The Banskia Awards recognise green initiatives with help from a-live

In late October, 2011 The Banksia Foundation hosted the 2011 Banksia Awards, Australia's most prestigious environmental awards recognising and celebrating the achievements in sustainable environmental excellence and innovation.

In late October, 2011 The Banksia Foundation hosted the 2011 Banksia Awards, Australia’s most prestigious environmental awards recognising and celebrating the achievements in sustainable environmental excellence and innovation.

Included in the 17 awards are The Prime Ministers Environmentalist of the Year Award, Environment Minister’s Young Environmentalist of the Year Award, Mercedes-Benz Australian Environmental Research Award and the Origin Gold Banksia Award.

The event, themed ‘The Art of Sustainability’ included a opening live dance performance.

“Our environment is a precious gift that we hold in trust for future generations and for the whole world. As chief patron of the Banksia Awards I am delighted to recognise innovation and excellence by the many business, governments, community groups and individuals who show responsibility as custodians of our national heritage” Julia Gillard, The Honourable Julia Gillard MP.

The Banksia Foundation have been producing the awards for over 19 years and, last year wanted to bring a sense of something new and different to the prestigious annual event. In 2011 The Banksia Foundation contracted Melbourne event production company alive to design, create and deliver the awards.

The event needed to demonstrate sound sustainability practice and be something quite different to previous formats. It had to demonstrate high quality and be more time efficient than previous years. In working with the client it became clear, to alive that not only was there an opportunity to revise the format of the awards but to also introduce a new category. alive created The Art of Sustainability – a broad theme that acknowledged the contribution that artists and performers make to raise awareness of environmental issues through the arts.

The Art of Sustainability was introduced as an award for 2012 and beyond. alive secured the internationally recognised sustainable venue and icon for the arts, the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA), in Sydney.

A custom performance piece saw pianist and composer Dr Allan Zavod collaborate with art Dr Charles Billich to create a painting made especially to raise funds for the foundation.  

“We are proud that the Parade Theatres are this year’s venue of choice for the annual Banksia Environmental Awards. The Banksia Environmental Foundation, through its award program underlines the importance of striving for best practice, particularly in the arts and cultural industries which are often categories by short term and single usage materials.” Lynne Williams director / CEO NIDA.

The awards format was revised from a sit down dinner to a cocktail function followed by a theatre presentation.This enabled quality time for sponsor, finalist and winner networking and the delivery of an efficient and entertaining awards ceremony.

alive created custom performance pieces for the awards which began with an emotive opening titled ‘Power of the Living’. Choreographed by The Squared Division and Tannos & Choice, this opening piece included a dynamic live dance performance coupled with emotive environmental footage and images of award finalists initiatives which were shown on a large screen. Together they communicated ‘The Beginning’, ‘The Destruction’ and ‘The Art of Sustainability’.

alive worked with internationally renowned pianist and composer, Dr Allan Zavod and multi-award winning artist Dr Charles Billich. Together they designed ‘Inside the Masterminds’ a creative collaboration which saw Zavod play his original piece ‘Flying Willow’ whilst Billich painted the final strokes on ‘eco-topia’, a 2mt x 2mt painting specifically created for the Banksia Environmental Foundation. Together they demonstrated the power art holds in expressing emotions and telling a story. ‘eco-topia’ is now on a national tour to raise awareness for the awards program.

The Banksia Awards stage at NIDA’s Parade Theatres.

As host, comedian Kitty Flanagan kept the night light and upcoming Melbourne Band ‘The Elliotts’ closed the awards with an original acoustic version of their song ‘My Favourite Place’.

“We are proud to be producing the Banksia Awards this Year and in particular, to be creating a platform for some of Australia’s best, recognised and soon to be discovered talent to share their self expression in the name of sustainability,” said alive director Ant Hampel.

Graz van Egmond, executive director of the Banksia Environmental Foundation said, “It is heartening to witness how each year the Banksia Award winners continue to be an example of the ingenuity and enthusiasm taking place around Australia. I was simply delighted in the results that alive were able to achieve for us. But it was not only in regards to the end result, the process of achieving this from every aspect was made so much more pleasurable through their efforts.”

To view a video of the event courtesy of ABC News click here.

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