Opera Queensland announces the departure of Executive Director Sandra Willis

OQ-Sandra-WillisOpera Queensland has announced the departure of Executive Director Sandra Willis, who will leave the state opera company in November.

Ms Willis will relocate to Melbourne to take up the role as General Manager of a membership organisation for professional women in business, law, education, community service and the arts.

Ms Willis is one of Australia’s leading arts sector executives with extensive experience across strategic leadership, producing, fundraising, production management and community engagement. Since June 2017 she has led Opera Queensland alongside Artistic Director and CEO Patrick Nolan.

During this time, Opera Queensland entered one of the most exciting periods in its history, presenting several critically acclaimed productions, premiering a new Australian opera, securing a three-year funding uplift, and increasing private sector contributions by 44%.

Mr Nolan applauds Ms Willis’s passion for the art form and unwavering commitment to enriching lives through opera. “Sandra has given an enormous amount to Opera Queensland in the years she has been here,” he said.

“Our excellent financial position, the increase in our audience reach and the significantly improved network of patrons and corporate partners is a great expression of her commitment, tireless work and ingenuity. We will miss her infectious laugh and keen understanding of the art form, which she has such a deep affection for. We wish her nothing but the very best in her new role,” said Mr Nolan.

Opera Queensland Chair, Emeritus Professor David Siddle, echoed Mr Nolan’s thanks. “Opera Queensland has benefitted greatly from Sandra’s astuteness and dedication,” he said.

“Along with Patrick, Sandra has worked extremely hard and effectively to develop and implement strategies that will see the company enter its 40th Anniversary year stronger than ever. I wish her every success for this next step in an exciting career,” said Professor Siddle.

Ms Willis is looking forward to reuniting with family and friends in Melbourne but said she would remember her time at Opera Queensland with great affection. “I am honoured to have been part of Opera Queensland’s executive team during a period of remarkable transformation for the company,” she said.

“I am incredibly proud of Opera Queensland’s achievements over the past three years and extend my gratitude to my wonderful colleagues, our supporters and audience, whose belief in the transformational power of opera is unwavering.”

“As Opera Queensland prepares for its 40th Anniversary in 2021, I have no doubt the company will continue to bring great joy to audiences while challenging the sector to reimagine the possibilities and potential of the art form,” said Ms Willis.

For more information about Opera Queensland, visit: www.oq.com.au for details.

Image: Sandra Willis – courtesy of Opera Queensland