Stephen Page Bangarra

Stephen Page Bangarra




Andrew Kay AM, President of Live Performance Australia, today announced that Stephen Page, Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre, will be the recipient of the 2016 JC Williamson Award®.  The announcement was made on the stage of the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House with dancers from Bangarra Dance Theatre in attendance.  The Award will be presented to Stephen Page at the 2016 Helpmann Awards Ceremony on Monday 25 July at the Sydney Lyric Theatre.


The JC Williamson Award® is bestowed on an individual who has made a truly outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Australia's live performance culture and shaped the future of the industry for the better.  Previous recipients of the JC Williamson Award® include Paul Kelly, Kylie Minogue OBE, Dr Jimmy Little AO, John Bell AO OBE, Michael Gudinski AM, Barry Humphries AO CBE, Dame Joan Sutherland OM AC DBE, David Williamson AO and

Graeme Murphy AM.


This year Stephen Page celebrates his 25th anniversary as the Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre.  He has developed a signature body of works that have redefined contemporary dance in Australia and his creative credits span not only dance but theatre, opera and film.  Offstage Stephen has mentored and created opportunities for countless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and youth, and has been a champion of social justice for Indigenous people.  He has recently premiered Nyapanyapa, his 23rd work for Bangarra, inspired by the paintings of Nyapanyapa Yunupingu, as part of the OUR land people stories triple bill.


Andrew Kay said 'The JC Williamson Award is bestowed only on the greatest of the greats of our Live Performance Industry. Stephen Page's contribution to Australian culture over the last 25 years has been nothing short of extraordinary. His body of work seamlessly crosses genres."


'He continues to reinvent Indigenous storytelling across those genres. He has directed and or choreographed dance, opera and theatre as well as major events such as the Indigenous Sections of the 2000 Sydney Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies."


'In this his 25th year at the helm of this great company, Bangarra Dance Theatre, there is no better time to recognise his exceptional contribution to Australia and Australian culture than through this award."


Stephen Page said: 'I have been fortunate to have worked with so many inspiring communities, artists and creatives during my 25-year tenure as Artistic Director of Bangarra.  It is a truly unique Australian company and I am so proud of everything we have achieved.  The stories we share are sacred and I feel privileged to play a role in the vital care taking of these stories, through the intimate weaving of culture and contemporary dance."


The Helpmann Awards are proudly supported by the New South Wales Government, through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.  NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events, Stuart Ayres congratulated Stephen Page and said 'The JC Williamson Award is a prestigious accolade that recognises an individual's outstanding contribution to the live performance industry and I congratulate this year's recipient Stephen Page.  Stephen has proudly led Bangarra Dance Theatre as its Artistic Director for 25 years and it is most fitting that he receive this acknowledgement from his peers on this special anniversary."


The Helpmann Awards, presented by Live Performance Australia, are the premier celebration of Australia's vibrant live performance industry and recognise distinguished achievement and excellence in Australia's live performance sectors including musical theatre, contemporary music, comedy, opera, classical music, theatre, dance and physical theatre, children's presentations, regional touring and cabaret.


The 2016 Helpmann Awards will be broadcast live on Foxtel Arts and webcast free via



Stephen Page

Born in Brisbane, Stephen is a descendant of the Nunukul people and the Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh Nation from SE Queensland. In 1991 Stephen was appointed Artistic Director of the internationally acclaimed Bangarra Dance Theatre and has developed a signature body of works that have become milestones in Australian performing arts.


Stephen continues to reinvent Indigenous story-telling both within Bangarra and through collaborations with other performing arts companies most notably directing the Indigenous sections for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as Artistic Director of the 2004 Adelaide Festival of the Arts, writing and directing Bloodland with Wayne Blair and Kathy Balngayngu Marika for Sydney Theatre Company in association with Bangarra. Stephen made his directorial debut in 2012, directing the chapter Sand in the feature film The Turning and was Artistic Associate for Sydney Theatre Company's production of The Secret River as part of the Sydney Festival. He choreographed the feature films Bran Nue Dae (2009) and The Sapphires (2011).


In 2008 Stephen was named NSW Australian of the Year in recognition of his efforts to bring cultures together through the performing arts and his commitment to developing the next generation of Indigenous storytellers. In 2010 Stephen was honoured at the Australian Dance Awards for his Services to Dance and in 2012 received the NAIDOC Award for Artist of the Year.


In 2014 Stephen choreographed Bangarra's acclaimed new work Patyegarang. This production celebrated Bangarra's 25th anniversary in 2014 and was seen by almost 40,000 people nationally, marking Bangarra's most successful season yet. That same year, Stephen led the company's largest ever regional tour, performing in regional centres and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities over nine weeks.


In 2015, Stephen was awarded a Honorary Doctorate of Creative Arts by the University of Technology Sydney for his contribution to the arts and Indigenous culture. He curated Bangarra's new work lore touring nationally in 2015. He also directed his first full-length film Spear (based on the production of the same name from the Skin double bill in 2000) which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival before screening at various arts festivals around Australia in early 2016.


In 2016, Stephen celebrates his 25th year as Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre. He has recently premiered Nyapanyapa, his 23rd work for Bangarra, inspired by the paintings of Nyapanyapa Yunupingu as part of the OUR land people stories triple bill.