The Artistic Directors of Bangarra Dance Theatre and Gondwana Choirs honoured in the 2017 Awards.

Stephen Page, Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre, and Lyn Williams OAM, AD of Gondwana Choirs have both been honoured in the 2017 Australia Council Awards, winning the Dance Award and Don Banks Music Award respectively. The Australia Council Awards recognise the life-long and continued contributions by artists in music, literature, community arts and cultural development, emerging and experimental arts, visual arts, theatre and dance.

“I am always so humbled when recognised for my creative professional being and I truly believe I have one of the most fortunate and privileged position in our arts industry,” said Page, who has been AD of Bangarra since 1991. “This prestigious award reaffirms the importance of our culture and our dance stories. Thanks must go to all the incredible artists who have worked by my side over the years – my brothers, my Bangarra family who are with me every day in the studio, and the many cultural consultants we have worked with along the way.”

Founder and Artistic Director of Gondwana Choirs Lyn William OAM

Founder and AD of Gondwana Choirs, Williams receives the Don Banks Music Award, which recognises a distinguished artist aged over 50 who has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to music in Australia. Last year’s Don Banks Music Award went to composer Brett Dean. 

“I feel very thrilled and honoured to receive the Don Banks award, especially when considering the list of previous recipients,” Williams told Limelight. “As someone who has worked almost exclusively with young musicians I like to think that the award recognises that young choirs are artistically valid, vibrant and courageous. I would like to acknowledge my fine colleagues around the country who are similarly working with young choirs at a high musical level.”

“These awards are an important way of acknowledging the role of artists in the life of our communities, and many of the past recipients have said how meaningful it was to be nominated by their peers,” said Australia Council Chair Rupert Myer. “Widely respected both here and abroad in their art forms, the 2017 Australia Council Award recipients join a distinguished group of artists who are wonderful ambassadors for Australian art.”

Also honoured were novelist Kate Grenville, who won the award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature (the highly successful stage adaption of her best-selling novel The Secret River is currently showing at the Adelaide Festival); Rosemary Myers, the Artistic Director of Windmill Theatre Co who won the Theatre Award; Susan Cohn, who won the Visual Arts Award and Madeleine Flynn, who won the Emerging and Experimental Arts Award. Theatre maker Steve Mayer-Miller won the Ros Bower Award, which is given to artists with a proven record of high achievement in community art and cultural development, and movement coach and filmmaker Ali Kadhim won the Kirk Robson Award, which recognises outstanding leadership from young people working in community arts and cultural development.