The Babette Stephens Memorial Award offers a $1000 prize and honours the memory of charter member and inaugural Club President, Babette Stephens AM MBE, who was a distinguished actress and Brisbane theatre personality.

Babette joined the Brisbane Repertory Theatre in 1930, launching a 40-year career as performer, director, and administrator. During her career, she appeared in or directed numerous performances, hosted talkback radio, and appeared regularly in film and television. She died in 2000 at the age of 90.

In 2002, Zonta charter member Ann Shevill gave a personal donation of $5,000 in Babette’s memory which formed the basis of the Babette Stephens Memorial Award fund, which was boosted by the sale of  a painting by Liz Heber, that was donated and sold raising $500. These gifts were further boosted in 2006 by a donation of $5,000 from Club member Shirley King. Several club members have been further donations over the years.

This annual award is administered for the Zonta Club of Brisbane by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) under guidelines set out in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The Award acknowledges and rewards a talented, second-year acting student at QUT. The criteria for selection are that the winner will have demonstrated a professional attitude and exemplary work ethic in classes, rehearsals, and performances during second year productions, as well as a consistently high standard of performance skills.


Staff from QUT’s Creative Industries Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) and a representative of the Zonta Club of Brisbane

Club members with expertise in a range of theatrical disciplines attend performances by the second-year cohort during the year and provide advice to the selection panel.

The winning candidate is presented with the Award at a QUT Gala Theatre evening. Members and friends purchase as a fundraiser for the Club.

Each Award winner receives a certificate and $1,000. The Zonta funds are held in trust by QUT in the QUT Gift Fund, and interest earned rolls back into the Award fund.

Award Recipients:

2004 Tanya Heywood
2005 Danielle Jackson
2006 Miyuki Lotz
2007 Gemma Yates-Round
2008 Polita Cameron
2009 Lizzie Ballinger
2010 Eve White
2011 Isabella Tannock
2012 Sasha Grace Dyer
2013 Chenoa Deemal
2014 Chiara Charlotte Osborn
2015 Emily Weir
2016 Ebony Nave
2017 Clementine Anderson
2018 Nicole Hoskins and Bronte Price
2019 Rachel Nutchey
2020 Stevie-Lorelle Answerth
2021 Harper McIlroy
2022 Rebecca Zanetti
2023Madeleine Wilson