varied career includes 14 years operating and managing the Adelaide Festival and nearly two decades as director of Arts Projects Australia, which he co-founded in 1997. Perhaps his most significant contribution has been the development of WOMADelaide, the largest world music festival in the southern hemisphere, which he helped establish in 1992.

“I am delighted to present the Premier’s Award for Lifetime Achievement to Ian Scobie AM, a luminary of South Australia’s arts and cultural landscape for more than three decades,” said Premier and Minister for the Arts Jay Weatherill. “His work in the sector, particularly with WOMADelaide, has touched millions of people worldwide and helped make our city and state a premier festival destination.”

Mr Scobie receives a bespoke, ruby-coloured glasswork designed and made at the JamFactory, and will be honoured with a gold nameplate on a seat at the Festival Theatre.

The Adelaide Festival received two Ruby Awards, with Joint Artistic Directors Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy’s debut festival named Best Event, and Barrie Kosky’s production of opera Saul winning Best Work.

The coveted People’s Choice Award went to the inaugural 2017 UneARTh Festival – Whyalla, staged by the City of Whyalla and Adelaide Fringe, which attracted crowds of more than 10,000 to the regional hub for a packed program of theatre, music and dance over the Easter long weekend.

The award for Community or Regional Impact under $100,000 went to Coorong District Council’s Creating Coonalpyn project, which has seen the town transform into a giant open-air art gallery, exemplified by its now famous grain silo murals. The 2016 South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival won the award for Community or Regional Impact over $100,000.

Disability arts organisation Tutti Arts won the award for Sustained Contribution by an Organisation or Group, while Restless Dance Theatre won the Arts Innovation and Enterprise award for its show Intimate Space, an immersive dance theatre performance staged inside the Hilton Adelaide with an ensemble of disabled and non-disabled performers.

The Ruby Award for Sustained Contribution by an Individual went to Vitalstatistix Theatre Company and Feast Festival co-founder Margie Fischer, while the Geoff Crowhurst Memorial Award went to writer and theatre maker Alysha Herrmann for her work with young southern suburbs artists through Carclew and Onkaparinga Council’s ExpressWay Arts program.

“This year’s winners exemplify the high level of excellence in our state, from major festivals that put Adelaide on the world stage, to grass-roots organisations that celebrate our diverse communities, innovative arts-driven projects that enliven our regions and much more,” said Executive Director of Arts South Australia, Peter Louca.

Named in honour of late arts patron Dame Ruby Litchfield, the 2017 Ruby Awards are the 12th annual celebration of South Australia’s arts and cultural sector. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Ian Scobie AM – courtesy of Arts South Australia