Sue Nattrass AO
- Sue Nattrass AO
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 industry.
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 tooperate 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.
Sue is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management. She has served on the Council and as President of the Victorian College of the Arts, Chairs the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals, the Collections Council of Australia and the Cultural Development Advisory Board of the Melbourne City Council. She is a member of the Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust, a Trustee of the Sydney Opera House, a Director of Federation Square Management Pty Ltd, the Theatre Royal in Hobart, the Harold Mitchell Foundation, the John Truscott Design Foundation and the Brian Stacey Memorial Trust. Her past board appointments include VicHealth, the Melbourne Football Club, Leadership Victoria and the Australia Indonesia Institute. Sue also chaired the Cultural Working Group for the 2006 Commonwealth Games and the cultural program of the 2007.
World Swimming Championships
In 1996 Sue was awarded the St Michael’s Medal for service to the community and, in 1999, the Victoria Day Award for Community and Public Service. In the 2002 Queen’s Birthday Honours she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia, and in 2003 she was awarded the Centenary Medal.
In October 2006, Sue received the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Cultural Leadership Award from the Australia Business Arts Foundation, acknowledging her ‘contribution to the arts, and her impact and authority in many aspects of Australia’s cultural life over four decades.’
In April 2007, Sue was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association. This acknowledged her leadership and support for all aspects of the performing arts sector and the wider arts community.
Sue was President of the AEIA/Live Performance Australia Executive Council from 1995 until 2003. She was awarded Life Membership in 2003.