Impact Awards


The PAC Australia Impact Awards, previously known as the Drover Awards, celebrate excellence in performing arts, leadership, new thinking and best practice, with a focus on lasting impact in communities.

PAC Australia have proudly been recognising excellence in performing arts through these awards since 2003.

In 2022, we have moved to relax the criteria for the awards, as a reflection of our ever-evolving industry and we are excited at the opportunity for more inclusive nominations.

From 2022, there are no award categories or structure for award eligibility. This means members are free to nominate each other, themselves and non-members.

The heart of the new award format remains the recognition of the winners’ contributions to the sector and up to eight awards will be bestowed each year.

Of note, from 2022, the highest achievement in the awards will now be known as the Wendy Blacklock Industry Legend Award, formally known as Touring Legend, and will reward exceptional, long-time service to the performing arts industry, not limited to touring. This Award honours the illustrious career and the services of Wendy Blacklock AM, who was a pioneer of national touring and founder of Performing Lines.

More information about this years Impact Awards can be found below. Nominations for the Impact Awards closed 8 August 2022 and winners will be announced at the Australian Performing Arts Exchange (APAX) on 5 September at the Yallamundi Room, Sydney Opera House.

2022 Key Dates


11 July 2022: Nominations open

8 August 2022: Nominations close

5 September 2022: Awards Ceremony, Yallamundi Room, Sydney Opera House


Who can nominate?

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  • Only PAC Australia members can lodge a nomination. They may nominate themselves, a fellow member, or a non-member.
  • A non-member cannot nominate themselves, but may be nominated by a PAC Australia member.
  • PAC Australia members may submit a joint nomination in support of a nominee.
  • PAC Australia members may submit multiple nominations each year.
  • PAC Australia members can choose to keep their nominations confidential, if they so wish. If the nominee is not the member themselves, and the member would like to keep their nomination confidential, the nominee will only be notified if they are to be bestowed an award.


What can be nominated?

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  • An individual, organisation or venue, production, tour or project can be nominated.


What awards will be bestowed?

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Three specific awards will be bestowed each year:

  • The Wendy Blacklock Industry Legend award – awarded to an individual or organisation.
  • The Performing Arts Centre or Presenter of the Year Impact Award – awarded to any performing arts centre or presenter based.
  • The Innovator Impact Award – awarded to any individual or organisation working within, or with, the PAC Australia membership specifically delivering innovative for the sector.


Up to an additional five Impact Awards will also be bestowed each year, to individuals or organisations who have had a positive impact on the sector, either through a short term project or initiative, or longer term contributions.


Who will determine the winners?

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Representatives from the PAC Australia board, plus a panel of five performing arts leaders will determine the winners each year.

In 2022, the panel members will be nominated by the PAC Australia board (as has been the process in previous years). From 2023, there will be a process undertaken every two years to call for nominations to sit on the awards panel with considerations of experience and representation taken into account when determining the final panel.

The awards panel will make a determination each year for the Wendy Blacklock Industry Legend award, without a specific call for nominations. This award may be bestowed to an organisation or an individual.


Who is Wendy Blacklock?

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From the early 1950s Wendy Blacklock spent 30 years as a performer working on radio, television and the stage in England, around Australia and New Zealand. She then decided in the early 1980s to become a Producer and joined the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust (now Australia Council for the Arts) where she set up an Australian Content Department. The Department was inundated by local artists who wanted to tour and in 1982 it began the important support of Aboriginal work by helping to get Robert Merritt’s The Cakeman to a world festival in Denver Colorado USA. Jack Davis’s work followed, representing Australia in Canada in 1986 and in London in 1989.

After 10 years the Australia Council set Wendy up as an independent not for profit company named Performing Lines. It began with one assistant, but when Wendy retired after 21 years it had seven producers, departments in three states and was turning over millions of dollars from producing, touring and supporting work both nationally and internationally.


What kinds of nominations will be considered?

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As a guiding framework, not as specific categories, organisations or individuals may be nominated in response to:

  • An outstanding or innovative collaboration/partnership, whether that be working directly with artists, industry colleagues, government or outside the sector;
  • Innovative touring models;
  • Achievement in programming/presenting;
  • Significant outcomes in performing arts centre management e.g. measurable and significant increase in audiences;
  • Achievement in producing or tour producing;
  • Significant audience response to a particular production/work;
  • Specific innovative local programs or engagement activities;
  • New initiatives in the fields of accessibility, sustainability or diversity;
  • Specific achievements for, and with, audiences and/or community;
  • A significant project which has delivered sector-wide outcomes.


The above list is not intended to be prescriptive – we welcome nominations that may sit outside these frameworks and they are provided as a guide only.


Award process and Panel Code of Conduct

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  • Panel members must declare conflict of interests.  A conflict may be perceived or actual.  A conflict will occur in the following instances:
    • A panel member is connected to a nominated organisation by virtue of their employment (either currently employed, or employed within the last three years)
    • A panel member is connected to a nominated individual by family ties or through a current or recent collegial relationship.
    • A panel member is financially tied to a nominated organisation, project or individual including by being a producing partner or an investor in any phase of a project/production.
  • If a conflict of interest is declared, it may be deemed necessary for the panelist to exit the deliberation at the discretion of the panel Chair, or the PAC Australia President, either for the entire deliberation process, or simply during the discussion of the nomination for which they have a conflict of interest.
  • Panel members are required to keep all discussions about awards confidential both before and after the awards are made.  All emails, correspondence, reports and files must be kept confidential leading up to the awards and destroyed after.
  • Panel members must not publicly talk about the awards in a manner that is less than positive.  It is not acceptable for panel members to talk about the awards in a disparaging, vindictive or harmful manner.
  • The panel’s decision is final, and no individual panel member may dispute the award or express their individual disagreement in public about decisions made.
  • “In public” is not limited to talking in public arenas.  It also means talking to colleagues, friends, industry members, publishing articles, sending emails or sharing information with other nominees.
  • Panel members must act honestly, with integrity and be impartial.


Previous PAC Australia Award Finalist and Winners

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