Artist of the year

recognising the success and contribution of our artists

In early 2012 the festival committee discussed the need to raise the profile of the region’s arts community, specifically highlighting the successful artists who have emerged from the region.

It had become evident that, whilst many of our professional artists were well known, often our current residents were not aware such artists were from our region.

After discussion with several members of the arts community, and deliberation by the festival committee, the DREAM Artist of the Year Award was established. This award aims to put the spotlight on our successful artists, providing inspiration to our young artists – ensuring they know that growing up in a rural area is not a barrier.

In 2013 our Assessment Panel was expanded to include representatives of several key arts organisations within the community who have the difficult task of assessing the nominations each year.

Applications for the 2018 Artist of the Year have closed. Keep an eye out for an announcement in the near future.




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2017 - Libby Gleeson

An internationally renowned author of over 40 popular, highly acclaimed books for children and teenagers, Libby spent the formative years of her life in Dubbo, completing her schooling at Dubbo High School. She was school captain and dux in 1968.


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2016 - Lisa Edwards

Lisa is a classical ballet dancer who has been performing with the Queensland Ballet Company since 2004. Prior to this, Lisa was dancing and touring with Swiss and German companies.

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2015 - Phil Stack

Phil is a founding member of multi-platinum rock/pop group Thirsty Merc. In addition to this, he is one of Australia’s most respected double-bassists, touring the world with the legendary James Morrison. He has also played with some of Australia’s greatest symphony orchestras and has won several national awards.

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2014 - Ella Havelka

Making history as the Australian Ballet Company’s first Aboriginal dancer, Ella Havelka has performed in numerous productions, including several international tours. This follows Ella’s successful career performing with Bangarra Dance Theatre.

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2013 - Mervyn Bishop

Walkley Award winning photographer, Mervyn Bishop was the first Aboriginal photographer employed at the Sydney Morning Herald. With a long and successful career, Mervyn’s work has been displayed around the world.

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2012 - Kellie Dickerson

The inaugural recipient of this award, Kellie Dickerson, is one of Australia’s foremost musical directors, with productions including Wicked, Doctor Zhivago, Legally Blonde and Once; just to name a few.