The Substation announces Paul Selwyn Norton as its new Chief Executive Officer & Artistic Director

The Substation is delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Selwyn Norton as its new Chief Executive Officer & Artistic Director.

Paul succeeds Brad Spolding, who left The Substation after 7 years to take up a role at Brisbane Powerhouse. Brad’s achievements and transformation of the organisation led the Board to commence a rigorous recruitment process to find a successor who would not only maintain those achievements, but take the organisation into its next exciting phase.

Throughout his 25-year career as an artist, producer and director, Paul’s entrepreneurial skill-set and access to world class product has been his currency and curatorial benchmark. After 12 years of performing with renowned dance companies Batsheva and William Forsythe / Ballet Frankfurt, he set up his own production company in the Netherlands. Using his international experience and network, he then toured leading Dutch entertainment in venues across Europe and North America.

Moving permanently to Australia in 2014, Paul brought the same ingenuity and connectivity to his role as director of STRUT Dance and Junction Arts Festival. Recognising that Perth, at the height of the West Australian economic boom, was also looking to build its assets in the cultural sector, he engaged some of the most vital and cutting-edge artists in multi-year programs and presentations in WA.

Partnerships with such luminaries as William Forsythe, Crysta Pite, Punchdrunk’s Maxine Doyle and Hofesh Shechter went on to launch new cultural precincts and catapult local artists into signature festivals and organisations across Australia and the world. Similarly in Launceston, Paul was able to develop and embed pathways of First Nations, multi-cultural, and LGBTQI+ inclusion into Junction Arts Festival, significantly broadening the programming diversity to allow for a richer, vibrant, and more intergenerational experience for its citizens.

“My deepest gratitude to the Board for inviting me to be the next custodian, CEO and Artistic Director of The Substation and to become part of the Hobson’s Bay City community,” said Paul.

“Brad, Michaela and the whole team have embedded The Substation deeply into the cultural landscape both locally and beyond, significantly lifting the programming aspirations, stakeholder investment and audience engagement to brilliant heights.”

“It will be an immense honour to add my own entrepreneurial capacity and connectivity to that legacy and together with the team continue to build The Substation into a beacon of creative opportunity in Hobson’s Bay and co-create a vibrant and enticing future for diverse artists, audiences and communities at large,” said Paul.

The Substation Board engaged the services of Tony Grierson, of Aegeus Executive Search, to help identify the new leader of the organisation. In recent years, The Substation had secured multi-year funding from all three levels of Government, with substantial increases to audiences through its nationally recognised program across visual art and live performance. The role attracted interest from candidates across Australia.

“The Board are thrilled to welcome Paul to the role of CEO & Artistic Director. Paul’s artistic vision will allow us to continue commissioning and delivering bold programs which champion the diversity of the Western Suburbs, and contribute to the social and cultural richness of Victoria,” said James Lockyer, Chair of The Substation Board.

“This remarkable venue was originally built to power the suburban rail system, and is now a powerhouse in the local arts ecosystem. The Substation is home to incredible resident companies and artists, and complements other arts venues in Hobsons Bay, Melbourne and Victoria.”

“Paul’s wealth of experience will enable him to collaborate extensively and broaden The Substation’s reach even further over the coming years, which will not only increase its impact to communities, but also the sustainability of the creative ecosystem – the sector having been challenged so significantly over the past couple of years,” said James.

Paul will commence in the role on Monday 11 July 2022. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Paul Selwyn Norton – photo by Mitch Aldridge