Queensland Theatre appoints three new Associate Artistic Directors to meet state-wide artistic vision

Fiona MacDonald Daniel Evans and Isaac Drandic courtesy of Queensland TheatreQueensland Theatre is expanding its mission to grow the arts across Queensland with the appointment of three new Associate Artistic Directors in First Nations, Programming and Education and Youth, welcoming three leading artists – Isaac Drandic, Daniel Evans and Fiona MacDonald, to these newly created roles.

Renowned director, dramaturg, actor and playwright, and proud Noongar man from southwest of Western Australia, Isaac Drandic will move into the role of Associate Artistic Director (First Nations) to lead Queensland Theatre’s engagement with First Nations arts and elevate cultural storytelling across the state.

In this role, Isaac will connect a broad range of First Nations community stakeholders and work closely with Queensland Theatre’s Indigenous Reference Group on the artistic direction and programming of all current and future First Nations stories, along with the creation of important pathways and opportunities for First Nations artists and creatives.

“First Nations self-determination is on the agenda at Queensland Theatre and has been actioned. The future of Blak theatre in the sunshine state is bright,” said Isaac Drandic.

Award-winning writer, director and producer, Daniel Evans will step into the role of Associate Artistic Director (Programming) where he will develop artistic programs and initiatives that expand the opportunities for Queensland artists to develop and present work and tell new stories of and from Queensland.

The recently announced DOOR 3 program, which gives three Queensland-based theatre collectives the support to stage independent theatre works in the Diane Cilento Studio, was the first of these new initiatives.

Daniel will bring first-hand experience to the role, having most recently worked to bring some of the state’s most impressive, daring creative works to the stage, such as Drizzle Boy, The Almighty Sometimes and I Want To Know What Love Is.

“This role is about making sure artists are at the heart of everything we do at Queensland Theatre,” said Daniel Evans. “I’m excited to seed programs that meaningfully grow Queensland artists at all stages of their careers to tell stories across this state and beyond.

“Both Lee and Criena have kept space around the role so that this position can bend and shift to respond to sector needs. I can’t wait to work with both Fi and Isaac – to create some truly epic new Queensland works for the stage.”

Esteemed creative producer, theatre maker and community arts practitioner Fiona MacDonald will join Queensland Theatre as Associate Artistic Director (Education and Youth), bringing her extensive expertise in creating and delivering unique, socially-engaged creative experiences with and for children and young people, and their communities, to this new role.

In leading Queensland Theatre’s Education and Youth Programs, Fiona will enhance the incredible programs Queensland Theatre delivers with Young People, and guide the introduction of bespoke programming for children, harnessing the wonder of play and imagination to foster a love of theatre from the early years.

“It’s a great thing for a state theatre company to commit to an artistic leadership role dedicated to art for, by and with children and young people,” said Fiona MacDonald. “It ensures the culture of children; childhood and youth are a core part of the company’s operations.”

“I am very proud and privileged to be able to represent our youngest citizens in Queensland Theatre’s planning and programming going forward.”

Executive Director, Criena Gehrke says the three new appointments have been a long time coming and part of the organisation’s plans to truly expand their impact on the arts right across Queensland.

“Queensland Theatre has a responsibility to grow the state’s theatre ecology in a meaningful way and put artists at the heart of the company,” said Gehrke. “The idea of having an ‘artistic hive’ of great artists leading different streams of our programming is exciting.”

“Isaac will be crucial in the self-determination of First Nations theatre and artists, while Daniel and Fiona will play a critical role in delivering our artistic vision through deep engagement with artists, audiences, our young people, and their families.”

Isaac Drandic, Daniel Evans and Fiona MacDonald will step into their new roles in the coming month ahead of Queensland Theatre’s first production of its 2024 Season – Gaslight – which Artistic Director Lee Lewis says provides the perfect platform to celebrate these new roles.

“I can’t wait to start working and creating with these three amazing artists. Queensland Theatre will be able to move and operate at a new creative level, which will benefit our audiences, artists and the broader community,” says Lewis.

For more information about Queensland Theatre and its programs, visit: www.queenslandtheatre.com.au for details.

Image: Fiona MacDonald, Daniel Evans and Isaac Drandic – courtesy of Queensland Theatre