Sue Nattrass AO
A Nice Night’s Entertainment, at the Assembly Hall in Melbourne in 1962 was the start of her long, continuing contribution to the Australian entertainment industr.y
In November 1983 Sue was recruited by George Fairfax to become Operations Manager at the nearly-completed Victorian Arts Centre
Sue Nattrass’s professional arts career began when entrepreneur Clifford Hocking asked her to operate the lighting for Barry Humphries’ first one-man show, A Nice Night’s Entertainment, at the Assembly Hall in Melbourne in 1962. This was the start of her long, continuing contribution to the commercial and publicly-funded sectors of the Australian entertainment industry.
Sue had dabbled in theatre while studying Commerce at the University of Melbourne. Though she tried acting, she was far more comfortable working behind the scenes or front-of-house with the various university dramatic societies and the fledgling Union Theatre Repertory Company – today’s Melbourne Theatre Company.
Sue’s first permanent theatre job was at the Melbourne home of vaudeville and revue, the Tivoli, initially as assistant stage manager and then as stage manager. From there she graduated to the position of stage director and occasional lighting designer for J.C. Williamson Theatres Ltd. In 1975 she joined entrepreneur Kenn Brodziak, who had bought the Williamson name for his production company, Aztec Services.
In November 1983 Sue was recruited by George Fairfax to become Operations Manager at the nearly-completed Victorian Arts Centre; one of her first Arts Centre jobs was to ‘steer’ the hugely successful Concert Hall production of The Pirates of Penzance; this launched the Centre’s continuing tradition of family-oriented summer musicals. After five years as Operations Manager and a year as Deputy General Manager, in 1989 Sue became the Arts Centre’s General Manager, a position she held until 1996. She later served as acting CEO of the Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust and the Sydney Opera House Trust.
Sue was the Artistic Director of the 1998 and 1999 Melbourne Festivals. In February 2000 she joined Melbourne-based Millmaine Entertainment as Executive Director–Producer Services, consulting to a wide range of arts organisations. During this time she was called on to serve as Interim CEO and Artistic Director in a dramatic ‘rescue mission’ for the floundering 2002 Adelaide Festival of the Arts.
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