Sue Nattrass Award

May 6, 2021

On 5 May, I joined an amazing group of people in receiving the Sue Nattrass Award for exceptional service to the Australian live
performance industry. It’s an award which focuses on shining a spotlight on people in service roles that support and drive the live entertainment industry. My fellow winner this year was the renowned Jill Smith who has contributed so much to the arts in Victoria as General Manager of Malthouse Theatre and the Geelong Performing Arts Centre as well as an advisor and consultant and board member. For more detail about the awards:

I thought I’d share my thank you speech because it does acknowledge all the people who enabled me to do my job.

“These moments are all about thanks.

Thanks to Sue Nattrass for being such an amazing manager that she has an award named after her.

Thanks to Evelyn & Richard and the LPA team for making this award possible.

Thank to Robyn for her kind words.

Thanks to all the amazing artists I’ve worked with.

But most importantly, thanks to all the great managers I’ve worked with over the years.

I was having a conversation last week with some friends about the lack of good managers. They talked about the micromanagers and the bullies; the managers lacking people skills and financial skills; they talked about the power-hungry and self-obsessed. And locking back over my career I thought how lucky I’d been – and when I wasn’t lucky, I resigned. Live’s too short to put up with bad managers. So I would like to recognize and thank that small group of people who managed me well….including some of the great Chairs of Boards that I’ve worked with – John, Bobbie, Fiona. Ralph, Ian and Derek.

I also want to thank my peers – the CEOs and managers of radio stations and theatre companies, dance companies and venues, who shared their wisdom and their skills and helped me understand this wonderful industry in which we work and how to be a better manager.

When I give my introductory lecture to arts management students at the University of Melbourne, I say that management is about people, people, people, people, people, people, money, buildings. And so I’d also like to thank the people who have worked for me over the years. Without their skill and dedication, then I wouldn’t have been able to achieve anything.

And I’d like to thank the artistic directors that I’ve had the honour of sharing partnerships with – in particular, those great blokes at Melbourne Theatre Company – Roger, Simon and Brett….and how exciting is it that after 68 years, the new AD is going to be a woman, Anne-Louise Saks.

And I should mention 2 people who couldn’t be here today – one is providing drug and alcohol counselling to people in need and the other is having their first gig as a volunteer at Lort Smith Animal Hospital: my sister Susan and my nephew Sebastian. Their care and company at home made me a better manager out in the world.

And of course, I couldn’t finish without congratulating the other people who are winning an award today…’s a secret for another few minutes but they represent the very best of all the arts have to offer.

Thank you.”