VALE Bill Akers (AKA The Prince of Darkness)

Posted on Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Legendary LD and Australian performing arts figure Bill Akers passed away on Monday morning at 5.30am in Shoreham Hospital.
The funeral is to be held on Thursday at 2.00pm at St. John’s Anglican Church, King Street, Flinders.

Below in an excerpt from his biography in the National Library’s Trove collection:

You can also listen to an MP3 of an interview with Bill on ABC Radio National’s Art Works programme earlier this year.

Bill Akers was born in Sydney in 1929 and began his career working in various capacities, including as a performer, choreographer and director, in radio, film and theatre. His eclectic early background included training at the Rathbone Academy of Dramatic Art and at the studio of ballet teachers Joan and Monica Halliday, a role as a child extra in the monumental film Forty Thousand Horsemen, work as an actor in radio serials, and a variety of experiences with the John Alden Shakespeare Company.

Akers has lit and staged works for every major ballet company in Australia. He worked especially closely with Robert Helpmann when Helpmann was co-artistic director of the Australian Ballet and lit the works Helpmann created during his tenure of that position, including The Display, Yugen, PerisynthyonSun Music. He also worked closely with Maina Gielgud during her period as artistic director of the Australian Ballet and lit several of the new ballets commissioned during her time. They included Robert Ray’s The Sentimental Bloke, Timothy Gordon’s My Name is Edward Kelly and Stanton Welch’s Of Blessed Memory, Divergence and Madame Butterfly. Akers has been the recipient of numerous awards for his achievements. They include the Chevalier de Sahamet’rei awarded to him by Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia, an AM for services to lighting, ballet and the theatre, and a Green Room Award. In 2010 he was the recipient of the Australian Dance Award for Lifetime Achievement.