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AMPAG chair retires

John Irving, who joined the AMPAG board in 2010 and has been chair of the State Theatre Company of South Australia since late 2007, begins his appointment as chair of the Australian Major Performing Arts Group today.

He is a director of 45 Park Pty Ltd, Martindale Holdings Pty Ltd, the South Australian Tourism Commission and Creative Partnerships Australia.

After seven years in the role, Derek Young AM is stepping down.

‘It has been a great privilege to work with Australia’s major performing arts companies over the past seven years. I am passing the AMPAG reins into the very safe and capable hands of John Irving, who will bring a great deal of passion, intellect and care to the business of the major performing arts sector.

Mr Young joined the AMPAG board in June 2005 and was appointed chair the following year.

‘Derek has made an enormous contribution to the performing arts landscape in Australia,’ Ms Bethwyn Serow, AMPAG’s Executive Director, said today. ‘His insightful leadership, drive and personal generosity will be greatly missed.’

Mr Young retired last month as chair of the Melbourne Theatre Company after 19 years of outstanding service to the company, and must therefore step down as AMPAG’s chair.

During his time at AMPAG, Mr Young has seen the role of the organisation grow in its effectiveness and its ambit.

Ms Serow said Derek had been instrumental in steering AMPAG companies successfully through times of great change.

‘Companies have seen an exponential shift in the proportion of funding they receive from the private sector.

‘They have had to get on the front foot to stimulate philanthropy in a climate of finite government funding. Derek has been at the forefront of this shift,’ she said.

‘It has been an absolute privilege to have served on the board with other directors of such incredible organisations,’ Mr Young said.

Mr Irving said he was greatly looking forward to working across the group.

‘We are blessed in Australia to have orchestras, theatre and opera companies, ballets, even a circus, that not only proudly wear the label, major performing arts company, but that fulfil that label to such effect.

‘Not only do our companies achieve standards of world-class excellence, they undertake a community and education role that gives millions around Australia access to their work,’ said Mr Irving.

‘It’s a fantastic opportunity to continue Derek’s great work. Our companies grow in ability and scope every year, but that brings with it a huge responsibility for AMPAG as their peak body to provide the best possible support. It will be a challenge and a privilege to chair AMPAG.’