To our community – members, supporters, audiences and artists:
I’m thrilled and honoured to announce that I have been appointed to the role of permanent Executive Director of The Blue Room Theatre.
This is a new chapter in a story that began for me in 2008. As a young performing arts graduate, The Blue Room was where I made friends, theatre, mistakes and an identity for myself as an artist and producer. There’s nowhere else like it. More than a venue, and more than an organisation, The Blue Room Theatre is a community that lives and breathes its values.
Leading this vibrant and vital institution is a tremendous privilege. The Blue Room helped me grow as an artist and inspired me to develop my abilities as an arts manager and an arts leader. I will be drawing on all those skills and experiences and give you all my very best.
I would like to thank the board for appointing me to this position, and for living their commitment to artists. They have embraced the potential of appointing an artist-leader as ED at a time when creativity, imagination and adaptation are absolutely critical.
As an artist-leader I won’t be completely saying goodbye to my creative practice. My promise to you is that I will be a better ED for this, and that it will keep me connected to what our community needs.
I have been acting in this role since April, when Julian Hobba departed to lead the State Theatre Company of South Australia. In this short time, The Blue Room Theatre has faced an extraordinary array of challenges. As well as ongoing disruption to our sector caused by COVID-19 (and the pain this has inflicted on many individual artists), we also received notice from our federal funding body, The Australia Council for the Arts, that we, along with 49 of our national colleagues, would not continue to receive organisational funding past 2021.
The staff and board have been working overtime to devise, create and test new plans (always with artists at the centre) to weather this storm and work towards a better future for The Blue Room Theatre. Once we’ve had the chance to consult further with our community, we will soon be able to announce what the rest of 2020 will bring for our members, audiences and artists.
Disruption on this scale, while painful, does present opportunities to pause, reflect and renew. There’s no point trying to return to what we had before, because the world and the ways we engage with art and culture have changed. We don’t know what the long-term impacts will be for our community. But we do know what to champion: a vision of the arts where the irreplaceable energy of live performance is properly valued, and properly funded.
We will seize this time to tap into our values and find new ways to empower the talented, resilient and inspiring independent artistic community we have here in Perth. We have a mountain to climb, relationships to build, and new ideas and ways of working to nurture.
Thank you to all the staff for the hard work you’ve already undertaken under challenging and ever-changing circumstances, and for your support of me over the last few months of transition. Thank you to my friend, mentor and predecessor Julian Hobba, for leading with love and strengthening our community. And thank you to the members, supporters, audiences and independent artists for the trust you have in The Blue Room Theatre. I will not take that trust for granted, and I look forward to listening, supporting and championing you through this time of change.