On the Move: latest appointments and resignations

Visual Arts Writer

New appointments for National Art School, WASO, WAAPA, Musica Viva, Sydney Theatre Company, Expressions Dance Company, and more.
On the Move: latest appointments and resignations

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Following an extensive international search, West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) has appointed Mark Coughlan as Chief Executive Officer.

A highly respected national cultural leader and a passionate advocate for music in Western Australia, Coughlan is a familiar face at WASO, having served as a board director since 2009.

WASO Chairman Richard Goyder said, ‘We are delighted that Mark has accepted the role of CEO. He has made a significant contribution to the music community of Western Australia over many years and provided valuable guidance to WASO over the last decade as a member of our board. Following an extensive search, we are confident that Mark is best placed to continue to build WASO’s international reputation for artistic excellence and community engagement.’


Born and raised in Western Australia, Mark Coughlan is a company director, pianist, music critic, teacher and concert promoter. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of Musica Viva Australia and was Federal Chairman of the Australian Music Examinations Board, Australia’s largest music examination and publishing company. He established the Government House Ballroom concert series in 2006 and held the position of Head of the School of Music at the University of Western Australia from 1995-2003.

He now departs his role of 12 years as Executive Director of the Leeming Medical Group, a family general medical practice in Perth’s southern suburbs.

Coughlan said: ‘I have loved and admired the West Australian Symphony Orchestra all of my life. From a young age, WASO provided my window into the remarkable world of music, as it does for so many West Australians. It is a privilege to now have the opportunity to work alongside Principal Conductor Asher Fisch and WASO’s talented musicians to contribute to the continued success of one of Australia’s finest orchestras. I am excited to be following in the footsteps of Craig Whitehead and to build on his outstanding contribution to the orchestra.’

He will commence his role as Chief Executive Officer in January 2019, succeeding Craig Whitehead, who departs the company after ten years.


Edith Cowan University (ECU) has announced that David Shirley will be the next Executive Dean of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). The appointment is the culmination of a global recruitment campaign.

Shirley is currently the Director of the Manchester School of Theatre within Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). His previous roles include Head of Drama at MMU and Head of the School of Theatre at Rose Bruford College. He is also a director and trained actor with numerous film, television and radio credits to his name.

Shirley is the Chair of the Federation of Drama Schools, a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (FRSA); and Associate Editor of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Journal.

He holds a Diploma of Acting from The Arts Educational Drama School, a Bachelor of Arts from University of London and a Master of Arts from King’s College London and The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman welcomed his appointment, saying: ‘David is an outstanding candidate. His experience in developing international partnerships, building research culture and ensuring courses meet industry demand aligns with the ongoing strategic direction of WAAPA. He joins ECU at an exciting time as we seek to transform WAAPA into the leading performing arts academy within the Asia Pacific region and embark on the restoration and housing of our collection of 120 historical pianos.’

Shirley said he was looking forward to the challenge of leading WAAPA from 2019: ‘I am truly delighted to have been offered the opportunity to join Edith Cowan University as the Executive Dean of WAAPA.

‘The School has an outstanding reputation for excellence and I feel honoured and privileged to have been invited to lead it through what will prove an extremely exciting and dynamic phase in its development as one of the world’s leading and most prestigious performing arts academies,’ he said. 

Professor Chapman also recognised the contributions of current WAAPA Executive Dean Professor Julie Warn AM. Professor Warn will retire early in 2019 after 14 years in the role.

New Head of Sculpture at National Art School

Hany Armanious, one of Australia’s foremost artists, will take up the position of Head of Sculpture at the National Art School from the beginning of the 2019 academic year.

National Art School Director and CEO Steven Alderton said: ‘As Head of Sculpture, we know he will bring his vast knowledge and skills in sculpture to the School, building on our strong reputation in this discipline and inspiring the next generation of artists working in sculpture.’

Alderton also paid tribute to Ron Robertson-Swann who was the previous longstanding Head of Sculpture.

Armanious has been teaching in the higher education context since 1998, as a lecturer at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, the College of Fine Art, UNSW and most recently as a full-time permanent lecturer at Queensland College of Art (QCA), Griffith University.

At QCA he has been responsible for the design and implementation of a new sculpture curriculum, expanding the understanding of the role of sculpture in contemporary art, with an emphasis on merging skills and material possibilities with conceptual rigour.

The official artist for the Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2011, Armanious’ work is held in numerous Australian and international public collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.

Represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Armanious’ most recent exhibition for the Gallery was held in 2018. Since 1991 he has held more than 30 solo exhibitions in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, France, Italy and Germany. In 2001 his work was the subject of an exhibition curated by Connie Butler at the Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, with a further solo exhibition held in 2008 at the Contemporary Art Museum, St Louis, curated by Anthony Huberman. In 2007 an extensive survey exhibition was held at The Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, which toured to the City Gallery, Wellington in 2008.

Fed Square gets new General Manager

Melbourne events specialist Suzana Bishop has joined the Federation Square team as General Manager Commercial and Public Engagement, joining the orgnisation’s executive team.

She will be responsible for leading programming, business development and marketing for the organisation.

Bishop has held senior leadership roles with the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), The Australian Grand Prix and The Royal Agriculture Society (Royal Melbourne Show).

During her time as General Manager at MCEC, she led the rebranding and relaunch of the prestigious program responsible for attracting international business events to the City of Melbourne.

Fed Square CEO Jonathan Tribe said of Bishop’s appointment: ‘Her leadership skills and extensive experience in events and business development will be an asset to Fed Square and will help us to continue to deliver world-class visitor experiences.”

Leadership appointments for Musica Viva Australia

Two new leadership appointments at Musica Vivia Australia were announced this week. Hywel Sims will take up the reins as CEO, while Anne Frankenberg will step into the newly created, Melbourne-based role of Deputy Chief Executive.

Sims has been an integral member of Musica Viva’s senior management since 2014, initially as Director of Development and currently as General Manager, Victoria. Having led organisations in the UK, US and Australia, Hywel brings a broad international perspective, as well as a deep commitment to music in Australia fostered through his work with Gondwana Choirs and – more recently – Musica Viva. Hywel also developed high school music education programs in Los Angeles, creating the Alive Music Project, which is now national in scope.

‘At its heart, chamber music is about collaboration and partnership,’ said Sims. ‘Musica Viva, created by passionate individuals, exists to present the best of the world’s music to Australians, foster the next generation of Australian musicians and provide equal access to expert music education in the country’s schools. I’m delighted to partner with Anne Frankenberg and the management team in achieving this vision.’

Frankenberg joins Musica Viva from the Australian National Academy of Music, where she is currently Deputy General Manager. Initially trained as a clarinettist, she holds degrees in Music and Psychology, an Executive MBA, and has had an arts management career with the Victoria State Opera, Opera Australia, and 3MBS Radio. She was inaugural General Manager of Victorian Opera.

Sydney Theatre Company appoints Resident Director

Sydney Theatre Company (STC) has appointed its former Richard Wherrett Fellow and Directing Associate Jessica Arthur in the role of Resident Director in 2019.

STC Artistic Director Kip Williams said: ‘Jess is a director of immense talent and potential. Over the past few years she has risen to be one of the most exciting young theatrical minds in the country. I can’t wait to see how her career will continue to develop, and look forward to working with her in the years ahead.’

In 2019, Arthur will direct the Australian premiere of the international hit Mosquitoes by Lucy Kirkwood and Van Badham's new comedy Banging Denmark.

In 2017 Arthur was STC's Richard Wherrett Fellow. She returned as a Resident Artist in 2018 as the Company’s Directing Associate. She holds a Bachelor of Performing Arts (Monash University 2013), including a semester of Theatre and Performance at Leeds University, UK and a Master of Fine Arts (Directing) at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA 2014/2015). She is co-founder of the theatre company The Anchor.

New Artistic Director for Expressions Dance Company

Brisbane’s Expressions Dance Company (EDC) has announced the appointment of Amy Hollingsworth as its new Artistic Director.

With over 20 years’ experience as a dancer, choreographer, director and industry advocate, as well as in film and dancer education, Hollingsworth is highly regarded for her passion and leadership within the Australian dance industry.

Taking up the position in January 2019, she will replace outgoing Artistic Director, Natalie Weir.

Hollingsworth said of her appointment: ‘I cannot wait to step into this role with vigor and passion to deliver a bold fresh new vision. At the heart of my vision for EDC is to lean in to making incredible new work, showcasing the stunning dancers and delighting our audiences, but also to creating an environment for creativity to truly thrive.’

Hollingsworth joins EDC following three years as the Creative Associate and Ballet Mistress at Queensland Ballet. She was classically trained at The Australian Ballet School, and performed as a leading dancer in companies such as Rambert Dance Company, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Peter Schaufuss Balletten, Bonachela Dance Company, Michael Clark Company, Hofesh Shechter Company, George Piper Dancers and Sydney Dance Company.

The UK Observer described her as one of ‘the most compelling and intelligent dancers on the world stage’.

New Lecture in Composition, University of Auckland School of Music

The University of Auckland, School of Music, has appointed Australian composer David Chisholm as Senior Lecturer in Composition, beginning in January.

Chisholm is currently teaching at Monash University and is the Founding Director of the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music, which is in its seventh year. As a composer, he is the author of over 45 original compositions (including 10 long form works of over 45 minutes each), with performances at the Venice Biennale, the Edinburgh, Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne Festivals, in Switzerland, Finland, the U.S., Sweden, and across Australia. He has worked collaboratively with architects, dancers, poets, musicologists and film makers.

Farewell to EWF’s Will Dawson

Executive Director Will Dawson is moving on from Emerging Writers Festival (EWF) in 2019 to take up the role of General Manager/Deputy CEO at Melbourne Fringe. He has worked at the EWF for the past two years, ‘providing support, provocation and a brilliant environment within which we've both grown,’ said Artistic Director, Izzy Roberts-Orr.

‘During his tenure at EWF Will has delivered two highly successful festivals and steered the organisation through a period of significant growth. Will started his EWF journey as a Creative Producer, which perfectly demonstrates how the organisation supports and develops our staff as well as our artists – and in fact, we're calling for the next generation of Creative Producer interns for 2019!’ Roberts-Orr added.

YIRRAMBOI’s Executive Producer steps down

Veronica Bolzon has resigned from her role of Executive Producer of YIRRAMBOI First Nations Arts Festival, a position she has held since February 2017. Bolzon's departure follows the abrupt departure of Artistic Director Jacob Boheme in November.

'I have had an amazing couple of years working with Jacob and his vision for YIRRAMBOI. It has been a phenomenal working on such a vital festival, where I got to experience and actively contribute to everyday, what Indigenous leadership is and can be, whilst working alongside incredible artists and watching their beautiful ideas come into fruition,' Bolzon said in a statement announcing her departure from the festival..

Read: Boehme out and Martin in as YIRRAMBOI changes Creative Directors

Known as a producer with a passion for artistic and community collaboration, prior to YIRRAMBOI, Bolzon held the roles of Artistic Director at regional NSW's Dungog Festival, and Program Producer for the contemporary dance organisation, Dancehouse. She co-produced Dance Massive 2015 and the inaugural Keir Choreographic Awards 2014.

She continues to serve as a Board member for Dancehouse Incorporated.

Planning for the 2019 YIRRAMBOI festival continues, under new leadership.

More recent appointments

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