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Every year the Marsh Christian Trust recognises some of the outstanding contributions made by volunteers of The Arts Society in the field of heritage conservation and arts education.

Brian Marsh OBE, Chairman of the Marsh Christian Trust, comments:

"During such a difficult time for so many people, we are pleased to once again be working with The Arts Society to recognise volunteers across Societies both in the UK and internationally who are committed to helping to conserve and promote the decorative and fine arts in their local communities. Since the Awards were first presented in 2013, we have been able to celebrate the work of a great range of volunteers, and this year we have been able to recognise those who have gone above and beyond to promote the work of The Arts Society and keep members engaged during this time of separation. I would like to pass on my congratulations to this year’s winners and thank them for their commitment and contributions."

We are delighted to announce the 2021 prize-winners:


ADFAS Newcastle provides grants each year to enable budding young artists in the region, up to the age of 25 years, to develop in arts-related activities. Funding for these grants is provided through donations from ADFAS members. Applications are from not-for-profit organisations, for grants to support projects that are: arts related; to benefit one or number of participants (both artists/performers and audiences): consider relative disadvantage of participants, including disability, socio-economic status, and indigenous status or have the potential to promote a lasting sustainable outcome in community arts activities. Each year, previous applicants can apply to ensure the criteria is still the same. Sometimes it can be a one-off grant for the year. In 2020 the following five groups were awarded a total of $5000 which was raised by donations and raffles:

  1. Newcastle Youth Orchestra – The support includes the fees for the musician to be part of the Newcastle Youth Chamber Orchestra and Newcastle Youth Orchestra.

  2. Musica Viva Australia - This project will support and nurture the existing singing and vocal community of Newcastle and the Hunter region through a free public masterclass facilitated by members of world class American vocal ensemble Chanticleer with participation from several school and young adult choirs.

  3. Young People's Theatre - Scholarship to enable economically and socially disadvantaged students to attend theatre school classes.

  4. Waratah Girls' Choir - This project seeks to support financially challenged members of the Waratah Girls’ Choir.

  5. Newcastle Music Festival - Sensory concert for children with special needs.

In addition, through the Patricia Robertson Fund, a donation of $5000 was given towards the historic rehanging of the John Coburn theatre curtains for one day only on May 21st. These magnificent curtains known as the ‘Curtain of the Sun’ and the ‘Curtain of the Moon’ were commissioned for the opening of the Opera House in 1973.

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