The 2023 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards have been announced.

The winners in 2023 were:

  • Lucy Guerin Inc – Group Award ($90,000)
  • Jane Harrison – Individual Award ($60,000)
  • Collette Brennan – Facilitator’s Prize ($25,000)

The Trustees of Sidney Myer Fund believe that achievement should not only be recognised but also rewarded. Since 1984, the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards have awarded over $5.3 million directly to those working in the arts.

In 2023, the Awards' Judging Committee was made up of: Stephen Armstrong, Declan Greene, Helen Marcou AM, Patrick Nolan and Alex Sinclair. The Committee is chaired by Andrew Myer AM (Chairman, Sidney Myer Fund) who does not vote. The Judging Committee recognises past achievements but also gives consideration to the potential of an individual or group to continue their contribution to Australian society through the performing arts. The Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards were established in 1984 by the Trustees of the Sidney Myer Fund, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Sidney Myer, a passionate advocate and great friend to the arts.

Group Award ($90,000) – Lucy Guerin Inc

Lucy Guerin Inc (LGI) is an integral part of Melbourne and Australia’s dance ecology, with an exceptional international reputation. Informed by Lucy’s long years as a sole practitioner, her company has advocated for and supported waves of next generation dance practitioners and created audiences for a dynamic and evolving community of artists. LGI is committed to never repeating itself and reaching through dance into the languages of theatre, installation, and myriad contemporary cultural forms, keeping her audiences – and her collaborators – energised and invested in the act of creation and experience. LGI has grown from small beginnings into a thriving hub for the broader dance community. In 2022/23 they celebrated their 21st anniversary – a unique milestone for a small, independent dance company.

Individual Winner ($60,000) – Jane Harrison

Jane Harrison (Muruwari) is a playwright, teacher, and festival director of the Blak & Bright First Nations Literary Festival. Jane’s work Stolen is a canonical work of Australian playwriting, exploring the lives of five First Nations children from the stolen generations. Upon its first production in 1998 by Playbox Theatre, it quickly acquired status as a work of major impact, subsequently touring across Australia and overseas and studied by generations of students as part of the HSC and VCE syllabus. Jane’s most recent work, The Visitors, has been released and performed in 2023 as a play, an opera and as a novel. It is set in January 1788 and concerns seven Aboriginal men and women gathering at Warrane to decide on whether to welcome the ‘visitors’ who are set to arrive on their land. More than a decade of exacting, painstaking research went into The Visitors – a feat typical of Jane’s writing.

Facilitator’s Prize ($25,000) – Collette Brennan

Collette Brennan, currently CEO of Abbotsford Convent, has long been a facilitator for independent artists, especially those from marginalised communities. Known for her generosity, insight and fierce advocacy, Collette has been supporting, facilitating, brokering and amplifying the work of independent Australian artists and cultural workers since her first role with Youth Arts Queensland in 2000. Since then, she has also held leadership roles with the State Library of Queensland, Out of the Box Festival, C!RCA and Australia Council for the Arts. As Gary Lang from NT Dance Company put it: “Collette is an honest source of unwavering support for First Nations artists at all levels in their development and career. Her actions speak louder than words."