About Ann Tonks

I’m an experienced cultural manager and teacher who has worked in the creative industries for over 30 years. I started my working life as an economist and statistician in the Australian Bureau of Statistics before becoming a University lecturer specialising in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management. In parallel with that work, I developed an interest in radio presentation and arts journalism before finding a way to combine all these interests in arts management. After working in Canberra, Sydney and Perth, I moved to Adelaide in 2004 to study an MBA at the (then) South Australian Institute of Technology with a major in arts administration. At the same time, I was a researcher in the Elton Mayo School of Management specialising in cultural economics. By 1996, I had completed my MBA and was running the Graduate Arts Management program.

In 1987, I returned to Perth to manage community radio station 6UVS-FM (now 6RTR-FM) and in 1989, joined the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as Station Manager of Radio National. During my time with the ABC I played a number of management roles including Federal Editor of Radio National. In addition, I provided management training for ABC staff, developed a specialist training program for women radio managers in the Asia-Pacific region and advised the South African Broadcasting Corporation on the restructuring of Radio South Africa (now SA-FM) after the 1994 elections.

MTC theatreHaving loved theatre all my life, I couldn’t resist the challenge of Melbourne Theatre Company and  became General Manager in 1994. It turned out to be a rather long love affair and I have only just left the Company after a final year in 2012 as CEO/Executive Director. The contributions to MTC of which I’m most proud are the creation of the Southbank Theatre, developing new headquarters for the Company in Southbank and creating a stable financial environment for the Company.

Over these years, I’ve been on the Board of many organisations including dance and theatre companies, employer and lobbying organisations, advisory and support committees. I was made a Life Member of Live Performance Australia in 2011. I continue to teach arts management and am a Senior Fellow at the University of Melbourne. I teach Advanced Arts Management in the University’s School of Culture and Communications. I’ve also been researching arts leadership with Dr Kate MacNeill and Sarah Reynolds and have presented work at a number of international conferences as well as having published papers on the subject.

This year’s highlight, in addition to the privilege of providing consultancy services for a number of arts and non-profit organisations and teaching at two great Australian universities, has been the publication of my book The A to Z of Arts Management available from Tilde University Press.

For more detail please see my curriculum vitae.


The A to Z of Arts Management: Reflections on Theory and Reality, Melbourne, Tidle University Press, 2015

Co-author with Kate Macneill and Sarah Reynolds, “Authenticity and the Other”, Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol.6, No. 3, 2013

Co-author with Kate MacNeill, “Leadership in Australian Arts Companies: One Size Does Not Fit All” in Arts Leadership: International Case Studies edited by Jo Caust, Melbourne: Tilde University Press, 2012

Co-Editor with Simon Phillips, Play On, Melbourne: MTC, 2011

Author, “Building Theatres in the 21st Century”  2009 International Symposium on Theater Arts and Cultural Administration – Innovation and Transformation, National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan

Co-author with Kate MacNeill, “Co-leadership and Gender in the Performing Arts”, Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management, Vol 6, Issue 1, 2009

Co-Editor with Julian Meyrick and Simon Phillips, The Drama Continues,Melbourne: MTC, 2005

Co-author with Peter Brokensha et al, The National Cultural-Leisure Industry Statistical Framework, Adelaide: Corporate Concern, 1988

Co-author with Peter Brokensha, Culture and Community: Economics and Expectations of the Arts in South Australia, Sydney: Social Science Press, 1986

Co-author with Peter Brokensha, 1984 Adelaide Festival: Economic Impact, Adelaide: SAIT, 1985