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2007 Media Release - Richard Evans appointed new Opera House CEO

Issued Friday, 14 September 2007 


The NSW Government today announced that Richard Evans, Executive Director of The Australian Ballet, will begin as Sydney Opera House Chief Executive early next year.

Arts Minister Frank Sartor congratulated Mr Evans on his appointment which followed a national and international recruitment process.

“Mr Evans brings extensive knowledge and experience in the performing arts,” Mr Sartor said.

“He understands the challenges of staging a successful performance, as well as the business and management dimensions of complex performing arts enterprises.

“He has a track record of success in both these areas and is well-suited to his new role.

“I welcome Mr Evans and look forward to his leadership of the Sydney Opera House.”

Mr Evans will be the sixth Chief Executive of the Sydney Opera House since it opened in 1973.

He said it would be an honour to be at the helm of the organisation which represents the highest levels of creative achievement.

Mr Evans said: “The Sydney Opera House has long been an international icon of artistic and architectural significance. I look forward to working with staff and the Trustees to ensure Jørn Utzon’s spirit of invention and pride in the building is mirrored in its on-going use and influence by artists and audiences, long into the future.”

Chair of the Sydney Opera House Trust, Kim Williams AM, described Mr Evans as an insightful, talented and energetic leader who is deservedly respected by his peers.

“Richard has a strong entrepreneurial outlook with a good sense of humour – both qualities which are essential to managing an enterprise like the Sydney Opera House. He also has extensive familiarity with the House, developed over his years in the arts – which is a decided plus,” Mr Williams said.

“Richard’s five years with The Bell Shakespeare Company and five years with The Australian Ballet – both of which present substantial seasons every year at Sydney Opera House – means he understands the House and its people really well.

“He realises that the Sydney Opera House faces unique challenges as a high-profile, World Heritage-Listed performing arts centre with seven venues, as well as major event, tourism and restaurant businesses. I know that he relishes the challenge to fully realise the opportunities ahead.”

Arts Minister Frank Sartor said Mr Evans’ immediate priorities will include overseeing completion of the current building projects to improve access for less-mobile patrons, improving the aesthetics and functionality of the Western theatre foyers and cementing Sydney Opera House’s broad community role.

Richard Evans has been a senior arts administrator for many years, most notably with the State Theatre Company of South Australia, The Bell Shakespeare Company and, for the past five years, The Australian Ballet. He has been Chairman of Lucy Guerin Inc since May 2006 and has also been an active member of the Australian Major Performing Arts Group and Live Performance Australia (formerly the Australian Entertainment Industry Association).

The Australian Ballet Board Chairman David Crawford said: "Richard's leadership has provided The Australian Ballet with a strong platform for its artistic ambitions, and numerous successes have been achieved during the past five years.

"His support of David McAllister and his artistic staff has been inspiring as they have taken on new challenges at home and abroad.

"The Board and the entire company wish him well in his role at our Sydney home, the Sydney Opera House. We anticipate that his appointment will bring the two organisations even closer."

Ms Sue Nattrass AO will continue as Interim Chief Executive until Mr Evans takes up his appointment.


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