QPAC announces Rachel Healy as new Chief Executive

QPAC Rachel Healy photo by Lyndon MecheilsenThe Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) has announced Rachel Healy as the next Chief Executive to lead the Queensland institution when John Kotzas AM finishes his term in December this year.

Widely acknowledged as one of Australia’s leading arts professionals, Rachel will take on the role in early December just in time to usher in QPAC’s 40th anniversary year in 2025.

With more than 20 years professional experience across multiple artforms, venues, festivals and arts administration, and having served on more than 30 arts boards and government and industry advisory bodies, Rachel brings an extraordinary breadth of knowledge and expertise alongside a limitless passion for the arts to the role.

Chair of the Queensland Performing Arts Trust, Prof Peter Coaldrake AO said Rachel had the ideal blend of artistic leadership and arts management to drive QPAC forward.

“I am pleased to say that Rachel’s appointment was a unanimous decision by our Board following an extensive national and international recruitment process led by respected human resources agency Russell Reynolds,” said Prof Coaldrake.

“Perhaps best known for her role as Joint Artistic Director Adelaide Festival (with Neil Armfield) from 2015 – 2022, Rachel’s tenure in this high-profile cultural leadership position delivered remarkable critical acclaim, growth both in box office numbers and artistic accomplishment for the festival.”

“Rachel has held executive leadership positions at Belvoir St. Theatre, Sydney Opera House, Adelaide Festival, Vivid Festival and was the Executive Manager Culture for the City of Sydney.”

“We were looking for someone to continue QPAC’s resolve of being as commercially successful as it is dedicated to engaging audiences and the community.”

“The successful candidate needed to bring both business and creative nous, and to be a purpose-driven leader with an understanding of the important role the arts play in our wider Queensland community.”

“Rachel will step into an organisation well poised to move into a new era which includes the opening of a fifth venue making QPAC the largest performing arts centre in Australia under one roof.”

“I warmly acknowledge the important contribution that John Kotzas has made to the industry throughout his 15-year tenure as Chief Executive and look forward to celebrating his time leading QPAC later this year,” said Prof Coaldrake.

Arts Minister Leeanne Enoch welcomed the news of Rachel’s appointment and said that she would build on the significant legacy of current Chief Executive John Kotzas.

“With QPAC on the threshold of its 40th year, the addition of the new theatre and Brisbane 2032 Olympics and Paralympics firmly on the horizon, Rachel will be taking on this important cultural leadership role at a critical time,” said Minister Enoch.

“Rachel’s reputation for artistic and executive leadership and vision with nationally and internationally significant events and venues is certain to bolster QPAC’s long held commitment to supporting and developing our local arts sectors, showcasing our leading arts companies and bringing the best national and international performing arts to Queensland.”

Rachel Healy listed QPAC’s commitment to its Reconciliation Action Plan, the completion of the new theatre next year (QPAC’s fifth), the venue’s central position in the South Bank Cultural Precinct as well as the opportunity to build on QPAC’s strong legacy as among her reasons for taking on the role.

“I could not be more delighted about the prospect of a move to Brisbane and the opportunity to serve the wider Queensland and visitor community at QPAC,” said Rachel.

“The sheer number of extraordinary artists and cultural leaders Queensland produces is remarkable and it feels that the city’s ambition, civic pride and sense of purpose has accelerated.”

“Its commitment to active and affordable public transport, its Olympics and Paralympics bid, its investment in major cultural infrastructure all tell a story of a progressive, confident city opening its doors to the world,” said Rachel.

When asked what drives her as an arts leader, Rachel points to a passion for artists, artworkers and audiences in equal measure. “A great deal of my working life has been focused on marshalling resources for artists to thrive and establishing a productive environment for creative teams to do their best work,” said Rachel.

“I’m equally attentive to audiences: who buys a ticket and who doesn’t; the experience of the first timer and the expectations of a lifetime supporter. Even after decades of working in the arts, very little can be taken for granted; the environment is constantly dynamic.”

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas will continue to lead QPAC for the remainder of this year with his contract to finish on 10 December 2024. Rachel will begin in the role on 11 December 2024 for a five-year term.

For more information about the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), visit: www.qpac.com.au for details.

Image: Rachel Healy – photo by Lyndon Mecheilsen