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On Friday 1 December at 10am at the Sydney Opera House, to mark Live Performance Australia’s centenary, the 2017 Centenary Awards honoured ten luminaries of Australia’s live entertainment and performing arts industry.

These lifetime achievement Awards were announced as five 2017 Centenary JC Williamson Awards and five 2017 Centenary Sue Nattrass Awards. These prestigious awards are the foremost honours that the industry can bestow.

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Part of the Helpmann Awards family, the 2017 Centenary Sue Nattrass Award recognises outstanding service to the live performance industry in a field which may not enjoy a high public profile. 

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Carrillo Gantner AO

Carrillo Gantner’s contribution to the performing arts in Australia is unsurpassed. He has acted in over 40 professional productions, the last as King Lear for Playbox in several Australian cities, Japan and Korea. He has brought many Asian performing artists and companies to Australia and initiated numerous exchanges with the region.

Carrillo is Chairman of The Sidney Myer Fund. He has been General Manager of the Melbourne Theatre Company and a Founding Director of the Playbox Theatre Company (now Malthouse Theatre) where he led the construction of the Malthouse Theatre. During his time as Chairman of Asialink from 1992-2006, hundreds of Australian performing and visual artists held residencies in countries throughout Asia.

He was Chairman of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from 1995 to 2000, President of the Victorian Arts Centre Trust from 2000-2009 and President of The Melbourne Festival 2010-2014. Carrillo was the primary initiator of the new Asian Triennial of Performing Arts (“Asia TOPA”) in Melbourne earlier this year.

Carrillo was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2001 for services to the performing arts and Australia's cultural exchange with Asia. He was the first recipient of the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Cultural Leader of the Year Award and in 2002 and received the Dorothy Crawford Award from the Australian Writers’ Guild for services to Australian playwriting.

In recognition of his cultural and philanthropic service, he was named the 2007 Victorian of the Year and, in 2011, was awarded a Green Room Lifetime Achievement Award for his services to the performing arts.

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Ian McRae AO

Ian McRae is currently Chair of the Australian National Academy of Music and a Chair of the Australian Frontotemporal Dementia Association. Ian has extensive experience in arts management and trained as a chartered accountant.

He was General Manager of The Australian Ballet from 1991 to 2002, joining the ballet in 1986 after five years as Administration Manager of the Victorian Arts Centre. His time at the Arts Centre in Melbourne involved establishing the organisation and opening its theatres and concert hall (now Hamer Hall).

 

Ian was Chair of the Australia Council Theatre Board and a member of its Audit and Finance Committee. At the same time he completed a four-year term as a member of the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board. He has also been a Board member of Victorian College of the Arts, Malthouse Theatre, Bangarra, Bell Shakespeare and Melbourne Recital Centre.

In 2007 he teamed with Leo Schofield to bring the Paris Opera Ballet to Sydney and they continue working with the Queensland Performing Arts Centre to produce the Brisbane International Series.

In 2002 Ian was honoured as Cultural Leader of the Year by the Australian Business Arts Foundation and is an Officer of the Order of Australia.

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Susan Provan

As the longest-serving director of the annual Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the energetic and passionate Susan Provan has been credited with helping cement its position as one of the largest comedy events in the world.

Susan has been the director of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival since 1995. She has been instrumental in securing greater funding and recognition for the event, broadening its appeal, and attracting an impressive ongoing roll call of international guests.

Susan worked at the Last Laugh in Collingwood as night manager for seven years. Her bosses and mentors were among the group of producers and performers who created the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

 

Susan’s previous roles include associate producer of South Australia’s State Theatre Company and general manager of Circus Oz. She is a member of the Helpmann Awards Administration Committee and she also chairs the comedy panel.

She has served on the boards of Neonheart and Strange Fruit performing arts companies, and on the Playing Australia Committee and the Myer Performing Arts Awards Committee.

Rhoda Roberts

Rhoda Roberts AO

A journalist, broadcaster, actor, producer, writer, arts advisor and artistic director, Rhoda Roberts has made a substantial contribution to the media, performing and indigenous arts in Australia.

Rhoda is a proud member of Bundjalung Nation, Wiyebal Clan of northern NSW and southeast Queensland. She is currently Head of First Nations Programming for the Sydney Opera House, Creative Director of the Parrtjima Festival in Alice Springs, Director of the Boomerang Festival and associate artist of the Northern Rivers Performing Arts.

Rhoda was the Founder and Director of the Festival of Dreaming 1995 -2009. She has written, produced and directed some of Australia’s most important public productions and has also been involved with large-scale events including as the  Creative Director for the Awakening Segment Sydney Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, the opening of the Musee Du Quai Branly in Paris, the Athens Olympics handover ceremony, World Youth Day and as director of the Garma Festival, produced by the Yothu Yindi Foundation.

Rhoda co-founded Australia’s first national Aboriginal theatre company, the Aboriginal Nation Theatre Trust (ANTT) and has worked on programs for SBS, ABC TV and Radio and commercial television.

Rhoda has been a Board member for Indigenous Tourism Australia, Playwriting Australia and the Australian International Cultural Council (AICC) and in 2016 received an Order of Australia.

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Frank Van Straten AM

Frank Van Straten is a writer and researcher specialising in Australian performing arts history. He was founding curator of Arts Centre Melbourne’s Performing Arts Museum and later became its director.

For 15 years he presented ABC Radio’s Nostalgia Show and has published six books on Australian theatre history. In 2007 he was appointed Live Performance Australia’s Official Historian, and researched and wrote LPA’s Hall of Fame. He also compiles the ‘In Memoriam’ segments for the annual Helpmann Awards.

Frank is a patron of the Cinema and Theatre Historical Society (Victoria) and the John Truscott Design Foundation Inc. He is a member of the Royal Historical Society, a Life Member of the National Trust (Victoria), and a founding member of Theatre Heritage Australia. He has also served on the judging panels of the Green Room and Helpmann Awards.

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Part of the Helpmann Awards family, the 2017 Centenary JC Williamson Award recognises individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the Australian live entertainment and performing arts industry and shaped the future of our industry for the better.

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Robyn Archer AO

Robyn Archer is a singer, writer, director, artistic director and public advocate for the arts and  is often referred to as a national treasure. A prolific artist of the highest calibre, she is known to many for her one woman shows including A Star is Torn and Tonight Lola Blau, and to thousands more for her Artistic Directorship of memorable arts festivals in Canberra,  Melbourne, Adelaide and Tasmania.

Robyn is an acknowledged exponent of classic European cabaret, which won her the prestigious 2013 Helpmann Award as Australia’s Best Cabaret Performer and her title of Cabaret Icon at the 2016 Adelaide Cabaret Festival. She has recorded twelve albums and her writing includes essays, original songs, works for the theatre and children’s books.  Robyn wrote and directed The Sound of Falling Stars which will tour Australia in 2018.

Robyn has been Artistic Director of The Light in Winter, Federation Square Melbourne, since its inception in 2006. She is currently Strategic Advisor, Arts and Culture Gold Coast, Chair of the Arts Centre Gold Coast and Chair of the MFA in Cultural Leadership at NIDA. Robyn is the Australian Book Review Laureate and in demand as a speaker and writer on the arts.

She is the patron of numerous arts organisations across Australia and mentor for the European Festivals’ Association Ateliers. Robyn is an Officer of the Order of Australia, Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France) and Officer of the Crown (Belgium). Robyn holds Honorary doctorates from Flinders University (South Australia), Griffith University (Queensland) and the Universities of Canberra, Sydney and Adelaide and is an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

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Reg Livermore AO

Spanning 60 years, Reg Livermore’s career on stage and in television includes achievements as an actor, author, director and designer.

He is especially remembered for show-stopping appearances in the original Australian productions of Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar, as the original Dr Frank’n’furter in the Australian production of The Rocky Horror Show and his bravura performance in the musical Barnum. Reg’s groundbreaking one-man shows in the 1970s- Betty Blokk Buster Follies and Wonder Woman – propelled him to the forefront of a new wave of Australian theatre.

Reg also starred as Max Bialystock in Mel Brooks’ musical The Producers in 2005/06, played Henry Higgins in Opera Australia’s 2008 presentation of My Fair Lady, and recently scored as Alfred Doolittle in the Julie Andrews 60th Anniversary production of this celebrated musical.

In 2018, Reg’s new play The Widow Unplugged or An Actor Deploys will be staged for the 60th Anniversary Season of the Ensemble Theatre, which has also presented his other works, Wish You Were Here, Red Riding Hood, The Speed Hump and The Wolf, and The Thank You Dinner.

Arts Centre Melbourne celebrated Reg’s career with a major retrospective exhibition Take a Bow in 2011. Reg received an AO in 1996, published his autobiography Chapters and Chances in 2004, received the Sydney Critics Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 and a Helpmann Award the same year. 

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Robyn Nevin AM

Described as ‘the complete actor’, Robyn Nevin AM has spent more than 50 years in front of the footlights. Robyn started her career as a shy 16-year-old in the first intake of acting students at the National Institute of Dramatic Art and has been a constant presence in Australian theatre ever since. She is acknowledged as a major influence in Australian theatre as actor, director and producer.

She has appeared on stage in all Australian states, and in many memorable film and television roles. Robyn has directed major productions and successfully run two flagship state theatre companies – the Queensland Theatre Company in the 1990s and the Sydney Theatre Company from 1999 to 2007 – as well as creating the multi award-winning Actors Company.

Robyn has won four Helpmann Awards, received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Tasmania, and was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the performing arts. She has also mentored hundreds of young performers, directors and writers.

Renowned for her remarkable stamina and described as passionate, complex, loyal and tenacious by colleagues, she has a relentless belief in the power and worth of theatre, and no inclination to stop performing.

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Archie Roach AM

Archie Roach is a man of few words but when he speaks or sings those words resonate with your soul. He is one of Australia’s most treasured performers and a proud Gunditjmara/Bundjalung man.

When his debut album Charcoal Lane was released in 1990, the impact was immediate. The album’s centrepiece, ‘Took The Children Away’, shone a spotlight on the impact of the forcible removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from their families. The single won an international Human Rights Achievement Award (the first time ever awarded for a song). It was added to the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra, acknowledging its significance in Australian cultural and social history.

Archie has released a further eight acclaimed albums, toured internationally with icons such as Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, Rodriguez and Bob Dylan and worked on the sound track for Rolf de Heer’s acclaimed film The Tracker.

Archie has won three ARIA Awards (with a further seven nominations), eight Deadly Awards, a 2005 Helpmann Award with his beloved Ruby Hunter, the Australia Council for the Arts 2011 Red Ochre Award and 2015 Don Banks Award, In 2008, again with Ruby Hunter, Archie received the Sydney Myer Performing Arts Award.

Off stage, Archie works with young people caught up in the criminal justice system and mentors young and emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. In 2015 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to music and his support of social justice.

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Jim Sharman

Jim Sharman is a stage and screen director and writer. Jim directed three era-defining musicals (Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar and The Rocky Horror Show) in Australia, the UK, Japan and the USA. He revived and premiered the stage and screen work of Patrick White and premiered new work by, among others, Louis Nowra and Stephen Sewell. His 70-plus productions include classics by Shakespeare, Brecht and Lorca and plays by Pinter, Orton and Sam Shepard.

Jim premiered the opera Voss and staged Don Giovanni, The Threepenny Opera, The Rake’s Progress, Cosi fan tutte and Death in Venice. His screen work includes White’s The Night The Prowler, online musical Andy X and the international cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show for Twentieth Century Fox.

Jim was Artistic Director of the ground-breaking 1982 Adelaide Festival of Arts featuring Pina Bausch and he also created the Lighthouse for the State Theatre Company of South Australia. He won the 2005 Helpmann Award for Best Direction of a Play for Three Furies – Scenes from the Life of Francis Bacon. His memoir, Blood and Tinsel, was published by MUP.