Our people are invaluable to our success. Their skills, knowledge and expertise help provide the inspiration, vision, creativity and motivation that gives life to everything we do.

Arts Centre Melbourne prides itself on being an organisation that fully recognises, acknowledges and values the vital contribution our teams make to our success.

Our culture statement, The Role You Play, outlines our purpose, vision, priorities and values, while setting expectations we have of each other and across the team.

The Role You Play is a shared language to which we hold ourselves accountable, and is based on the values of leadership, community, caring more and creativity.

The Trust and Executive team

The Victorian Arts Centre Trust (the "Trust"), trading as "Arts Centre Melbourne", is a Victorian Government statutory authority. The Trust's core purpose is to enrich the lives of Victorians – culturally, educationally, socially and economically, making a leading contribution to the Victorian creative and visitor economies. Our Trustees are appointed by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister for the Creative Industries. The functions of the Trust are outlined in s.5(1) of the Victorian Arts Centre Act 1979.

Our Trustees

James MacKenzie: President

Originally a chartered accountant, James MacKenzie has extensive experience in the private and public sectors with roles across ANZ, Norwich Union, Mirvac Group and Pacific Brands. He has also held a number of public sector roles in Victoria including at the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), and the Victorian Major Events Company (VMEC). James has been a regular visitor to Arts Centre Melbourne over the years.

Frankie Airey

Frankie Airey has a long and distinguished career in development and philanthropy in both the UK and Australia, commencing with a hugely successful stint in the university sector including at Oxford University and the University of London. In the 1990s, she moved to Australia and established in-depth knowledge of the philanthropic sector and a track record of achievement in senior positions and consultancy. Frankie was Director of Development at Arts Centre Melbourne from 1994–97 and has been a consultant to the Victorian College for the Arts and the Sydney Opera House. She founded Philanthropy Squared in 2003.

Paul Barker

Paul Barker is a financial services professional with extensive experience at both board and executive level in Australia and overseas. He is currently the Chairman of Worksafe Victoria and of Mirvac Funds Management Ltd, as well as being a Non-Executive Director of Cricket Victoria. He has held board and committee appointments with the Transport Accident Commission, Victorian Workcover Authority and Stadium Operations Ltd (Etihad Stadium).

Warwick Bray

Warwick Bray is Chief Financial Officer at Telstra, his latest senior management role in over 25 years of global experience in finance, strategy, telecommunications and business development. Prior to Telstra, Warwick worked in investment banking with roles at Taemas Bridge in Australia, Babcock and Brown, JP Morgan and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein in London, and for 10 years at McKinsey and Company in both London and Melbourne advising on strategy, regulation, mergers and acquisitions, capital spend and operational effectiveness.

Catherine McClements

Catherine McClements is one of Australia's most respected and recognised actors. She graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1985 and in the years since has had a successful and award-winning career in Australian film, television and theatre. Catherine has received AFI and Logie nominations and awards throughout her career, which has included leading performances in The Secret Life of Us, Tangle, Rush, Wentworth, Call Me Mum and Water Rats.

Andrew Myer AM

Andrew pursues a variety of business interests through the A V Myer Group of Companies, including property development, investment, film and philanthropy. He is a director of The Myer Family Investments since 2013 and a Trustee of The Sidney Myer Fund and was a Vice President of The Myer Foundation from 1999 to 2003. Andrew was Vice President of Bush Heritage Australia for nine years until March 2016 and a director, Chair and Deputy-Chair of the Melbourne International Film Festival for sixteen years until October 2017. He was appointed Chair of Arts Centre Melbourne Foundation and became a director of Documentary Australia Foundation in June 2017. Andrew joined the board of Malthouse Theatre in February 2018. He is founder and a director of the Andyinc Foundation a PAF established in 2002. As producer and executive producer of eleven Australian feature films, his credits include: Radiance, Balibo, Paper Planes, Last Cab to Darwin and the telemovie Dangerous Remedy for the ABC.

Ian Roberts

Ian Roberts was the Chief Executive Officer of the Harold Mitchell Foundation and a member of the Arts Tasmania Advisory Board. He was General Manager of the Melbourne Festival for six years (1995–2001) and General Manager of the Geelong Performing Arts Centre for five years (1990–95). He is Chair of International Concert Attractions, Chair of the Victorian Australia Day Committee, Deputy Chair of the Melbourne International Film Festival, Deputy Chair of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and member of the Major Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council.

Dr Nora Scheinkestel

Dr Nora Scheinkestel is an experienced company director, having served for over 20 years as a non-executive chairman and director of companies in a wide range of industry sectors and in the public, government and private spheres. She is currently Chairperson of Macquarie Atlas Roads Limited, as well as a Director of Telstra Corporation Limited, Stockland Group and Ausnet Services Ltd, and is also an Associate Professor at the Melbourne Business School (MBS).

Helen Silver AO

Helen Silver is Chief General Manager of the Workers' Compensation Division at Allianz Australia. She has held senior positions in both the Victorian and Commonwealth public services. She has served as Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet in Victoria, and as General Manager, Government Business at National Australia Bank. She is a National Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia, and a Vice-Chancellor's Professorial Fellow at Monash University. Helen is a Director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Our Executive team

Claire Spencer: Chief Executive Officer

Claire commenced work at Arts Centre Melbourne as Chief Executive Officer in November 2014. Since that time she has steered the organisation through a major restructure to better position the organisation for the future and to assist with its key role as a leader in the cultural precinct and a major contributor to Victoria's creative economy.

Claire is a Member of Chief Executive Women, the pre-eminent organisation representing Australia's most senior women leaders from the corporate, public service, academic and not-for-profit sectors, and she is also on the Executive Council of Live Performance Australia (LPA), the national peak body formed to ensure the long term sustainability of the Australian live performance industry. She is on the Board of The Pinnacle Foundation, established to provide scholarships and mentoring support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex students (aged 16–24) who are marginalised or disadvantaged.

Clare is also a member of the Australian Government's Australia–Singapore Arts Group, established in May 2016 to build on the commitment both countries made following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Arts and Culture in 2015. The group meets regularly to provide advice and recommendations that will drive an ongoing program of cultural activities in both countries to enhance our cultural relations, develop professional skills and cultivate audiences.

Prior to Arts Centre Melbourne, Claire was at the Sydney Opera House for nearly 12 years, her last role being Chief Operating Officer. In this capacity, Claire was responsible for Precinct Businesses (Food and Beverage, Tours & Retail), Finance, Information Systems, People and Culture, Legal and Strategy and Risk Management. Prior to her tenure at the Sydney Opera House, Claire worked at Ernst and Young (London) and Cable and Wireless (London and Sydney).

Deirdre Blythe: Executive Director, Operations and Chief Financial Officer

Deirdre leads our Operations team, which includes Finance, IT, Facilities Management, Food and Beverage, Legal, Strategic Planning and Governance and Infrastructure Planning and Management. Deirdre is also Arts Centre Melbourne’s Chief Financial Officer.

She has held senior finance roles in Melbourne and overseas, including Executive Director Finance of Alfred Health and Chief Financial Officer of BUPA. Deirdre is also a Director of Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and a member of Cancer Council Victoria's Finance, Risk Management, Audit and Compliance Committee.

Leanne Lawrence: Executive Director, Human Resources

Leanne leads our Human Resources team and supports the delivery our strategic goals through workforce planning, industrial and employee relations, change management, succession planning, professional development and talent management, wellbeing, diversity and HR operations.

Leanne has held senior roles in federal and state government agencies including the Fair Work Commission and the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victoria. Leanne joined Arts Centre Melbourne after working at Benetas, one of Victoria's leading not-for-profit providers of aged care and retirement living. Leanne also has a broader interest in governance and community and is currently President of a not-for-profit education and support services organisation.

Fiona Poletti: Executive Director, External Engagement

As Executive Director for External Engagement, Fiona is responsible for strategic and government relationships and advocacy.

She has held senior advisory positions to a Federal Arts Minister and the Australia Council for the Arts, as well as working at the Australian Embassy, Tokyo, in public diplomacy. After returning to Melbourne, Fiona took up a position as Director of Planning and Development with Circus Oz, along with being a staff-elected board representative for two years.

Melanie Smith: Executive Director, Performing Arts

Melanie leads the Programming, Presenter Services, Production, Collections and Asian Arts program teams to develop and deliver the Performing Arts Strategy and Business Plan.

Melanie was previously the Deputy Director and Head of Programming for Auckland Live, New Zealand's largest performing arts centre, comprising Aotea Centre, Civic Theatre, Auckland Town Hall, Bruce Mason Centre, Aotea Square, where she was responsible for developing Arts Programs and the Commercial Theatre Business plan, and negotiating commercial contracts for Auckland Stadiums for non-sporting events.

Richard Zimmermann: Executive Director, Philanthropy

Richard leads our Philanthropy team and is responsible for growing philanthropic support for Art Centre Melbourne's access, education, commissions and collections programs, all of which are enabled through the generosity of donors.

With a strong background in film and performing arts, Richard's first foray into not-for-profit fundraising occurred when, as Director of Management Enterprises Ltd, an entrepreneurial arts marketing company he co-founded in New Zealand, he mounted a successful rock concert called "Rain Aid", with all proceeds going to provide relief for flood victims.

Since moving to Melbourne in 1990 Richard has continued to work extensively in marketing and fundraising for the film, arts and health sectors. He has headed up successful philanthropy programs at The Australian Film Institute, The Australian Ballet School, Jewish Care, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Bush Heritage Australia and the Royal Children's Hospital Foundation.

Richard is a longstanding member of the Fundraising Institute Australia and, outside of his professional work, is actively involved in supporting arts, philanthropy and education. Since 2006 he has been the Chairman of not-for-profit arts company Tashmadada, which aims to support, nurture and engage in contemporary performing arts practices.