2017 Neil Curnow Award

17 November 2017

Clara Solly-Slade, emerging South Australian actor and Adelaide College of the Arts (TAFE SA) graduate, has won Helpmann Academy’s 2017 Neil Curnow Award, valued at $10,000.

The award will enable Clara to intern for three world-renowned organisations, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Company in Brooklyn, New York City, the H.E.A.T Collective in New York City, and Working Classroom in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The award was presented to Clara at Helpmann Academy’s 2017 Celebration and Fundraiser held at Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, on Thursday 16 November 2017.

Clara will travel to the USA in 2018 to undertake a four-week internship with Working Classroom, an award-winning arts and education program promoting the creative, academic, and leadership potential of talented young artists from historically ignored communities.

She will then spend four weeks interning for La MaMa, an arts organisation with a worldwide reputation for supporting fearless and provocative theatre, while helping artists gain a foothold in New York City. Earlier this year, the Helpmann Academy supported Clara to attend La MaMa’s 2017 International Symposium for Directors and Theatre Makers in Umbria, Italy.

Finally, Clara will intern with H.E.A.T (Healing Education Activism and Theatre) Collective. The collective run programs internationally, working to connect, heal, and spread peaceful activism through art within communities. This has included programs in Palestine, Lebanon, India, England, and the U.S.

Through the internships, Clara aims to gain a deeper understanding of how arts organisations are run, and how international companies connect and partner with external bodies, both artistic and non-artistic.

Clara said she hopes to build and run her own socially-sustainable theatre company in Australia. “I love South Australia and am so proud to be an artist in the thriving artistic community we have here,” she said.

“Winning the 2017 Neil Curnow award is going facilitate the most exciting opportunities of my professional career thus far. The Helpmann Academy has been an enormous support to me since I graduated from Adelaide College of the Arts, giving me the opportunity to undertake projects and training that would never have been possible without their backing.”

Jane MacFarlane, Helpmann Academy CEO, said that the internships and training Clara will participate in are unique opportunities. “Helpmann is delighted to be supporting Clara in her goal to make socially engaged work that will help strengthen, build, and empower communities in South Australia.”

Established in 2005, and facilitated by the Helpmann Academy on behalf of the Independent Arts Foundation, the Neil Curnow Award is made possible through the generous bequest of the late Neil Curnow.

The award is available to final-year students and graduates under the age of 30 who have studied theatre at Flinders University Drama Centre or TAFE SA’s Adelaide College of the Arts, and supports the recipient to undertake further study or career development in acting/theatre performance or direction.

Congratulations Clara!

Presented in partnership with the Independent Arts Foundation

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