Executive Director of Belvoir, Brenna Hobson, has been appointed Executive Producer of the world-renowned National Theatre of Scotland.
Hobson has been Executive Director at Belvoir since 2008, but she had her first experience of Belvoir as a 15 year-old work experience student. At 17 she had her first job as Assistant Stage Manager and worked her way up to Production Manager over ten years. In 2005 she left Belvoir and spent a year as Production Manager at Bangarra Dance Theatre, and two years as General Manager at Jigsaw Youth Theatre in Canberra. She returned to Belvoir in 2008 as General Manager (now Executive Director) and co-CEO.
During her tenure, Hobson oversaw the successful transition from long-serving Artistic Director Neil Armfield to Ralph Myers, and then to current Artistic Director Eamon Flack. Her time at Belvoir has been characterised by significant expansion in Belvoir’s overseas touring schedule and the company’s increasing commitment to equality and diversity.
Over the past ten years, Belvoir’s international touring has grown from one tour each two-three years to several tours per year, thanks to Hobson’s diligent advocacy for Belvoir’s productions and artists. Highlights include The Wild Duck’s tour to the Ibsen Festival in Oslo and a highly acclaimed season at the Barbican in London, and the Indian tour of Stories I Want to Tell You in Person by Lally Katz.
Since 2011 Belvoir has achieved gender parity for writers and directors in each season as well in increasing its output of Indigenous-led theatre and creating new pathways into the company for artists from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Hobson has taken both a formal and informal role in these advancements through hiring and programming decisions and mentoring of many artists and administrators.
On her departure Hobson said, ‘I have adored working for Belvoir, both in its production department early in my career and as General Manager and then Executive Director for the last nine years. It’s been an enormous honour to work for a company that is such a vital part of Australian culture and it will be a wrench to leave.
‘I’m thrilled to be joining a company of the calibre of the National Theatre of Scotland, a company tasked with articulating Scottish identity in all its forms, at such a crucial time in the country’s history.’
Current Artistic Director Eamon Flack said, ‘Theatre companies run on a cycle of boom-and-not-quite-bust. Brenna has been a great champion of Belvoir through about three of these cycles in her life at the company. As our Executive Director she has helped deliver some of the greatest successes we’ve ever had. She’s been gentle in crisis and tough in the good times and always keen to push the envelope. Any Executive Director who happily says yes to Angels in America at Belvoir St is a great Executive Director. But Brenna has also been a real friend to artists, quietly fighting the good fight for Sydney’s independent venues, and championing quiet achievers from all over the country. It’s been a great nine years at the helm. Brenna leaves us with rock–solid foundations and a bold future.’
The Chair of Belvoir’s Board Sam Meers said, ‘Brenna’s leadership of Belvoir as Executive Director over the past nine years has undoubtedly secured the company’s position as one of Sydney’s most innovative and exciting arts companies. Brenna’s deep intelligence, tireless energy, and her absolute and authentic commitment to all aspects of the artistic process has made it a pleasure and privilege to work with her.
‘There are so many things we will miss about Brenna – her integrity, her fearlessness, her humour; but above all, her ability to rise calmly above the chaos and adeptly steward everyone in the right direction. The Belvoir Board joins me in wishing Brenna well, and we look forward to watching her achieve greatness on the world stage.’
Former Artistic Director of Belvoir Ralph Myers said, ‘There is no one person who has dedicated a greater proportion of their life to Belvoir than Brenna Hobson. She has worked at the company for more than half her life, first in the production department, and then as Executive Director.
‘The same thing that made Brenna a great Production Manager made her a great Executive Director. She’s driven by the right thing – by the relentless drive to make every show great. It’s so easy to lose sight of in the chaos and madness of a busy theatre company. But having leaders, both artistic and executive, who watch, engage with, and care for the work on stage is critical to the health of a theatre company.
‘There are very few corners of the culture of our city that haven’t benefited from Brenna’s contribution. She will be sorely missed.’
Former Belvoir Chair and current CEO of the Sydney Opera House, Louise Herron said, ‘I am thrilled for Brenna. She has gone from strength to strength, from challenge to challenge and now to (lucky) Scotland.
‘Brenna has been a central figure in the arts in Australia – from the very start as a production work experience kid, to Executive Director of Belvoir and Trustee of the Sydney Opera House – it is an inspiring path and I wish her all the very best in her new role as Executive Producer of the National Theatre of Scotland.’
Hobson will continue in her role at Belvoir until the end of May, and commence at the National Theatre of Scotland in June. Belvoir’s Board has commenced an extensive recruitment process to appoint a new Executive Director.
For media information and interviews contact Elly Baxter
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