Performing Arts well represented in Australia Day Awards

Leading lights from the performing arts industry were honoured as Officers of the Order, including actor Hugo Weaving, Professor Larissa Behrendt, previous chair of Bangarra Dance Theatre and AMPAG board member, and philanthropist Julie Kantor.

Performing Arts well represented in Australia Day Awards


This year, 837 men and women were recognised across the four categories in the General Division of the Order of Australia, with the highest percentage ever (41.6%) of women recipients, but is still below 50 per cent.

The general division of the Order of Australia breaks down into four levels, in descending order of exclusivity: Companions of the Order (AC), Officers of the Order (AO), Members of the Order (AM), Medal of the Order (OAM). There were 549 recipients of the OAM, 224 of the AM, 59 of the AO, and 5 of the AC. The performing arts were well represented across four of the five categories:

Officers of the Order (AO)

Hugo Weaving was honoured for distinguished service to the performing arts as an actor, and as a mentor of young writers, directors and film makers;Professor Larissa Behrendt was recognised for distinguished service to Indigenous education, to the law, and to the visual and performing arts; while philanthropistJulie Kantor was made an Officer of the Order for philanthropy, to Indigenous governance initiatives, and to the visual and performing arts; and past Bell Shakespeare Chair,Ilana Atlas was recognised For distinguished service to the financial and manufacturing sectors, to education, and to the arts.

Members of the Order (AM)

The newest Members of the Order (OAM) include the current Artistic Director for ILBIJERRI Theatre Company, actor and directorRachael Maza; dancer and choreographerPaul Mercurio who was with Sydney Dance Company for 10 years, andClaire Spencer, CEO of Arts Centre Melbourne.

Conductor, pianist and musical director Roland Peelman, currently the Artistic Director the Canberra International Music Festival, was recognised for his service to music;Wesley Enoch, director and writer, and currently Director of the Sydney Festival, was honoured for significant service to the performing arts as an Indigenous director and playwright, while musician, composer, singer-songwriter, actor and effervescent comedianTim Minchin was honoured for his significant service to the performing arts and to the community.

Others to receive an AM includes arts administrator and previous CEO of Black Swan Stat Theatre CompanyShane Colquhoun;  conductorEmily Cox, the Music Director of Brisbane Chorale and founding Music Director of the Canticum Chamber Choir;  Douglas Lawrence, founder of the Australian Chamber Choir in Melbourne; Melbourne Opera board member and former ChairmanMichael Wright QC; musical theatre starCaroline O’Connor; entertainerCarlotta (Carol Spencer); musical directorMichael Tyack; actorHeather Mitchell and musiciansPaul Field, Deborah Conway, Andrew Farriss andGlenn Shorrock.

Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)

The remarkably talented actor, playwright and screenwriter Kate Mulvany was honoured for her service to the performing arts. Kate’s adaptation ofMary Stuartpremiered for Sydney Theatre Company last year, following her 2018 award-winning adaptation of Ruth Park’sThe Harp in the South, and her 2017 performance in Bell Shakespeare’s production ofRichard III earned her theHelpmann award for best female lead and adaptation of Craig Silvey’s Jasper Jones was produced at the STCSA last year after being produced at QT, Belvoir Street Theatre and the MTC. The hugely talentedJane Turner who is current onstage in MTC’s Hello, I’m Darling was recognised for her service to the performing arts as a writer, actor and comedian.

Robert Titterton, who held positions with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Sydney Youth Orchestras, and who served as Chair of Omega Ensemble for 10 years, received a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to music through orchestras and ensembles.   

Other recipients include Emma Webb, Director of Vitalstatistix;Anni Davey, Artistic Director of the Flying Fruit Fly Circus — for service to circus performance and physical theatre; and her twin, actorMaude Davey, who received an OAM for service to the performing arts, particularly as an artistic director. Anni and Maude Davey have been working at the forefront of the independent performance scene in Melbourne for over twenty years

Find the full list here: