Opera Australia appoints new CEO
Fiona Allan has been appointed the new Managing Director of Opera Australia. She will assume the role by the end of 2021, with Rory Jeffes – who announced he will be leaving OA in February – continuing as CEO until then.
Born in Sydney but based in the UK since 2004, Allan has worked in the arts and culture sector for over 25 years, with a career spanning both artistic and organizational leadership.
She comes to OA direct from Birmingham Racecourse where she has been Artistic Director and General Manager since 2015. With leading producers, Birmingham Racecourse features a wide range of performing arts including musicals, international dance and ballet, opera, theater and comedy.
Allan was the first female CEO of Birmingham Racecourse and will also be OA’s first female CEO.
She is joining OA at a difficult time in her history due to the impact of COVID-19, which has forced her to cancel most of her 2020 season, as well as her Sydney 2021 winter season. He recently postponed his next seasons of The Phantom of the Opera in Sydney and Melbourne for which he had taken $ 20 million in ticket sales.
In 2020, she was forced to sell her warehouse in Alexandria, and there were breakups when the company laid off 56 employees, including 16 musicians. In June of this year, he announced that he had posted a trade deficit of $ 7.1 million for 2020.
Allan – who faced similar challenges at Birmingham Racecourse where she downsized the company in 2020 and oversaw staff layoffs in response to the coronavirus – will lead OA as she continues her recovery from COVID, in collaboration with artistic director Lyndon Terracini to reposition the company in order to operate in a post-pandemic world.
“We are delighted that such an accomplished cultural and business leader has agreed to return home to Australia,” said Opera Australia President David Mortimer.
“This is a critical meeting as Opera Australia is the largest and most important performing arts company in the country, and our successful recovery from COVID-19 will help boost the entire arts sector. by rebuilding jobs and activity. “
“Fiona’s mission will be to build on the extraordinary work that outgoing CEO Rory Jeffes and Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, and the entire Opera Australia team have done in recent years, and to continue to expand her reach. and its appeal to ensuring the continued survival of the company, ”Mortimer says.
Allan said she was “extremely excited” to join Opera Australia.
“My career has always been about connecting new audiences with great art, so doing that with such an amazing company is an opportunity that I relish,” she said.
“Australia has always been my homeland. I look forward to rekindling connections with friends and colleagues across the country and working with other artistic and cultural leaders to promote the value of a thriving Australian cultural sector.
Born in Sydney, Allan holds a Bachelor of Music (Hons) from the University of Sydney. She worked as a clarinetist for several years before studying a postgraduate degree in arts management and later an MBA from Sydney University of Technology, where she later became an adjunct lecturer. She also took short-term professional development courses at Harvard and Oxford universities.
Before leaving Australia in 2004 to pursue a career abroad, she was Managing Director of the Sydney Film Festival (2002-2004), Executive Producer of the REV Festival at Brisbane Powerhouse (2001-2002), Senior Producer at the ‘Sydney Opera House (1997-2001) and Managing Director of the Australian National Academy of Music (1995-1997).
In the UK, before moving to Birmingham Hippodrome, she was Managing Director of the Curve Theater in Leicester (2011-2015) and Artistic Director of the Wales Millennium Center (2004-2011).
Allan is currently Chairman of the UK Theater, Chairman of the Midlands Regional Tourism Board and Director of several other arts and business organizations. In October 2018, she received the Woman with Edge award at the Women of the Year Awards in the UK.