WAAPA leader to exit stage left in 2019

WAAPA Professor Julie WarnBringing to a close a distinguished career in the performing arts, Professor Julie Warn AM, Executive Dean of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) has announced she will retire in February 2019.

In 2004 Professor Warn joined Edith Cowan University (ECU) as Director of WAAPA from The Queensland Orchestra, where she was Chief Executive Officer. Previously she held senior management positions in the arts with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Musica Viva Australia and the Sydney Theatre Company.

During her time with WAAPA, she has overseen significant growth in student numbers, re-organisation of courses, invigoration of research, and a substantial expansion of public performances, community activities and international engagement.

“When I joined in 2004, WAAPA was a closely guarded secret in WA. Today, it is recognised as one of the leading performing arts academies in the world, regularly attracting students, staff and visiting artists from all over Australia and internationally,” said Professor Warn.

“This would not have been possible without the hard work of my colleagues past and present, WAAPA’s enormously talented students, our fabulous alumni who continue to represent WAAPA on the world stage, and a range of generous corporate partners and philanthropists.”

“One of the aspects of WAAPA of which I am most proud and which distinguishes it from other performing arts academies is the multi-faceted range of courses we offer: from ballet and contemporary dance to jazz, composition and music technology; from opera, classical and contemporary music to performance making, musical theatre, acting and Aboriginal theatre; plus all the amazing ‘behind the scenes’ courses – arts management, costume, design, lighting, stage management, sound, props and scenery.

“This is what enables us to stage the high calibre of productions and concerts for which we are known. We now regularly present over 400 performances annually. This advantages our students by ensuring that they are well–prepared for careers in the performing arts. I will miss this hive of creative activity!”

Professor Warn was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2002 for her contributions to the performing arts. In 2003 she was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to the performing arts and music.

ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman thanked Professor Warn for leading WAAPA for the past 14 years. “Julie has overseen an dynamic period of expansion for WAAPA and I thank her for her hard work and inspiring leadership,” said Professor Chapman. “ECU is now undertaking a global search to recruit a new Executive Dean to lead WAAPA in 2019 and beyond.

“There are some exciting opportunities for the right candidate, including continued international expansion of WAAPA’s teaching and research activities and overseeing the restoration and housing of our historical piano collection.”

Professor Warn will officially retire from WAAPA on 22 February 2019. Edith Cowan University will now undertake a global search to recruit a new Executive Dean to lead WAAPA for the next five year period. For more information, visit: www.waapa.ecu.edu.au for details.

Image: Professor Julie Warn (supplied)