STC Spring Awakening Photo: Brett Boardman
By bringing us into contact with high achievements they make us eager for achievements of our own. We come away from them [theatre, dance, orchestral or chamber concert] with a quickened interest in things, a deeper awareness of our own possibility and power. And all this we carry back into daily living and into the work we do ... David Malouf  Writer 


AMPAG, as the representative body of Australia’s 28 major performing arts companies, gives its member companies a national voice and presence. It was formed in 1999 because the companies saw a critical need to work together on policy issues across their art forms including ones which affect artistic quality and cost/revenue dynamics.

In 2017, AMPAG members attracted national (including regional and remote) audiences of 3,631, 637 million, presented to 639,510 students through school programs and reached 91,922 participants through workshops, classes and seminars. The vast majority of MPAs engage in annual regional tours providing opportunities for access and participation (including creative skills development).

Live performance creates a rich and vibrant cultural life for all Australians. Increasingly performances can be accessed through digital media, extending their reach and creating ever larger audiences. At AMPAG, we advocate for the sustainability of, and the public value delivered through the major performing arts organisations and support their leadership role in advancing the sector.

AMPAG’s mission is to reinforce the relevance and sustainability of our members. By doing so AMPAG reinforces the value of the Arts.

AMPAG's Work

AMPAG’s work includes:

  • working with government authorities and other organisations to improve and extend performing arts support in Australia
  • facilitated joint advocacy across the performing arts peak organisations in Australia
  • representing the performing arts on a range of government advisory committees
  • devising relevant and strategic policies on issues that affect performing arts in Australia
  • preparing submissions to government inquiries and reviews on behalf of member companies
  • conducting an annual survey of sponsorship and donations to the major performing arts companies
  • creating a forum for company leaders to discuss shared issues
  • supporting peer to peer knowledge exchange including facilitating the MPA Education Forum and MPA HR Forum
  • speaking at public forums on current issues relating to the performing arts
  • promoting awareness of the depth and breadth of the MPAs sector leadership and impact
  • promote awareness of the diversity of opening nights across the national MPA group
  • conducting salary surveys within the performing arts sector.

Meet the AMPAG Board

Mary Jo Capps AM (Chair AMPAG)

Mary Jo Capps has worked in the Australian cultural industry for more than 30 years after graduating with an MA in Musicology from the University of Toronto in her country of origin, Canada.

She began her professional career in Perth WA working with symphony orchestras and ABC Radio production on both sides of the continent. In 1987 she established her own consultancy practice, focused on facilitating strategic planning, board development and fundraising plus overseas touring in several major Australian arts companies including the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Company B Belvoir Theatre, Bangarra Dance Theatre, National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Subsequently she became Deputy Managing Director and Director of Development for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Ms Capps was appointed CEO of Musica Viva in 1999, where she has been particularly concerned with arts education, both live and digital, and providing professional development for emerging musicians, composers, classroom music teachers and arts administrators.

Mary Jo was also the first female President of the Sydney Business Chamber since it was founded in 1825. She is currently Chair of the Advisory Board of the Faculty of the VCA and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne, Chair of the Peggy Glanville Hicks Composers Trust, a Board Director of the Community Council of Australia, and a Council member of the Centre for Social Impact.

Mary Jo was awarded the inaugural Arts Leadership Award by Creative Partnerships Australia in 2016 and she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Melbourne in 2017 in recognition of her contribution to the arts.

Carolyn Chard AM Executive Director, West Australian Opera

Carolyn Chard is Executive Director, West Australian Opera and has worked in senior roles in theatre, festival and opera including leadership roles with Deckchair Theatre 1992-1994, Barking Gecko Theatre 1995-1999, Black Swan Theatre secondment 2000; Awesome Festival 1995-1999, West Australian Opera 2001-2005 , Opera Australia 2005-2009, West Australian Opera 2009-present.  She has a Bachelor of Arts, Arts Management (WAAPA 1990-1992) and studied fashion design (1986-1988). In the ‘80s she produced dance parties, wrote music reviews and contributed a weekly club column for the West Australian Newspaper. In 2004 she was awarded a fellowship to attend the Executive Program for Non Profit Leaders (Arts) at Stanford University, California and in 2014 was awarded a place in McKinsey’s inaugural ‘Remarkable Women Program’. She was awarded in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours List as member in the General Division (AM) of the Order of Australia.

Libby Christie Executive Director, The Australian Ballet

Libby Christie was appointed to the position of Executive Director of The Australian Ballet in July 2013. Prior to taking up her current role at The Australian Ballet, she acted as CEO of the Australia Council from December 2012 to May 2013, and prior to that occupied the position of Executive Director of Arts Funding at the Australia Council for the Arts from 2009 to 2012 From 2003 to 2009 Libby was Managing Director of the Sydney Symphony. Before joining the Sydney Symphony, Libby held senior management roles in the technology and telecommunications sector.

A graduate in Arts and Adult Education from Sydney University and the Canberra College of Advanced Education (now University of Canberra), Libby started her career in the further education and tertiary education sector where she worked as an adult educator in the ACT.

Philip Crutchfield Q.C. Board director, Bell Shakespeare

Philip holds Commerce and Honours Law Degrees from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Laws from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

He was admitted to the Mallesons Stephen Jaques partnership on 1 January 1996 and signed the Victorian Bar roll in November 1998. He took silk in 2009.

He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and former President of the Commercial Bar Association of Victoria. He is also a board member of Bell Shakespeare and Geelong Grammar School.

Anne Dunn Executive Director, Sydney Dance Company

Anne has 18 years’ experience in the performing arts and has been Sydney Dance Company Executive Director since 2010. She was previously the Darwin Festival General Manager (2006-09), Perth International Arts Festival Program Manager and Artistic Administrator (2003-06), and previously held roles in the producers unit of Sydney Opera House and with the Sydney Olympic Coordination Authority.

Anne is currently convenor, National Dance Manager Meetings (2011-present; Council Member, Performing Arts Touring Alliance Management (2016-present) and joined the Sydney Opera House Trust 1 Jan 2018 & is a member of their Audit and Risk Committee. She has previously been Chair of Music NT (2007-09)

She is graduated with a BA Hons from Macquarie University.

John Irving Chair State Opera of South Australia 

John joined the AMPAG board in 2010. He is Chair of State Opera of South Australia and was Chair of the State Theatre Company of South Australia prior to this appointment ( 2007-2016) . He is Chair of Martindale Holdings Pty Ltd and 45 Park P/L (Property Development), a director of the South Australian Tourism Commission owner of Dundee Bay Consulting and Sessional Member of the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT).

Elizabeth Jameson Deputy Chair AMPAG / Chair Queensland Theatre

In 2002, after almost 15 years as a corporate/commercial lawyer, including as a partner of national law firm Deacons (now Norton Rose Fulbright) and 10 years as a practising director, Elizabeth founded Board Matters and its associated governance legal practice, Board Matters Legal.

Today, over 16 years later, she is its Executive Chair, heading up a team of 7 specialist governance, legal and strategy consultants. Drawing together the strands of her career, Elizabeth has provided corporate legal and governance assistance and advice, with a real-life ‘practising director’ perspective, to a large range of companies, organisations, and industries for well over 20 years. This has included listed, private, public sector and not-for-profit boards. She also maintains an active portfolio of directorships, presently with RACQ, Queensland Police Service and Chairs the Board of Queensland Theatre. Her past directorships have also included the boards of over 20 organisations, for-profit and not-for-profit, including experience on a private company board in the UK and chair of a leading Australian professional services firm

Virginia Lovett  Executive Director Melbourne Theatre Company

Virginia Lovett took up the role of MTC ’s Executive Director in January 2013. Prior to this she was General Manager of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival where she delivered a funding increase of extra millions and in 2011 achieved record attendance levels. A highly experienced and well-respected arts manager, she successfully designed a range of strategic and audience development initiatives through her roles at Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Sydney Festival.

In addition, Virginia has extensive marketing and communications experience gained in a range of different organisations including Zoos Victoria, Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Sydney Theatre Company. She worked as a media advisor for state ministers in Victoria and New South Wales.

In 2006 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship. Virginia was previously Chair of Force Majeure and Arena Theatre Company, a member of the Executive Council of Live Performance Australia, a member of the ABC Arts Reference Panel. Currently a Board Member of Committee for Melbourne and Arena Theatre Company She is currently the Chair of the Theatre Panel for the LPA and an Australia Council assessor.

Dr Alison Pert Director, Opera Australia

Dr Alison Pert is a lawyer with extensive experience in commercial contracts, litigation, insurance and public international law. Her career has spanned the government, private and academic sectors, both in Australia and overseas. Alison has worked for the governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia, representing the latter in treaty negotiations. She has worked in private practice and as in-house counsel, and currently lectures in public international law at the University of Sydney. She is the author of two books and many articles and papers; she also gives media interviews on the issues of public international law arising from current events. She is a passionate supporter of opera.

Craig Whitehead Chief Executive, Queensland Symphony Orchestra

Craig is currently the Chief Executive of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra  and WA Venues & Events Pty Ltd. He has extensive experience in senior roles within the arts industry having previously been the Choef Excutive at West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Chief Executive of West Australian Opera, and the General Manager of La Boite Theatre Company and the Roundhouse Theatre. Craig is currently a Director of Symphony Services International.

He has also served as a Director of Future Now, Youth Arts Queensland, Brisbane Writers Festival, and was a Committee Member of the Brisbane City Council’s Music and Performing Arts Advisory Committee, and a Member of the Queensland Department of State Development’s Creative Industries - Performing Arts Segment Group. Craig completed the Advanced Management Program at INSEAD in 2015.