Dialog Box


Once more the Sydney Theatre Awards was a night to celebrate our theatre performers and creatives. It was also a chance to honour and thank those who have given a lifetime commitment to live theatre and to encourage a NIDA student studying for a career in show business.

Two Lifetime Achievement Awards were announced. Glenn Hazeldine the ABF Deputy Chair, presented the first to the much-loved former Sydney Theatre Company Wardrobe Mistress Jane Seldon.  Jane was also the partner of our beloved, ABF Chair John Gregg who passed away in 2021.

Jane Seldon and Glenn Hazeldine

Over four decades Jane dedicated her working life to the care of actors. A smiling face backstage as she dressed them, repaired and maintained their costumes and ensured that the world behind the scenes was a warm, caring and generous place. Actors, creatives and crew adored her. They were her family and she treated them to home-made goodies served on crisp white table cloths and was always available with a sympathetic ear for their troubles. Her Christmas cakes became legendary and throughout John’s years as Chair of ABF, they were the centre piece of the Christmas party table. While audiences were never aware of Jane’s dedication those working on and backstage were eternally grateful to her.

It was therefore especially appropriate that the Actors Benevolent Fund Encouragement Award was presented to a costume design student, Sophy Grace Simpson. The newly elected Chair of Actors Benevolent Fund Valerie Bader, congratulated Sophy on receiving the $3000 award. She wished her well in her crucial second year of study and a long and successful career ahead.

This was the eighth year in which the Actors Benevolent Fund Encouragement Award has been presented to give financial assistance a NIDA student entering second year in any stream of study.

Sophy Grace Simpson – ABF Encouragement Award Winner

The second Lifetime Award was presented to legendary composer, director, and educator Terence (Terry) Clarke AM

Looking at home at the piano, he accompanied original cast members of Summer Rain as they sang Once In A Blue Moon. ABF Chair Valerie Bader, former committee member Peter Carroll, STA Fund Patron Nancye Hayes, Genevieve Lemon and Donna Lee reprised the song to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the musical composed by Terence Clarke with book and lyrics by the late Nick Enright.

A standing ovation followed the announcement of the Lifetime Achievement Award to an astounded and deeply moved Terence Clarke. It was presented by actor Tony Llewellyn- Jones.

Terence Clarke at piano. Left to right: Nancye Hayes, Peter Carroll, Genevieve Lemon, Valerie Bader singing Once in a Blue Moon from Summer Rain.

Over his long career Terence Clarke has directed over 120 productions including premier works for the original Nimrod Theatre Company. He founded the first professional regional company in Australia, The Hunter Valley Theatre Company, was Artistic Director of the National Playwrights Conference and was Head of Directing for NIDA. In addition to Summer Rain, Terence composed music to Nick Enright’s book and lyrics for The Venetian Twins and Variations, to Dorothy Hewett’s Catspaw and Jarrabin, to Ron Blair’s Flash Jim Vaux and to John Croyston’s Lysistrata. In 2007 Clarke was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the performing arts as a director, actor, writer, composer, and educator.

The Awards were hosted by the irrepressible Marney McQueen with presenters chosen from every part of the live theatre family and directed by Ian Phipps. It was as always, a grand night of celebration of the business we call show.

Tony Llewellyn Jones and Terence Clarke. Background: Genevieve Lemon, Donna Lee, Nancye Hayes and Peter Carroll

08 February 2024
Category: News
Tags: ABF, ABF Encouragement Award, Actors Benevolent Fund, Sydney Theatre Awards, Sydney Theatre Awards 2023,