Destry Puia (President since 2007; Committee Member since 2006)
Destry started his arts career as an usher in New Zealand 15 years ago. Since then he has worked for a variety of organisations including independent theatre companies, regional councils and state theatres. Previous appointments include General Manager for The Events Centre on the Sunshine Coast, Director of Arts and Cultural Services for Kingston City Council in Melbourne and is currently the General Manager for The Arts Centre Gold Coast. Destry has served on numerous arts boards including Executive Committee Member for the Australian Performing Arts Centres Association, Councillor for the Performing Arts Touring Alliance, Committee Member for the Arts Industry Council of Victoria, Regional Touring Panel Member for the Helpmann Awards and a Touring Panel Review member for Arts Queensland. Destry has an Arts Degree in Social Science, a diploma in Business Management and in 2006 was a regional winner of the Young Manager of the Year by the Australian Institute of Management.
Gary Mears (Vice-President since 2009; Secretary 2005 –2009; Committee Member since 2003)
Gary has achieved a successful career in marketing, tourism, festivals, events, performing arts and venue management including over 25 years in senior management positions. Gary commenced in the position of Sunshine Coast Events Centre General Manager in June 2013 and held the position of Ipswich City Council Civic Centre Manager from 2001 to May 2013. Gary’s professional experience includes Manager of his own business Stagesound Promotions, Toowoomba Events and Tourism Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers Chief Executive Officer, Ipswich City Council Marketing Manager, Arts Consultant and Professional Entertainer. Gary is an active member of the VMA (Venue Managers Association), APACA (Australian Performing Arts Centres Association) and past President of the Queensland Festivals Association.
Mark Fawcett (Secretary and Committee Member since 2009)
Mark’s career in the performing arts spans over two decades and two countries. Mark commenced working as a trainee Theatre Manager in the 1980s managing prestigious London West End theatres before becoming General Manager of the New End Theatre in Hampstead. Returning to Australia in 2000, Mark managed the City of Whitehorse’s Cultural Facilities which includes the Whitehorse Centre in Nunawading, Victoria. From 2008, Mark project managed the construction and business development of the new $28 million Mackay Convention Centre which physically adjoins the existing Entertainment Centre. As Manager Mackay Convention Precinct and Events for Mackay Regional Council, Mark manages the precinct which is now known as the Mackay Entertainment & Convention Centre. Mark has served on a number of boards including the Queensland Local Government Arts and Culture Advisory Committee for Arts Queensland, Company Secretary for Mackay Artspace Foundation, APACA Committee Member, Playing Queensland Committee Member and a Helpmann Awards panelist.
Michelle McEwan (Treasurer 2013, Committee Member since 2012)
With a background in hospitality and Event Management Michelle McEwan moved into the performing arts industry in 2000 as a bookings officer at The Capital, Bendigo’s Performing Arts Centre. Michelle was promoted to Venue and Events Coordinator in 2002, managing all aspects of show and function bookings for The Capital and The Old Fire Station (now the Engine Room). The booking and curatorial management of Dudley House, a gallery housed in a heritage building, was added in 2003. The newly built Bendigo Exhibition Centre was added to the portfolio in 2006, extending the role to include booking, business development and management of major agricultural and lifestyle events. In 2007 Michelle collaborated on the relaunch and development of a new business model for the newly refurbished Bendigo Town Hall. The venue was also added to the Venue and Event Coordinator portfolio, making 5 venues in total. Michelle currently occupies the role of Coordinator Performing Arts with Townsville City Council, having shifted north in January 2011 and is an active member of both NARPACA and APACA.
Rhys Holden (Committee Member since Sept 2014)
Rhys is currently General Manager of La Boite Theatre Company in Brisbane and the Roundhouse Theatre. He has worked in a range of roles across the commercial and subsidized theatre. Previously he worked at Sydney Theatre Company managing the company’s national and international touring as well as producing development and commissioning projects. Prior to this he toured Asia for the Really Useful Company. Rhys has recently completed his MBA at Deakin University.
Kerry Saul (Committee Member since 2014, Technical Representative)
Kerry has been active within the NARPACA circuit since 1982, when he worked for New Moon Theatre Company in North Queensland and has worked in or toured to most of the NARPACA venues. In 1987 he opened Mackay Entertainment Centre as Technical Manager and in 1997 moved to Toowoomba to open The Empire Theatre in the same role. Kerry has been General Manager of Empire Theatres since 2011. He is a member of VMA and APACA and holds a diploma in Theatre and Events. Kerry has been active with NARPACA over many years as a member of the NARPACA Technical Committee and now continues this involvement in his role as Technical Representative for NARPACA’s Management Committee.
Lisa Stephenson (Committee Member since Sept 2014)
In October 2013, Lisa was appointed as the Manager of Fraser Coast Regional Council’s newly formed Cultural Services team – incorporating the Brolga Theatre, Hervey Bay Regional Gallery and Maryborough’s Gatakers Artspace and Portside Museums. Her initial months have been a literal trial by fire – providing an interesting and important induction into the new role! Lisa was the Executive Manager Public Relations and Regional Marketing for 7 years during which time she implemented the Fraser Coast regional marketing and events strategies as well as managing Council’s Corporate Communications and Customer Service departments. Prior to her tree change to the Fraser Coast, Lisa was born and bred in the Brisbane cultural scene and enjoyed a 10 year career with Tourism Queensland working on tourism product development, regional marketing and e-marketing projects. While a novice to the theatre world, she is excited to bring her creative business and marketing skills to the Brolga Theatre and take on the opportunities of combining the region’s cultural service activities and venues into a strong and inspiring arts and cultural program.
John started his career as a musician in his teens and went on to complete a Bachelor of Business majoring in marketing while working as a casual theatre technician. John toured extensively throughout the US and Europe with a youth arts organisation and returned to Brisbane where he performed on the local club scene and was part of the initial set up team that opened the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. John worked at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre developing extensive ticketing experience culminating in an integral role in the development of internet ticketing at QPAC as Administration and Systems Manager for Qtix. This period was punctuated with a stint as producer’s assistant on the original tour of Boy from OZ. In 2003, John joined Brisbane Powerhouse as Box Office Manager and progressed through the positions of Theatre Hire Manager, Producer – Jazz, and Operations Manager, including management of technical and production services and the functions and events business. John managed the practical aspects of the venue’s six-month refurbishment period in 2007. His subsequent appointment as Precinct Director saw him assume responsibility for the overall management of the Brisbane Powerhouse precinct, its resources and commercial tenancies. After 10 years at Brisbane Powerhouse, John was appointed to the role of Venue Manager, Program Leader for Logan Entertainment Centre and Community Venues in 2013. John was previously a member of the Performing Arts Committee of the International Association of Venue Managers.
Suzan Williams (NARPACA Executive Officer since 2010)
Before joining NARPACA, Suzan was Queensland’s Blue Heeler (national performing arts tour coordinator) at Queensland Arts Council for five years where she developed and delivered over 20 state and national tours of a mix of Queensland’s major and small-to-medium companies and independent artists. In this role, Suzan was a key advocate for performing arts touring and heavily involved in extending and refining existing touring networks and coordination mechanisms (Cyberpaddock web site, Long Paddock product showcase, annual NARPACA Showcase). From 1999-2005, Suzan was Business Development Manager and Web Coordinator for ToadShow Pty Ltd, a Brisbane-based creative communications company specialising in graphic design for print, web and multimedia. She has been a professional dancer and choreographer and toured the state extensively working with Queensland Ballet, Darc Swan Contemporary Dance Company and with her own touring dance-education programs for Queensland Arts Council’s School Touring Program. Suzan has a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from QUT and is a qualified ballet teacher in the Cecchetti Method of Classical Ballet. She has served on numerous boards including, a five-year term as a member of the Australia Council for the Arts Dance Board and for almost two decades, as a committee member of Cecchetti Australia – Queensland Branch. Suzan is currently Acting Chair of Ausdance Qld and has been an Ausdance Qld Management Committee member since 2008.
Helen McGuire (NARPACA Executive Assistant since 2009)
Helen has over 20 years bookkeeping and administration experience and has been Executive Assistant and Bookkeeper of NARPACA since 2009 and General Manager/Proprietor of DDIY Services since 2000. Helen’s previous experience includes: Wedding photographer for Gary Rampton Photographics in Gladstone 1982 to 1992 and retail photographic sales 1982 to 1985; Secretary at Anthony Black Solicitors & Craig Woodhouse Accountants 1985 – 1986 in Perth; Receptionist at Gladstone Optical 1986 to 1990; Financial controller/administrator and co-director of Express Auto Electrics for 10 years until 2000. Helen has been the Treasurer of the Talara Primary College P&C since 2007 and holds a Certificate IV Accounting, Certificate IV Bookkeeping and is a registered BAS Agent (ATO Tax Practitioners Board).