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 and Philanthropy 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.

Organisations for whom I’ve done consultancy work in 2017 include Arts Centre Melbourne, Melbourne Recital Centre, Philip Adams Ballet Lab, Polyglot Theatre, City of Port Philliip and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

For more detail please see my curriculum vitae:  CV2017 November Ann Tonks.

Recent Publications

Co-authored with Sarah Reynolds & Kate McNeill, “Collaborative Leadership in the Arts as a Unique Form of Dual Leadership”, Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society, March 2017

The A to Z of Arts Management: Reflections on Theory and Reality, Melbourne, Tilde Publications, 2016

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