Australia Council Award for Theatre Recipient- Rachael Maza

Australia Council Award for Theatre Recipient- Rachael Maza


Rachael Maza is the recipient of the 2019
Australia Council Award for Theatre Rachael is a Yidinji/ Meriam woman, an
actor, director, dramaturg and cultural leader. With this award we celebrate
Rachael’s achievements as a theatre artist. Her work as artistic director of
ILBIJERRI Theatre for the past 10 years and her incredible work as a cultural
leader. This award celebrates her artistic courage, her tenacity of spirit
and the undeniable impact of her work, both on and off the stage. She has been
the artistic director for ILBIJERRI Theatre Company since 2008 and sits on
the board of ACMI as well as the Circus Oz Indigenous Advisory Panel and Opera
Australia’s Indigenous Advisory Panel. She has previously been a panelist for
the Balnaves Indigenous Playwrights Award and is currently on the theatre
company’s panel for the Green Room Awards. Rachael’s extraordinary
contribution across many areas including as an actor, director and artistic
director, made her a standout nominee. With the panel noting a long-term and
ongoing impact of her work across multiple disciplines. Rachael advocate
strongly for First Nations theatre making and brings a wealth of acting,
directing, and dramaturgical experience and profile to Black Theatre in
Australia. Rachael’s exceptional work champions Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islanders to tell their own stories. Challenge stereotypes and celebrate
achievements. Her work tours locally, nationally and internationally, seeing
success with a variety of audiences. Rachael has worked closely with many of
Australia’s major theatre companies including Belvoir and Black Swan. As a
performer Rachael has contributed to several milestone productions including:
Radiance at Belvoir for which she won a Sydney theatre Critics Circle Award, The
Aboriginal Protesters directed by Noel Tovey, The Dreamers written by Jack Davis and directed by Wesley Enoch and The Sapphires for MTC, Playbox and Belvoir.
Rachael received the 2003 Uncle Bob Maza Memorial Award for outstanding
contribution to Victorian Indigenous Theatre at the Victorian indigenous Performing Arts Awards. She also received a Green
Room award for Best Performance by an actress in a leading role for Holy Day.
She has appeared on film and television, and has also worked as a narrator for
ABC Radio National, and as Indigenous liaison advisor on films such as the
multi award-winning rabbit-proof fence. I first saw Jack Charles versus the crown
in 2011, which Rachael directed with uncle Jack Charles, and then had the pleasure
of presenting the work for Perth Festival the following year. This is one
of those works that simply stops you in your tracks. Beautiful, raw and honest.
This work has now made its way around the world connecting with audiences, but
I actually couldn’t say when I first encountered Rachael because in the 20
years I’ve worked in the sector her voice, perspective, advice and vision has
always been a critical part of the important conversations. It’s impossible
to capture the ripple effects of every interaction every young artist Rachael
has supported and nurtured, every rehearsal room she has led, every play
she has helped shape, every audience member she’s connected to and changed, so tonight we acknowledge the importance of it all and celebrate you, and wish you
continued energy to keep doing everything that you do. Thank you Rachael for your generosity, your insight, your passion, your grace and your wicked sense
of humor. It gives me great pleasure to welcome the 2019 recipient for the
Australia Council Award for Theatre, the extraordinary Rachael Maza.

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