Whyalla has again proven itself as a premiere arts precinct with its second Ruby Award in as many years.
D’Faces of Youth Arts Inc has taken out the Best Community or Regional Event or Project at the Arts South Australia 2018 Ruby Awards for the Area 53 project.
The youth group’s win follows the Whyalla City Council’s uneARTh Festival that took out the People’s Choice Award last year.
Now in its 13th year, the Ruby Awards is Arts South Australia's annual celebration of South Australia’s arts and cultural sector.
The Best Community or Regional Event or Project recognises the best artistic or cultural event, project or initiative of the year that had a significant positive impact on a community or region in South Australia.
The creators of the original Area 53 concept, Lachlan Judd and Adam Oothuizen along with Joseph Matthews and lead artists Claire Glenn and Anthony Kelly from D’Faces, were on hand to collect the award during a gala event at the Queen’s Theatre in Adelaide on Saturday night.
Mayor Clare McLaughlin, who is a former board member of D'Faces, was full of praise for the youth arts group and its production.
“For Whyalla to win a Ruby Award two years in a row and also have multiple finalists shows our city has a vibrant arts heartbeat,” she said.
“Not only that, this year’s win by D’Faces shows we have a new crop of talented young people coming through and showing the way when it comes to arts initiative and creativity.
“Area 53 is a fantastic production we were proud to have at the uneARTh Festival this year and we wish them all the best as this year’s Adelaide Fringe.”
Running as a satellite event during the 2018 uneARTh Festival, Area 53 has now been invited to perform at this year’s internationally-acclaimed Adelaide Fringe.
Area 53 was funded by Country Arts SA through the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund and supported by the City of Whyalla with the use of facilities and its Cultural Arts Facilitator Deb Hughes.
Area 53 is an experiential theatre work directed by lead artists Claire Glenn and Anthony Kelly in collaboration with D’Faces, Whyalla's youth arts company providing workshops and special programs for young people.
In the midst of Whyalla’s economic uncertainty before the sale of Arrium, Adam and Lachlan came up with the idea to fake an alien invasion to create alien enthusiast tourism in the city and thus Whyalla became Area 53.
Inside the city's old library the young people built a top-secret government lab installation to study alien activity and smuggled audiences inside to uncover the secrets of Area 53.
Company Manager Olivia White said the Ruby Award was the ‘icing on the cake’ for D’Faces.
“It really does get D’faces noticed as a small regional company we are so proud to have Area 53 win this award. That a small regional youth arts company can win such a major award is encouraging,” she said.
“The young people who created Area 53 are proud of what they have made.”