The Green Room Awards Association’s object is to award excellence in the professional performing arts in Melbourne.
The Green Room is not always painted green but is the gathering place backstage for all performers before and after they have made their entrances. The first Green Room was in London’s Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and remains a place in all theatres where some very honest judgements are given – the judgements of one’s peers.
Our Association was formed in 1982 by Blair Edgar and Stephen Tandy. Representatives of performers, designers, artistic directors, administrators, managements and the Victorian Ministry for the Arts met in Melbourne’s old Green Room Club and the concept of the Green Room Awards was born. It is a not-for-profit organisation devoted to the professional theatre and its members are professional theatre practitioners.
- The first Green Room Awards for 1983 were presented in the foyer of the Melbourne Concert Hall (now Hamer Hall) in February 1984.
- In 1987, the 3rd Tuesday in February was declared ‘Theatre Day’ by the City of Melbourne.
- Originally award winners received a medallion or trophy featuring a design by Anne Fraser, who was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995.
- The Association registered its trademark in 1996.
- The green trophies were first designed and presented in 2001.
- The Association also makes special awards from time to time and awards in association with other philanthropic organisations.
The Green Room Awards are for everyone who works in the theatre across the disciplines of drama in its spoken word and not-so-spoken forms, opera, dance, music theatre, cabaret and hybrid.
The voting year is from January 1st to December 31st. In January, the sub-committees meet in order to determine categories and then, through discussion and vote and the elimination of many potential nominees, they arrive at a maximum of five nominees within each category. Nominations are then finalised and approved at a ratification meeting attended by all members of the Association.
In February, each member of the respective sub-committees votes by secret ballot to determine the recipients of each particular award. From time to time a survey of the year’s work within a particular panel may necessitate the creation of a new category, the revival of a former one or the exclusion of a category that year. As the various disciplines continue to interact, new forms evolve which require us to morph and adapt existing guidelines to encompass the uniqueness of emerging work.
Named awards which may be presented by the Green Room Awards Association in a particular year include (but are not limited to):
The Lifetime Achievement Award: This award is made to a person who is distinguished by the quality, profile and longevity of their achievements and by the extent to which their contribution has been of value to a younger generation of practitioners. The person need not have a direct affiliation with Melbourne, but their career will have had a significant connection and contribution to the professional stage in Melbourne.
The Technical Achievement Award: This award acknowledges the invaluable contribution of those who the audience does not see – a theatre-maker who has advanced the form through their technical excellence in aspects of theatre craft other than performance.
The Betty Pounder Award for Original Choreography: In acknowledgement and memory of the inimitable Betty Pounder (1922-1990), all-round choreographer whose years at JC Williamson’s cemented her role as one of the most significant contributors to dance, particularly for music theatre, in post-war Australia.