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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 AO

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.

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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.