Songlines and the Melbourne Indigenous Arts Festival.

Vipa awards

Melbourne Indigenous Arts Festival

Presented by ILBIJERRI Theatre Company

The VIPA Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and arts workers in the Indigenous performing arts across Victoria.

ILBIJERRI has presented the Victorian Indigenous Performing Arts (VIPA) Awards for the last 16 years to celebrate the outstanding achievements in the Indigenous performing arts across Victoria. The awards are open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who live and work in Victoria and are peer-assessed over a twelve month period.

In 2014 ILBIJERRI and Songlines presented six awards in the categories of Theatre and Music on Sunday 16 February 2014 at Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall.

The VIPA Awards are supported by VicHealth, Aboriginal Benefits Foundation and the City of Melbourne.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Iain Finlayson Development & Marketing Manager [email protected]

Award Categories


Aunty Eleanor Harding Award To encourage and support an emerging talent in Victorian Indigenous theatre

Uncle Jack Charles Award Recognising significant achievement by a Victorian Indigenous theatre practitioner over the last twelve months

Uncle Bob Maza Award Acknowledges a significant contribution to Indigenous theatre over a number of years


Song of the Year Awarded for a successful new single by an Indigenous artist or act that has been released in the last twelve months

Most Promising Act Awarded to a new or emerging Indigenous artist or act that has demonstrated great promise in 2012

Recognition of Contribution to the Victorian Indigenous Music Industry Awarded to an Indigenous artists or act that has made a significant contribution to the industry over a number of years.


Please send details of any performances you would like considered for a VIPA Award to Monica McDonald Office Manager [email protected]



Aunty Eleanor Harding Memorial Award - Carly Sheppard

Based in Melbourne, Carly Sheppard is an Indigenous dancer and choreographer descending from the Kurtcha and Talaluk Tribes of North QLD. Carly has worked with a range of artists and companies. Her current projects include performing with Ochre Contemporary Dance Company, Circus With Spice, a community circus project in New Delhi, India, by Vertical Circus, and her first Independent choreographic project for the 2014 Next Wave Festival.

Uncle Jack Charles Award - Kevin Kropinyeri

After winning the 2008 Melbourne Comedy Festival’s national Deadly Funny comedy competition, Kevin has quickly established himself on the national circuit, touring for almost twelve months of the year and releasing his own live DVD. Special highlights have included appearances at the Deadly Awards three years running and touring with the internationally famous Chooky Dancers.

Uncle Bob Maza Award - Noel Tovey

Noel has had a career spanning 60 years in Europe and Australia as an actor, dancer, singer, director choreographer, designer, writer and teacher. Among his many career highlights include; being a Principal dancer with the Sadler Wells Opera Ballet, choreographing the 1966 revival of The Boyfriend in the West End, performing in the world premiere of Oh! Calcutta!, co-founding the London Children’s Theatre and directing the ground breaking Indigenous production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the 2000 Olympics at the Sydney Theatre Company.


Most Promising Act Award - Crystal Mercy

Crystal Mercy is a proud Kokkath woman from Ceduna, South Australia. Starting out as a fiery femme fatale rapper, Lady Lash, Crystal has now found a perfect niche for her powerful voice by incorporating her love of blues and jazz into her musical repertoire. Crystal’s debut album ‘The Fisherman’s Daughter’ was released in 2013.

Song Of The Year Award - ‘Freedom Called’ By Dave Arden

Dave Arden is a songman who belongs to the Gunditjmara clan in Western District Victoria and the Googatha people of South Australia. He is a prolific and accomplished musician who has played for more than two decades alongside many of Australia’s music greats including Archie Roach, Kutcha Edwards and Shane Howard.

Contribution To The Victorian Music Industry Award - Lou Bennett

Lou is a consummate performer hailing from Yorta Yorta/Dja Dja Wurrung country in Victoria. Lou is currently Artistic Director of Black Arm Band, who have toured to every major centre nationally, extensively throughout remote and regional Australia and have undertaken five successful major international tours. Lou has been instrumental in the journey of Black Arm Band from ‘special project’ to fully independent Aboriginal governed company.


‘Victorian Indigenous artists honoured at awards’, VicHealth, 2014 [Read More]

‘Winners of the 2012 Victorian Indigenous Performing Arts Awards announced’, Australian Stage, 2012 [Read More]

‘Awards honour Victoria’s Indigenous performers’, Arts Victoria, 2012 [Read More]

‘A night to remember: 2012 VIPA Awards’, Aussie Theatre, 2012 [Read More]


16 February 2014 Melbourne Indigenous Arts Festival, Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall

26 November 2012 Wonderland Speigeltent

5 November 2010 Bunjilaka, Melbourne Museum

2 December 2009 The Toff in Town

6 November 2008 The Famous Speigeltent, Arts Centre Melbourne

14 December 2007 Dante’s

15 December 2006 Dante’s

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