NEW CHAIR APPOINTED TO THE AUSTRALIA COUNCIL The Morrison Government has appointed Mr Robert Morgan as Chair of the Australia Council for a period of three years. Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said Morgan would provide critical leadership to the Australian Government’s principal arts funding body, and in turn to Australia’s creative and cultural sector. ‘As long-time Executive Chair of leading advertising and marketing communications firm Clemenger Group, as a director of the Sydney Swans and a former director of Opera Australia, Robert Morgan will bring great expertise and passion to the role of Chair of the Australia Council,’ Fletcher said. ‘This is a key arts appointment at a key time for the arts sector. COVID hit the sector hard, but rebuilding is well under way, supported by our $200 million RISE fund, our $35 million Sustainability Fund, and many other measures. ‘Commonwealth funding for the arts is more than $1 billion in 2021-22 – the first time this level of funding has ever been achieved. ‘I look forward to the role Robert Morgan will play in supporting the Morrison Government’s strategic priorities for the arts, including making the arts more accessible to all Australians,’ said Fletcher. The Australia Council for the Arts has welcomed Morgan’s appointment to the Chair’s role, with Australia Council CEO Adrian Collette AM saying: ‘Mr Morgan brings significant experience through a distinguished career in advertising and marketing communications which will be of immense value in guiding the Australia Council in coming years. ‘Along with my Executive colleagues and staff at the Australia Council, I look forward to working with Mr Morgan and our Board on realising our strategic objectives for a creatively connected nation in which arts and culture are valued, thriving and accessible,’ Collette continued. ‘While these are challenging times for our artists, creative workers and organisations as we grapple with the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on our cultural and creative industries, we remain strongly focused on supporting our artists and cultural organisations to engage Australian audiences through their creative work and excellence,’ he said. Collette also expressed his deep appreciation for the contribution of outgoing Chair, Sam Walsh AO. ‘Since his appointment in 2016, Sam has drawn upon his extensive experience to provide wise and steady stewardship for the Australia Council. ‘We have particularly appreciated his leadership and counsel as we have responded to the profound challenges of COVID-19 which included our immediate response to the needs of artists and organisations who had been impacted by the pandemic,’ Collette continued. ‘During his period as Chair, the Australia Council played a pivotal role in the implementation of the new National Performing Arts Partnership Framework which represents a new era for the funding of performing arts companies. ‘We thank Sam for his leadership, and wish him well in his future endeavours,’ Collette said. PERTH FESTIVAL WELCOMES NEW HEAD OF PROGRAMMING Rachael Whitworth joins the Perth Festival team as Head of Programming, commencing 11 August 11. Whitworth, who has been Senior Producer at Performing Lines WA for the past three years, will work closely with Artistic Director Iain Grandage and the programming team to deliver the 2022 program and to help fulfill the artistic vision for the Festival in future years. She comes to the Festival with nearly 30 years of professional experience as a performer, educator, producer and manager. Her appointment follows the Festival Board’s recent extension of Iain Grandage’s term as Artistic Director by an extra year to enable him to deliver a fifth and final annual program in 2024. Grandage said: ‘Rachael Whitworth is a wonderful human and an extraordinary producer. She balances grit and strength with immense heart, and she is trusted by artists across the city and around the world. We first worked together in 1995 in our roles as practicing artists, and I’ve marvelled at her journey since then. It fills me with joy to get the opportunity to work alongside her.’ Whitworth said of her new role: ‘I am so excited to join the team at Perth Festival and build on Iain’s vision to connect our local and national artists with the audiences in our State. This role seems a natural next step for me and I feel very privileged to work alongside the passionate and dedicated Festival team.’ Rachael Whitworth joined Performing Lines WA as a producer in 2011 and became senior producer in 2018. Most recently, she spearheaded Performing Lines WA’s Kolyang Creative Hub initiative in 2020 and 2021 to support independent and culturally diverse artists. She also led her team to premiere four new Western Australian works in the 2021 Festival. Black Brass, Children of the Sea, Galup and Slow Burn, Together were central to the success of the home-grown 2021 Festival program. Trained at Victorian College of the Arts, Whitworth began her professional career in 1992 as a classical dancer with West Australian Ballet before performing for a decade with Buzz Dance Theatre and Spare Parts Puppet Theatre. After completing a Graduate Diploma in Arts and Entertainment Management at Deakin University in 2000, she became Associate Producer for the 20th UNIMA Congress and World Puppetry Festival before joining Performing Lines WA in 2011. Whitworth has significant networks internationally after being a New York ISPA fellow for four years and working on cross-cultural collaborations with Sensorium Theatre in Singapore and leading tours in North America. Perth Festival 2022 runs from 11 February to 5 March. The Festival program will be announced later this year. THE AUSTRALIAN BALLET SCHOOLS APPOINTS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR The Australian Ballet School, the national centre for elite vocational classical dance training, has announced the appointment of Kirsty Ritchie as its new Executive Director. Ritchie is currently the Associate Director of Organisational Development and the Arts Wellbeing Collective at Arts Centre Melbourne. She will commence as Executive Director of The Australian Ballet School on Monday 9 August 2021. Ritchie initially trained at The Australian Ballet School and went on to become a professional dancer, performing with The Australian Ballet, The Dancers Company and other companies for several years. She subsequently retrained in organisational development and change management, holding senior roles nationally and internationally with Myer, Telstra and Bupa, before joining Arts Centre Melbourne in 2018. Sarah Matheson AM, Chair of The Australian Ballet School, said, ‘Kirsty is a strategic and creative leader with an inspired vision for the future of Australia’s national centre for elite vocational classical dance. She was chosen from a strong field of candidates.’ On her appointment to the position of Executive Director, Ritchie said: ‘I am passionate about developing organisations to be the very best they can be, and dance has been a lifelong love – ballet in particular. I’m so humbled and excited for this opportunity to combine these with my strategic leadership experience and to work with the wonderful team at The Australian Ballet School to create a bright future for this iconic organisation.’ Lisa Pavane, Director of The Australian Ballet School said, ‘As a graduate of The Australian Ballet School, and former dancer, Kirsty brings to the role an invaluable understanding of the needs of our students. I’m looking forward with excitement to Kirsty bringing this knowledge, and her extensive business skills, to the School’s senior management team.’ OUTER SPACE CONTEMPORARY ARTS APPOINTS NEW DIRECTOR
Brisbane’s contemporary arts organisation Outer Space has announced the appointment of Hamish Sawyer as the organisation’s new Director, effective 8 July.