GPAC to Farewell Jill Smith

The CEO of the Geelong Performing Arts Centre Trust, Michelle Quigley QC, announced today that their General Manager, Jill Smith will be leaving the Centre in early 2018.

“Jill has been an integral part of the Geelong Performing Arts Centre for a decade. She has worked tirelessly to ensure the arts, the centre and the cultural precinct are a key part of the future of the region and Geelong as it moves to develop its strategy as a clever and creative city,” Ms Quigley said.

The announcement comes as the centre’s $38.5 million Ryrie Street redevelopment gets underway.

“This is a transformational project that Jill, the staff and Trust have tenaciously pursued and it is with great pride we are now seeing the fruits of that endeavour. Understandably, there is much more work to be done both in terms of the infrastructure and artistic development, but we are all deeply committed to this crucial transformation and we are very aware of the incredible start we have.”

Ms Quigley paid tribute to Jill’s achievements and legacy, in particular, her role in bringing Australian works and world-class theatre to Geelong, as well as creating opportunities for young people to access arts programs.

“Jill came to us with an extraordinary history of support for Australian playwrights during her time at Playbox and, as a result, we have welcomed many new plays to Geelong including great indigenous works. Geelong has also welcomed many works that have not been presented in Melbourne - the only Australian performances of The Globe Theatre’s Hamlet, Sydney Theatre Company’s Storm Boy and Belvoir’s production with Colin Friels in Death of a Salesman are key examples, not to mention Hannie Rayson’s play Extinction produced by the centre with Red Stitch Actor’s Theatre, which also toured to Canberra and back into Melbourne.”

The Arts for Life Endowment Fund was also established under Jill’s leadership. The fund has attracted donations of more than half a million dollars and developed other fundraising initiatives that will support programming and aim to ensure access to arts programs for generations to come.

State Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville also paid tribute to the departing GPAC Chair, saying, “Jill has made an extraordinary contribution to Geelong and the G21 region over the last decade. She has helped bring many memorable arts experiences and opportunities to people of all ages – on and off the stage. Her hard work and tenacity has paved the way for the next chapter of GPAC’s history and will ripple through our cultural precinct, city and region for a long time to come.”

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