Amidst all the uncertainty at present, it’s always heartwarming to see the Arts industry banding together.
This year, the Green Room Awards Association made the difficult decision to cancel their ceremony at the Comedy Theatre, and instead hold the presentation online.
Established in 1982, The Green Room Awards are Victoria’s premiere peer-presented industry awards for the Arts. Celebrating Theatre, Musical Theatre, Cabaret, Opera, Dance, Contemporary Performance, and Arts companies overall, the awards range from those on stage to those off. This year saw the introduction of The Winners Circle, a private giving program in which past winners are encouraged to support the awards.
An entirely voluntary organisation, the GRAA are made up of 7 panels and an executive committee who decide on and, ultimately, award each category’s winner. I had a chat with Eugyeene Teh (who is on the Independent Theatre Panel) and Dr. Hilary Glow (who is also the current President of the GRAA) about their time with the organisation and the importance of the ceremony.
Could you tell me a bit about your backgrounds with the performing arts?
Eugyeene: Having worked in independent theatre for many years, I have gained experience as a set and costume designer, theatre maker, resident artist for MKA, as well as co-forming Little Ones Theatre, a small company with collaborators with whom I have had the pleasure of working consistently for the past seven years. Now, I work more at a mainstage level and internationally, but my heart still lies with independent theatre as I feel we make the most urgent, honest and exciting works, unrestricted by the structures set and dictated by the patriarchy.
Hilary: I am a Professor with Deakin University’s Arts and Cultural Management Program and I conduct research – particularly on audiences and diversity – in the performing arts.
How long have you both been involved with the GRAA?
Hilary: I have been President of the GRA since 2016.
Eugyeene: This year marks my fifth year on the Green Room Awards Association Independent Theatre Panel. To have been able to watch shows passionately created by the most exciting artists in the industry over a sustained period of time, and critically engage with them with many great thinkers on the panel, is a very special privilege indeed.
Hilary, could you tell me a bit about The Winners Circle?
Hilary: Since the GRA began in 1982, there have been thousands of talented artists who have received awards, and over the years the ceremony has become a significant gathering point for the performing arts community. Through The Winners Circle, we hope to bring together previous winners, judges and committee members to support the ongoing success of the awards. If you are a previous and proud GRA winner and you’re reading this, you can get more information via our website.
Eugyeene, what has been the most challenging part about being on the GRA panel?
Eugyeene: We are always so conscious that the GRAA is a peer-assessed award and so feel so much responsibility to judge as ethically as we can. The challenge, of course, is to come to an agreed decision by an intentionally diverse panel, through many, many considered, crunchy, critical conversations.
Why do you think it is important to celebrate Victoria’s arts culture?
Eugyeene: Works made by local artists have such a wonderful, special ability to connect us all with subject matters that are inherently pertinent and that affect our friends, colleagues and our neighbours. It’s also so important to support the arts culture here because through the arts, our lives are more enriched, our voices can be heard, we have more robust conversations and from this, we can all move forward making the important changes that affect us all.
Hilary: There’s so much happening in Victoria, and the performing arts sector is booming. For this year’s Green Room Awards there are 276 nominations and we are handing out just over 60 awards. On the night we get to celebrate the diversity and vibrancy of the whole sector. Come along and see for yourself!
The 37th Annual Green Room Awards will be streamed on Monday April 6th at www.greenroom.org.au/awards/ceremony2020