Bundaberg’s Paul Dellit OAM was left speechless, for just a second, as his name was announced as the gold winner at this year’s Matilda Awards.
Described as compassionate and tireless, the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre manager won the prestigious Gold Matilda for his achievements in the performing arts industry.
With 40 years of history in performing arts, Paul says he has achieved many accolades including the Centenary Medal in 2001 and an OAM but winning the Gold Matilda Award on Tuesday night left him in shock.
“I was completely blown away by winning the award as I had absolutely no idea,” Paul said.
“I went to the first Matildas back in 1988 and they were a tiny little event that Arts Queensland put on in the foyer of QPAC, and they gave out four awards and there were no categories.
“Now 34 years later there are categories for best actor, best support actor etc, and now in the last few years they’ve introduced the Gold Matilda.
“This year I was asked to compere the awards and I had no idea.”
The Gold Matilda is a special open award that may be presented to a standout production or performance element in the season, or recognition to an individual company or group for their contribution to the industry as determined by the judging panel.
Service to the arts in Queensland comes seamlessly to Paul, and his passion is evident through his zest for life on and off the stage.
Fittingly, the Matilda Awards honoured Paul's tireless work within the industry.
Paul was producer for QPAC for many years, and has dedicated three decades to the Actors’ & Entertainers’ Benevolent Fund of Queensland, including being the organisation’s president from 2003 to 2021.
Under Paul’s leadership, Actors and Entertainers Benevolent Fund Queensland spearheaded major fundraising initiatives and generated record levels of donations to support and assist performing arts professionals financially affected by the ongoing COVID crisis.
He has spent years raising the profile of the Benevolent Fund, spearheading fundraising campaigns to help performers in need, arranging public memorials for major arts industry figures, and looking for practical ways to support emerging artists.
“I am very passionate about the industry, I have mentored lots of people and graduates from acting school,” he said.
“I got to meet a lot of my heroes in this business.
“People will often say to me who is the most famous person I have met?
“I guess I went to a party and Mick Jagger was there, but I’m not a big fan so I didn’t go all gushy, but in the industry, you do get to meet some amazing people and performers.”
Gold Matilda awarded after lifetime in show business
Paul believes through life what goes around comes around and treating others with respect would open endless doors.
“I’ve always been in show business, my parents weren’t at all, but they were my biggest support,” Paul said.
“So, I’ve now ended up with this award, and I guess I’ve always worked hard and done it for my parents.
“I look back after the work with the Benevolent Fund and I wish there were mentors around when I was young, like there is now.”
Matilda Awards Chair Jan Irvine said the ceremony was a celebration of the resilience and tenacity of Queensland’s performing arts industry.
“Our sector banded together in camaraderie and solidarity over the past two years and tonight, I was proud to stand alongside so many talented individuals as we recognised and rewarded the work they produced under such challenging conditions,” Jan said.
“The Matilda Awards again clearly demonstrated that the work produced by Queensland’s cast, crew and creatives is world-class.”