On the move: the latest appointments and resignations

Gina Fairley

Australia Council appoints Director of Theatre; new Executive Director for MQFF; new Chair for NETS Victoria Board, and changes at Melbourne Fringe and Heide.
On the move: the latest appointments and resignations

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Annette Madden joins Australia Council as Director of Theatre 

The Australia Council for the Arts has today announced the appointment of Annette Madden as the new Arts Practice Director, Theatre. 

Madden brings to the role extensive experience across a diverse range of arts organisations including the Perth International Arts Festival (PIAF), where she was Executive Producer. She was also a member of the National Artistic Team at Queensland Theatre, Downstairs Theatre Director at Belvoir, and has held various roles at Shaun Parker & Company, Stalker and Marrugeku.


Madden said: 'We have extraordinary artists making unique Australian theatre for audiences around the country and abroad, and I hope through this role I can provide meaningful advocacy and support which will continue to strengthen the sector in an ever changing landscape.'

Australia Council CEO Tony Grybowski said: 'I have no doubt Annette will be a fantastic champion for Australia theatre, identifying trends and promoting the vibrancy and sustainability of the sector. She will play a crucial role, by linking Council to the sector and ensuring the voices and concerns of those working in the sector continue to inform what we do.'

The role of Director of Theatre was previously held by Marion Potts, who departed Council in September after two years to take a new role as Executive Director of Performing Lines.

NETS Victoria Board gets new Chair

Adam Harding has been appointed to the position of Chair of the Board of Management of National Exhibitions Touring Support (NETS) Victoria Board.

‘Hosting a NETS Victoria touring exhibition has always been a highlight for me, even back in the day when I was a curatorial assistant in Warrnambool; having the NETS Victoria install team on the floor made me feel part of a larger, dynamic, professional art world. I am excited to be part of the team that binds our gallery sector together,’ said Harding.

Mardi Nowak, Director NETS Victoria said: ‘It is wonderful to have a regional gallery Director be appointed to the position of Chair.  I’m sure Adam’s collaborative approach will bring much insight to NETS Victoria’s upcoming programs.’

Harding has been the Director of Horsham Regional Art Gallery (HRAG) since 2009 and oversaw their recent redevelopment. During that time he has been focusing on investigating modes of exhibition development and presentation that places HRAG and the Wimmera as a site of production and collaboration. 

Harding takes over the position of Chair from Sarah Bond, Director Asialink ARTS, who has held the position for the past four years.

Melbourne Fringe departures

Two senior staff have moved on from the organisation. Creative Program Producer Dan Koop has stepped down from his role after three years, in order to concentrate on his own creative projects. 

'Melbourne Fringe was started the year I was born and I first was a part of a Fringe show in 2001, the year after I left high school. Melbourne Fringe has always been a touchstone in my creative life and I’m sure this will continue forever more. It’s a privilege to have worked for this quintessentially Melbourne organisation. Each day I’ve benefited from the years of work done by the people who’ve made Fringe it what it is today and those who bravely re-make it again each year. I may be leaving my role at Fringe, but I’ll never be saying goodbye to the independent arts sector that I’m so proud to be a part of,' Koop said in a statement.

Independent Program Producer, Xanthe Beasley, has also moved on after several successful years with the organisation, to take up the role of acting Artistic Director at Union House Theatre. 'I’ve loved working for Fringe – it is an organisation very close to my heart,' she said.

New staff appointments at Melbourne Fringe are expected to be announced in the New Year.

New Executive Director of MQFF

The Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) has announced the appointment of Maxwell Gratton as the organisation's new Executive Director.

Maxwell is an award-winning senior Executive with extensive experience in the not-for-profit and commercial industries. Prior to joining MQFF, Maxwell advocated for and promoted LGBTIQ inclusion and empowerment at Football Federation Victoria and Basketball ACT. 

MQFF said in a statement: ‘He is someone who brings with him a strong business nous as well as a passion to make a significant contribution to the LGBTIQ community.’

Maxwell said of his appointment: ‘I'm fired with ambition to lead and develop the Festival. I can't wait to get to know the MQFF community better, and I look forward to meeting many of you during Midsumma, at our festival launch in February, and of course at MQFF 2018 in March!’

BREC looses Executive Director

Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre (BREC) has announced that its Executive Director, Sharon Custers, will be moving on after two years in the role.

Custers has achieved a lot in her short time at BREC, having negotiated an increase in funding from the City of Bunbury to attract national conferences and events to BREC. She also led the team to victory in being awarded Australian Performing Arts Centre of the Year.

‘But the thing I’m most proud of is the launch of our new Youth Theatre Company, headed up by Artistic Director Kathryn Osborne,’ said Ms Custers. ‘In a town where everyone says there’s nothing for young people to do, we’ve created a program where young people can make exciting and innovative theatre for other young people.’

Simon Jacob, BREC’s Chairmansaid: ‘BREC is more than just a venue for entertainment – we are a presenter, a cultural developer, an educator and a public meeting place.’

The Centre caters to over 60,000 visitors annually. The position is currently open for applications.

Reported staff movements at Heide

The Australia has reported that Heide Museum of Modern Art ‘has seen an exodus of about a third of its staff from the small organisation this year … A total of 16 have left since the ­beginning of the year.’ They based their assessment on the personnel list in Heide’s 2016 annual report. 

These include former acting ­director Linda Michael, operations manager Maria Davies and curator Linda Short.

The newspaper reports it had received a list of 11 individuals who have left Heide since director and chief executive Dr Natasha Cica arrived in April with a remit to “drive ­significant change at an organisational and cultural level”.

Cica told The Australian in a statement that she was putting a skilled management and curatorial team in place. ‘I was recruited by the board to drive significant change at an organisational and cultural level to secure a vibrant and ­exciting future for Heide MOMA.

‘I have worked very hard to engage all employees in this ­process, however, no organisational change of this scale can please everyone all of the time. Some people have chosen not to make the journey with us and we wish them well, while others have been promoted internally,’ she said.

More recent changes

About the author

Gina Fairley covers the Visual Arts nationally for ArtsHub. Based in Sydney you can follow her on Twitter @ginafairley and Instagram at fairleygina.