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The Blue Room Theatre Board 2020

Trying to write a farewell to The Blue Room Theatre Board and a film of tears gathers in my eyes. I look back on the year with disbelief. It’s a disbelievable year.

In ironical February, the Board’s Governance Sub-Committee reviewed a draft of the Disaster Relief Policy and, trying to imagine scenarios we’d never before experienced, the best we could come up with was “because if this coronavirus becomes a thing . . .”

But my tears are not only for the wrenching away of the anticipated year and the pain of the individuals who’ve had to make difficult choices or had difficult choices thrust upon them, but also of pride. In the arts equivalent of droughts and flooding plains, The Blue Room Theatre is standing up against the global pandemic and the curtailing of its funding in its true adaptable style.

Shane Colquhoun, Emma-Jane Morcombe and I will step down from the board of the Blue Room at the upcoming AGM.  We leave the organisation in a good position with strong leadership and a strategic plan that is future focused to ensure our sustainability for the next 30 years.  

We are proud that in the midst of this uncertainty The Blue Room Theatre transitioned Executive Directors from Julian Hobba to Katt Osborne without missing a beat. Whilst sad to see Julian depart, we were chuffed to see him take up a wonderful leadership opportunity with the State Theatre of SA.  Katt has moved into the standing desk with the experience of years of gracious collaboration, strategic negotiation and a genuine and long-held affection for the organisation as well as a keen understanding of the Blue Room’s place in, and effect on, the world. 

With the sudden cancellation of shows, Blue Room staff responded hourly and daily to the changing requirements of members, the sector and audiences. Winter Nights is my favourite Blue Room season and this year its online program of fecundity was particularly poignant as the staff adapted both programming and delivery and supported members to respond to the changed brief.  

We are proud that The Blue Room Theatre Board members suited up without hesitation. Negotiating the conflicting needs to react to unanticipated challenges and to hold to our previously determined course, the Board has brought its combined experience and judgement to ensure the ongoing wellbeing of the organisation and by extension our membership.  It has been a big year!

We have made some tough decisions on 2021 programming and there will be more organisational changes to come, but we believe we have  positioned The Blue Room to take on the challenges of the upcoming year to ensure our continued support for artists and new income streams can be maximised to avoid any further reductions to programming and services. 

I am also immensely pleased that we have recently completed a comprehensive inclusivity audit of our organisation that will help to drive our inclusion and diversity goals going forward.

I want to thank my fellow board members Liesbeth Goedhart, Emma-Jane Morcombe, Monica Kane, Zainab Syed, Ian Wilkes and our fearless Treasurer Tanya Payne for their exemplary leadership this year and particularly to Ian Wilkes, Monica Kane and Zainab Syed who heeded the call to fill vacancies on the board during a challenging year.

And a special thank you to our Chair Shane Colquhoun who has guided it all and our tireless and outstanding Executive Director Katt Osborne and her team.  The Blue Room Theatre is in good hands.

It’s been an honour and a privilege.

Philippa Maughan
Deputy Chair
The Blue Room Theatre

Images (L to R): Monica Kaye, Liesbeth Goedhart, Zainab Syed, Shane Colquhoun, Philippa Maughan, Emma-Jane Morcombe.
Absent: Tanya Payne, Ian Wilkes