In 2002 the Fund created a special award for Outstanding Contribution to the Performing Arts in Queensland.

This award was re-named the Alan Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003, to honour the memory of our Founding President Alan Edwards AM MBE JP.

You can read more of his history below.

The Alan Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Performing Arts in Queensland is presented annually to someone who has contributed a great deal to the industry above and beyond the call of duty.

This Award is presented at a special morning tea attended by friends and industry colleagues.

About Alan Edwards

English born, Alan Edwards was brought to Australia in 1964 to take up an appointment as Tutor in Acting at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney.

At an early age he had decided to make the theatre his profession and had won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London. However, World War II intervened during which he joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and rose to the rank of Captain. During his service in Kenya he was in charge of the Forces Broadcasting Service in Nairobi.

After the War, he won a scholarship to the Old Vic School and after graduating joined The Young Vic Company, performing for Young People. He worked in various Repertory Theatre in both England and Scotland before joining the prestigious Birmingham Repertory Theatres under Sir Barry Jackson, where he stayed for two years.

In 1956, Alan left Birmingham to appear for the BBC in a series of television productions and for the next eight years he worked mainly in London where he acted in film, television, radio and the West End of London. He also directed several plays for various Repertory Theatres.

During this time he began his teaching career at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and he also taught at the Central School of Speech and Drama, the Rose Bruford College and Toynbee Hall.

In 1962 he went into Management and co-founded TEAMWORK, presenting revues in London, Oxford and ‘on the fringe’ at the Edinburgh International Festivalin 1963.

On arrival in Australia, Alan combined his teaching duties with as much involvement with professional theatre as possible. He appeared for the Old Tote Theatre many times, at the Theatre Royal, Hobart and played a number of major roles for ABC Television and Radio and for Commercial TV and Radio.

In 1966 he was selected by Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko to read English translations of his poetry with Dame Judith Anderson during the poet’s tour of Australia.

He became the Founding Director of the Queensland Theatre Company, taking up his position in November 1969. After serving for 19 years he resigned from the company in 1988.

His numerous productions and performances for Queensland Theatre Company have made him one of the best known and respected identities of the Australian stage.

After serving a four year term as a member of the Theatre Board of the Australia Council, Alan, in 1982 was re-appointed for a further year. He was Chairman of the Steering Committee which brought into being the Confederation of Australian Performing Arts (CAPPA) and later served as its Vice-Chairman.

He was a board member of the Queensland Performing Arts Trust for 10 years, Inaugural President of the Actors’ & Entertainers’ Benevolent Fund (Qld) Inc., Patron of the Queensland Theatre of the Deaf, a Member of the Immigration Review Panel (Queensland) and was a Justice of the Peace.

In 1982 he was a recipient of the Advance Australia Award for his contribution to Theatre. In 1983 he was a Finalist in the Queenslander of the Year Award and in the same year he was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) by Her Majesty the Queen for his valuable contribution to the advancement of Queensland’s cultural life.

In 1984 he became and Australian Citizen. In 1990 he was appointed a Member of Australia (AM) in the Australia Day Honours List for his services to the performing arts.

In 1994 he was the recipient of a Brisbane Theatre Critic’s Matilda Award. In 1997 he received The Glugs of Gosh Award for Excellence in Theatre and in 1998 he was awarded a Doctorate of Letters (honoris causa) by the University of Southern Queensland.

As the Founding Director of the Queensland Theatre Company Alan made many appearances with the company and was acclaimed for his performances in such roles as Salieri in AMADEUS, The Psychiatrist in EQUUS, Professor Higgins in PYGMALION, Dr Alfred Feldman in DUET FOR ONE and The Chorus in HENRY V, which he also directed.

Other roles have included Judge Don Gusman in THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO (Queensland Theatre Company/ENERGEX Brisbane Festival 1998), Baptista in THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (Queensland Ballet), Cicero in JULIUS CAESAR (Queensland Theatre Company), Sir Peter Teazle in THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL (Queensland Theatre Company), Richard Noakes in ARCADIA (Queensland Theatre Company) and Mr Diagilsmith in TIGHTROPE (Queensland Ballet).

Alan also appeared in a variety of roles with companies including Sydney Theatre Company, Northside Theatre Company, Phillip Street Productions, La Boite Theatre, The House is Live, Opera Queensland, Queensland Performing Arts Trust and Seymour Productions.

As a Director, some of Alan’s favourite productions were the musicals ANNIE and HELLO, DOLLY! (Queensland Theatre Company), BLITHE SPIRIT, HENRY V,LONG DAYS JOURNEY INTO NIGHT (Queensland Theatre Company) and CARAVAN (New England Theatre Company).

During his last few years Alan continued his non-stop passion and commitment to the arts in Queensland with a vigour most people half his age could never keep up with.

Alan’s final appearance on stage was as part of THE WAY WE WERE in the Playhouse, QPAC in 2002, which was a special performance for the Brisbane Festival that looked back and saluted the rich arts and entertainment history and performers of Queensland. He was and will remain an indelible part of that history.

2002Leo Wockner(Actor/Union Activist)
2003Carol Burns(Actor/Director)
2004Errol O'Neill(Actor/Playwright)
2005Kaye Stevenson(Actor)
2006Rod Horton (Arts Administrator)
2007 Penny Everingham (Actor/Puppeteer)
2008Dr Tony Gould AM (Arts Administrator and Champion of the Arts in Qld)
2009Joan Whalley OAM(Actor/Director/Teacher/Mentor)
2010 June Craw OAM(Arts Administrator)
2011No award presented
2012Brian Tucker CPA (Arts Supporter/Advocate)
2013Dianne Eden(Teacher/Mentor/Arts Advocate)
2014Jim Vilé(Artistic Director/Teacher/Director/Mentor)
2015Michael Forde(Actor/Playwright/Director/Mentor)
2015Margery Forde(Actor/Playwright/Director/Mentor)
2016Sue Rider(Artistic Director/Director/Dramaturg/Actor/Writer/Producer/Mentor)
2017Robby Nason(Arts Administrator/Costume Designer/Arts Archivist/Mentor)
2018David Walters(Lighting Designer/Mentor)
2019Sue Benner(Arts Administrator/Director/Writer)
2020Kate Foy(Actor/Teacher/Mentor)
2021Roxanne McDonald(Actor)