Local artists and regions shine at Ruby Awards

From imported big-budget operas to intimate local work and giant open-air regional projects, the winners of the 2017 Ruby Awards showed that great art can be enjoyed by almost anyone, anywhere in South Australia.

A packed Queen’s Theatre enjoyed the annual arts and cultural celebration, which was hosted by theatre all-rounder Cameron Goodall on Saturday, December 2.

Individual awards went to theatre maker Alysha Herrmann of Carclew (the Geoff Crowhurst Memorial Award), Feast’s Margie Fischer (Sustained Contribution by an Individual) and WOMADelaide’s director Ian Scobie, who took home the Premier’s Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Some of South Australia’s regions were also big winners. The Coorong District Council project Creating Coonalpyn, which saw the town transformed into a giant open-air gallery, won the Community or Regional Impact under $100,000 while the City of Whyalla (with Adelaide Fringe) won the People’s Choice Award for its inaugural UneARTh Festival.

The 2017 Adelaide Festival took home Best Event for this year’s Festival as well as Best Work for its big budget Glyndebourne Opera centrepiece, Saul, which was directed by former Adelaide Festival artistic director Barrie Kosky.

The disability arts groups Restless Dance Theatre and Tutti Arts also won Ruby Awards with the former taking home the Arts Innovation and Enterprise Award for its small but innovative show Intimate Space while Tutti Arts was awarded Sustained Contribution by an Organisation or a Group award.

Finally, the 2016 SALA Festival was awarded the Community or Regional Impact over $100,000 gong.

The full list of winners and finalists is below.

2017 Ruby Awards Winners and Finalists

Best Work


(photo: Tony Lewis)

WINNER: Saul (Adelaide Festival)

FINALISTS: The Secret River (Adelaide Festival and State Theatre Company of South Australia); Intimate Space (Restless Dance Theatre); 19 Weeks (Tiffany Lyndall Knight, Emily Steel, Daisy Brown and Mario Späte); Rumpelstiltskin (Windmill Theatre Co and State Theatre)

Best Event


(photo: Sia Duff)

WINNER: 2017 Adelaide Festival

FINALISTS: 2017 DreamBIG Children’s Festival Big Family Weekend; The Art of Science: Baudin’s Voyagers 1800-1804  (SA Maritime Museum); Yidaki: Didjeridu and the Sound of Australia (South Australian Museum; Wonderwalls 2017 (Renewal SA)

Community or Regional Impact under $100,000


(photo: Glenn Power)

WINNER: Creating Coonalpyn (Coorong District Council)

FINALISTS: 2017 UneARTh Festival Whyalla (City of Whyalla and Adelaide Fringe); 2017 SALT Festival (Southern Eyre Arts Inc); Losing Faith in Unicorns (Kids Against Humanity); Sista Girl (State Theatre)

Community or Regional Impact over $100,000

WINNER: 2016 SALA Festival

FINALISTS: The Secret River (Adelaide Festival and State Theatre); Stirling Fringe (Bamboozled Productions)

Arts Innovation and Enterprise


(photo: Shane Reid)

WINNER: Intimate Space (Restless Dance Theatre)

FINALISTS: Backbone (Gravity & Other Myths); Slingsby’s Market Development and Giving Circles (Slingsby Theatre); 19 Weeks (Tiffany Lyndall Knight, Emily Steel, Daisy Brown and Mario Späte)

Sustained Contribution by an Organisation or Group


(photo: Pavlos Soteriou)

WINNER: Tutti Arts

FINALISTS: Music SA; Vitalstatistix

Sustained Contribution by an Individual

margie-fischer-feast-festival-adelaide-review-sia-duff-2
(photo: Sia Duff)

WINNER: Margie Fischer

Geoff Crowhurst Memorial Award

WINNER: Alysha Herrmann

People’s Choice Award


(photo: Trentino Priori)

WINNER: 2017 UneARTh Festival Whyalla (City of Whyalla and Adelaide Fringe)

Premier’s Award for Lifetime Achievement

WINNER: Ian Scobie AM

Disclosure: The writer was a 2017 Ruby Awards judge.

X