Area 53 recognised with Arts South Australia honour


IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Lead artists Anthony Kelly and Claire Glenn along with youth artists Joseph Matthews, Lachlan Judd and Adam Oosthuizen collect the Ruby Award for D'Faces. Picture: Alysha Herrmann

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 City of Whyalla’s uneARTh Festival which 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, recognising artistic excellence, creative achievement, innovation, community involvement and inspirational leaders who have made a difference to the artistic and cultural life of the state. 

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. D’Faces beat Collectors/Collections: Waikerie Films; Mi:Wi 2017 – Country Arts SA; and SCC Fringe 2018 for the award.


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.

The City of Whyalla is a supporter of D’Faces with Mayor Clare McLaughlin, who is a former board member of D'Faces, 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,” Mayor McLaughlin 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. 

Area 53 was also a finalist in Best Work, Event or Project for Young People while Whyalla production company Stormfront Productions was a finalist, for the second year running, for Outstanding Contribution by an Organisation or Group. 


Best Regional or Community Event or Project finalists

AREA 53 - D'Faces of Youth Arts Inc.

Collectors/Collections: Waikerie Films – Waikerie District Historical Society and OSCA - Open Space Contemporary Arts

Mi:Wi 3027 - Country Arts SA

SCC Fringe 2018 - Art Engineers (Julianne Pierce), Ashley Sierp and Southern Cross Care


Best Work, Event or Project for Young People

AREA 53 - D'Faces of Youth Arts Inc.

Beep - Windmill Theatre Co

Neo - Art Gallery of South Australia

Ngarrindjeri Yanun (Aboriginal Artist Development Initiative) – Carclew Youth Arts 


Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Organisation or Group

ActNow Theatre

Stormfront Productions

True North Youth Theatre Ensemble







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