Tuesday, December 18, 2012


MTC has 4 paid Assistant Director positions available in 2013 for emerging and mid-career directors.  The positions will be divided equally between women and men. For more information and to apply, please visit our website: http://www.mtc.com.au/about/employment/employment.aspx.

Applications close COB Friday 18 January 2013.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Women should represent women - TED talk July 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

Female Director in Residence

In 2013, Malthouse Theatre again offers a paid residency for a female director. Over a 6-month period (timing can be flexible depending on the availability of the director) the recipient of the  residency will have access to company life in a professional performing arts company and be given opportunities to assist the Artistic Director Marion Potts and/or Associate Artist (Direction) Matthew Lutton.

To apply please send a two page application that includes a resumé and an outline of how the residency could enhance your practice as a director. Applications close 5pm Friday 9 November 2012.

Please email your application, marked “Directing Residency” to Emily Fiori at admin@malthousetheatre.com.au. Enquiries about the residency can be emailed to the same address or call 03 9685 5120.

This project is made possible through the support of Copyright Agency Limited.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Westside Circus appoints Sue Broadway as Artistic Director and Simon Clarke as CEO

Westside Circus is excited to announce the appointment of Sue Broadway as the new Artistic Director. In this part-time role Sue will continue to pursue her other projects and bring back to Westside Circus a new dynamic with her wealth of experience in circus and physical theatre.  This is a great opportunity for Sue to bring fresh artistic leadership to Westside Circus which has been established since 1996.

Sue has been working professionally for over thirty years in circus and physical theatre. Sue performed and directed all over the world until 1992, when she returned to Australia as Artistic Director of Circus Oz. She has been a recipient of an Australia Council Fellowship and a member of the Theatre Board from 2009 to 2011.  From 2006 to 2012 she was Chair of the Australian Circus and Physical Theatre Association.

Sue was the Circus Director for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Sydney Olympic Games and of the Doha Asian Games and Associate Producer – Circus and Street Events at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. As Artistic Director of Strange Fruit (2007 to 2010) she created Ringing the Changes for the Melbourne International Arts Festival and initiated a collaborative relationship with disabled theatre company Graeae in the U.K.  Sue is currently directing the Moomba Parade for the fourth consecutive year, consulting on the Moon Lantern Festival in Adelaide and has recently completed two projects in the UK working with young and emerging dancers and acrobats.

Lena Cirillo the current CEO will be on maternity leave from 2013.  Lena’s passion and commitment in taking Westside Circus to the next level by relocating the organisation to its new home in Brunswick and developing its community engagement programs, has made a significant difference to the organisation. Simon Clarke has been appointed as the new CEO while Lena begins her journey as a mother.

Simon has been working in theatre with a focus on young and emerging artists and youth audiences, for almost twenty years.  He has produced, directed and performed numerous independent shows and worked with companies such as Jigsaw Theatre, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre and Black Swan Theatre Company. In 2007 he was appointed CEO/Artistic Director of Southern Edge Arts in WA, a company working in theatre, dance and circus. He was elected to the Board of Country Arts WA in 2009 and was appointed vice chair in 2010. He chaired the WA Regional Arts Fund Panel and Country Arts WA's Regional Arts Development Panel.  In 2011 he joined the Board of Young People and the Arts Australia. Simon will lead the organisation with this strong foundation and a depth of experience that will add value to the next stage of Westside Circus development as a dynamic arts organisation focusing on work with and for young people.

“It’s an exciting time for Westside Circus, where great work and meaningful programs are being delivered to our diverse community.  Sue’s appointment affirms our commitment to creating high quality programs and performance through circus arts. Simon has a wealth of skills and knowledge and will lead the organisation through our next exciting phase” says Lena Cirillo, the current CEO of Westside Circus.

About Westside Circus:
Westside Circus is a ‘social circus’ providing programs that help young people build confidence, promote personal wellbeing and create positive relationships both with peers and the community through Circus Arts.  Westside Circus programs are dedicated to introducing young people from diverse social, economic and cultural backgrounds to the fun and benefits of circus and physical theatre. www.westsidecircus.org.au

MORE INFO: Sue Broadway will be available for interviews and photo opportunities after 23 October or by appointment phone interview. For all media enquiries and image requests, please contact Lena Cirillo on 03 9383 2299 or execdirector@westsidecircus.org.au

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


We are thrilled to hear that Lee Lewis has been appointed Griffin’s new Artistic Director, taking over from Sam Strong in January 2013.
Lee is currently Associate Director at Griffin and one of the country’s leading directors, having worked for numerous main stage companies, including Sydney Theatre Company (Honour, ZEBRA! and Love Lies Bleeding), Belvoir (That Face), Bell Shakespeare (Twelfth Night), and Griffin (Silent Disco, The Call and The Nightwatchman). She has also directed widely for independent theatre companies in Sydney.
Griffin Chair Michael Bradley made the announcement today, saying, “Lee Lewis is the perfect person to take over Griffin at this stage of its development. She has a deep personal passion for Griffin’s mission to be the voice and heart of Australian writing in the theatre. She is also a brilliant director and nurturer of new work. Griffin has enjoyed wonderful success in recent years and is rapidly becoming recognised as a critically important Australian cultural institution. Lee’s appointment marks the beginning of the next exciting phase for the company, its artists and its audience.”
Lee trained as an actor at Columbia University in the United States, working on Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, before returning to Australia to study directing at NIDA. She has been an outspoken advocate for increased cultural diversity on Australia’s main stages, and a leading voice for the representation of female directors and playwrights.
Her current show for Griffin, A Hoax by Rick Viede, closes at the SBW Stables Theatre this Saturday 1 September.
Sam Strong’s third and final season at Griffin will be announced Monday 3 September.

Is a women-only program sexist?

By Deborah StoneartsHub | Thursday, August 23, 2012

Choreographer Stephanie Lake admits to feeling a little ambivalent about Contemporary Women, the new Sydney Dance Company program that will premiere her latest work.
On the one hand she was thrilled with the opportunity to create a new work with the company’s dancers and delighted to be included with three other choreographers in a program of world premieres.
On the other hand she feels uncomfortable about a program that labels her as a woman. She’d much rather be described just as a choreographer. “I’m really happy to be a part of this program but in a way I wish this program didn’t exist. It’s frustrating because there are plenty of programs of mixed bills of work that are all male choreographers and nobody says that’s about nurturing male choreographers. The Australian Ballet’s 50th anniversary program was all male choreographers and that was not pitched as a celebration of male choreography. I don’t think audiences were going to see what male choreographers could do.”
The program for Contemporary Women is extraordinarily diverse. Lake has created a highly abstract work for seven dancers,Dream Lucid, using form, colour and magnetism to explore the flux between chaos and control. Adelaide’s Larissa McGowan has created Fanatic, a humorous media-inspired work responding to Alien and Predator movie fans venting on YouTube. Desire, by Brisbane-based Lisa Wilson, explores a range of responses from emotional connection to aggressive sparks and yield, by Sydney Dance Company’s Emily Amisano, considers how we come to know people through their actions, responses and boundaries.
There’s nothing particularly feminine –or indeed female – about any of them. “They are not about periods or anything. It’s not like I thought I will do a piece about menopause,” laughs Lake.
So why has STC Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela chosen to gather the works together as a program of women. Why not just Contemporary Choreographers?
Bonachela says there was more pragmatism than ideology around the title. He says while diverse programs are wonderful opportunities for an audience it is always difficult to find a theme to gather works together. When he decided to commission four choreographers for the Spring Dance season, choosing four women was an opportunity to create a theme.
“We are not focusing on the fact that they are women. They just happen to be women. They are four different pieces from four different choreographs all making great work. I wanted to bring them together because of their style and their talent and create new work and have a great evening of dance.”
Bonachela thought of making a Contemporary Women program after Wilson was awarded a Hephzibah fellowship, which gave her two weeks with SDC to create a new work. The result was so beautiful Bonachela wanted an opportunity to stage it, although that is not a criterion for the fellowship.
“I remember I was reading an article in The Guardian about how male dominated choreography was and that got me thinking. I realised that in Australia that’s not true. We have incredibly talented choreographers like Lucy Guerin and Meryl Tankard.”
In The Guardian article Judith Mackrell explores suggestions that men are more inclined to make aggressive, physical and showy works while women choreographers miss out on big commissions because they are focused on more intimate, emotional work.

If anything, the result of the Contemporary Women commissions shows such generalisations do not apply to this generation of Australian female choreographers. From Lake’s fluid abstract work to McGowan’s crazed physicality there is as much range as any director could want from a mixed bill.
Nor are women more likely to create work using women’s bodies. The works have the usual range of ensemble sizes. Lake uses seven because she asked for as many dancers as the company could provide and that was the upper limit. Wilson’s desire is a series of three duets exploring different aspects of desire: absence, physicality and memory. Amisano knows her dancers well as fellow company members and works with four dancers, playing on their personalities.
Perhaps because her own training was not through a traditional ballet path but through contemporary dance, Lake does not even think in terms of conventional dancing roles for men’s and women’s bodies. She does like working with men because she finds it easier to create a sense of weight in male bodies.
Bonachela did not want to pigeonhole the choreographers as women so there were not thematic restraints on their work. But the practical restraints were considerable, with work created in just two weeks and in most cases the dancers previously unknown to the choreographers.
The result, he says, is fresh, diverse and just great work that needs no tokenism or special nurturing to earn its place on the Spring Dance stage.

Friday, July 27, 2012



Australian Women Directors Alliance
AGM and General Meeting

Friday 10th August, 2012
Victorian College of the Arts
28 Dodds  Street, Sounthbank

Please RSVP and/or submit any items you would like added to the agenda to Lucy Freeman by reply email

We will gather in the downstairs foyer at VCA and make our way to a meeting room. Late arrivals please call 0400 093 533 for location detail.  

Theatre Diversity Associate

An idea born from discussions at last year's Australian Theatre Forum has come to fruition with the creation of a Brisbane-based Theatre Diversity Associate position, applications for which are now being sought.

This is an excellent opportunity to combine a passion for diversity and theatre in a vibrant Queensland sector. The Theatre Diversity Associate position, supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, entails working across Queensland Theatre Company, La Boite and Metro Arts, and in partnership with Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre, to increase and support diverse theatre making and facilitate companies' engagement with diversity in casting and programming, consultation and relationship building.

Applications are now invited. For further information and a full position description click here, or contact Antonietta Morgillo at a.morgillo@australiacouncil.gov.au

Closing date for applications is 5pm (EST) Monday, 6 August 2012.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Off Stage Women Run Second - The Age, 24 April 2012

WOMEN are losing ground in the struggle to claim a greater share of creative leadership in Australian theatre, according to a new report that shows Australia's biggest theatre companies are among the least likely to hire female writers and directors.

Women represent about two-thirds of theatre general managers and have a strong presence on theatre boards but more than 30 years after concerted efforts began to level the playing field, there are fewer female artistic directors and writers in the theatre than ever.
Women interviewed for the report said they were being held back by an almost ''feudal system of patronage'', with artistic directors acting ''like the monarch at the centre of their court''.

''It appears that there has, at best, been no progress over the decade since 2001, and there is evidence that the situation for women in creative leadership [in theatre] deteriorated over that time,'' said the authors of the Australia Council report, the University of Technology's Sydney Associate Professor Elaine Lally, and the University of Wollongong's Professor Sarah Miller.

The report, released today, was commissioned by the Australia Council after a tsunami of discontent broke over the Melbourne Theatre Company several years ago when it presented two seasons overwhelmingly dominated by male talent.

''[Artistic directors] say, 'I only choose what's best'. So why is there a predominance of white, middle-class men?'' was a typical response from the 44 people surveyed for the report. ''It's embarrassing and protectionist and reeks of elitism.''

The report found that between 2001 and 2011, only 21 per cent of the productions staged by Australia's eight biggest theatre companies had women writers, with 2011 the worst year for women writers since 2003. Only 25 per cent of productions had a female director over the same 11 years.

The researchers noted the number of female directors and writers hired by the major theatre companies had risen this year but the overall trend was negative. Women had a better chance of rising to the top in smaller theatre companies. Between 2001 and 2011, there were female playwrights in 37 per cent of productions, and a similar percentage of directors. Giving theatre directors a licence to make decisions based solely on their artistic vision was one reason it was so difficult to change the gender inequity, said the Australia Council's director of theatre, Lyn Wallis. ''The autonomous artistic director model makes it hard to break into a company'' because that person always says 'It is about my taste, my vision','' she said.

A lack of transparency about how decisions were made, the break in women's careers because of child rearing, and the different ways men and women promoted themselves and their work also needed to be addressed, she said.

Struggling to Break out of a holding pattern - SMH Article April 24, 2012

A new report suggests all-powerful, and usually male, artistic directors continue to sideline female creative talent, writes Wendy Frew.

Protectionist; a boys' club; a feudal system of patronage reeking of elitism.
This is a description not of a cosy white-collar world of corporate boards but of the men who hold the creative reins of Australian theatre.
They might cast women in male roles in Shakespeare or write dramatic roles specifically for our leading actresses, but a report released today by the Australia Council describes Australian theatre as a sector stuck in a holding pattern of male dominance.
It is a world where staging plays written by women or hiring women as directors is still considered commercially risky; where women who take time off to start a family find themselves professionally back at square one; and where no one talks about young female turks.
It comes as no surprise that women in the arts face the same challenges as women everywhere in the paid workforce: inflexible workplaces, expensive childcare, low pay and a sense of entitlement held by their young, male colleagues. As one woman in the report described it, theatre is a dinosaur trapped in a world of white, middle-class men.
But the report pinpoints the major stumbling block for women as the leadership model that gives a theatre's artistic director almost complete power over all aspects of a company's creative work. An artistic director's taste, personal preferences and idiosyncratic vision are crucial to the success or failure of any theatrical season. But what happens when most of the artistic directors are men?
The director of the Australia Council's theatre board, Lyn Wallis, says theatre directors have a permanent artistic licence that leaders in other industries don't.
''The theatre industry still holds onto that licence and holds it up high and that is one of the reasons we can't solve the problem [of a lack of women in creative leadership],'' Wallis says.
Rachel Healy, the executive manager of culture at City of Sydney and a former general manager of Belvoir St Theatre, says that while women are under-represented in artistic director positions, it is more complicated than just blaming the boys' club.
"At the very heart of what a board is asking an artistic director to do is to devise a program of shows based on his or her life experience, prejudices and preferences,'' she says. ''You can't then say 'We want you to apply all of your personal preferences but tick all these boxes for gender and ethnic equity'."
Healy believes young men have done well in Australian theatre in the past decade because artistic directors see something in their work that is original and worth cultivating.
Yet it is hard to back away from the premise that men will favour work by other men, for whatever reason.
"Even with the efforts [present Belvoir artistic director] Ralph Myers is taking to enfranchise young women, it is still the young men we are talking about," Healy says. "The reality is that [men] will mainly choose men."
She says the industry should not resign itself to that reality but she is not convinced quotas are the answer.
The founding chairwoman of the Women's Leadership Institute Australia, Carol Schwartz, says part of the answer is looking beyond the usual pool of talent and not relying on an artistic director's personal connections. It is incumbent on a theatre's board to make sure they have a big enough and broad enough pool of people to choose from that includes gender and cultural diversity, Schwartz says. Unconscious bias plays a big role, so ensuring gender equity on boards won't necessarily ensure more women direct productions or have their plays staged, she says.
''Women very often suffer from an unconscious bias about what a playwright looks like,'' she says. ''We have brilliant women playwrights in this country yet for some reason we don't have the same preponderance of women [as we do of men] as playwrights, directors, winners of literary prizes, even Archibald winners.''

For more details on the report check out: http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/resources/reports_and_publications/artforms/theatre/women-in-theatre