Australian impresario Michael Gudinski will receive one of the top honors at the annual Helpmann Awards ceremony, to be held July 27 at the Sydney Opera House.

Gudinski, chairman of the powerhouse independent Mushroom Group of Companies and managing director of Frontier Touring, will jointly receive the coveted JC Williamson Award with John Bell, founder of the Bell Shakespeare Company.

The JC Williamson Award is bestowed each year in recognition of outstanding contribution to the Australian live performance industry, and is regarded as the foremost honor handed out by country's live entertainment business.

Previous recipients of the top honor include singer John Farnham, entertainment entrepreneur Kevin Jacobsen, opera legend Dame Joan Sutherland and last year's winners entertainer Barry Humphries and arts administrator Sue Nattrass.

Trade association Live Performance Australia established the event in 2001 to recognize excellence and achievement across all aspects of live performance. A panel of experts will decide a slew of gongs on the night, which include best international contemporary concert, best Australian contemporary concert, best contemporary music festival and categories for opera, dance, theater and comedy.

This year's ninth annual gala will be broadcast live on the pay-TV network Foxtel's Bio Channel.