The Artistic Director of the acclaimed Indigenous dance troupe wins Live Performance Australia’s highest honour.

The Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre, Stephen Page, has been honoured with the JC Williamson Award, the most prestigious laurel bestowed by Live Performance Australia. The accolade is given in recognition of an individual who has made “a truly outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Australian live entertainment and performing arts culture and shaped the future of the industry for the better.” Previous winners include musical theatre presenter John Frost, pop icon Kylie Minogue, opera superstar Joan Sutherland, and entertainer Barry Humphries, aka Dame Edna Everage.

The announcement was made today by Andrew Kay AM, the President of Live Performance Australia, at a special ceremony at the Sydney Opera House. It included a performance by the talented dancers of Bangarra Dance Theatre, who are currently performing a new triple bill at the iconic venue, OUR Land People Stories, featuring Nyapanyapa, Page’s 23rd work for the company.

Page has led Bangarra Dance Theatre for over 25 years since he was appointed as the Artistic Director in 1991. Under his leadership, the company have cemented a reputation as one of the most significant dance companies in Australia. In addition to his substantial body of work for Bangarra, Page has also created works for several other major Australian arts companies, spanning dance, theatre and opera, as well as major events such as the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. In September of 2015, Page’s first feature film, Spear, premiered to much critical acclaim.

Page said of the honour: “I have been fortunate to have worked with so many inspiring communities, artists and creatives during my 25-year tenure as Artistic Director of Bangarra. It is a truly unique Australian company and I am so proud of everything we have achieved. The stories we share are truly distinctive and I feel privileged to play a role in the vital caretaking of these stories, through the intimate weaving of culture and contemporary dance.” 

In addition to this award, which will be formally presented at the Helpmann Awards Ceremony in Sydney next month, Bangarra Dance Theatre has also earned six other nominations for this year’s Bobbies, including two nominations for Stephen Page’s brother, composer David Page, who tragically died earlier this year.

The winners of the 2016 Helpmann Awards will be announced on July 25 at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre.