Chair – Robyn Archer AO
Director – Kate Brennan
Director – Cr Bob La Castra
Director – Tomas Johnsson
Director – Wesley Enoch
Director – Michael Loebenstein
Director – Steve Romer
Director – Airlie Maclachlan
Robyn Archer AO
Chair of the Board of Directors
Robyn Archer AO FAHA is a singer, writer, artistic director and public advocate for the arts. She is Strategic Advisor, Gold Coast Arts and Culture, Artistic Director of The Light in Winter, Deputy Chair of The Australia Council, member of the Council for Australia and Latin America Relations, and Chair of NIDA’s inaugural Master of Fine Arts (Cultural Leadership). She has just taken up the
role of Chair of the Gold Coast Arts Centre, and is writing a new music-theatre work which she will direct in 2017.
An acknowledged exponent of classic European cabaret, Robyn was named Cabaret Icon at the 2016 Adelaide Cabaret Festival, and won the Helpmann Award as Australia’s Best Cabaret Performer 2013. 2016 concerts include Canberra, Adelaide, Oxford (UK) and the Melbourne Recital Centre. She also has a role for Victorian Opera in September 2016.
In demand as a speaker, Robyn will host the Performing Arts Exchange of APACA in August, give the keynote address for the Council on Humanities and Social Sciences in October, mentor for the EFA Festival Academy in Chiang-Mai in December and has been invited to speak at the APAP conference in New York, January 2017.
Former Artistic Director of the National Festival of Australian Theatre (Canberra), the Adelaide and Melbourne International Arts Festivals, and Ten Days on the Island (which she created for Tasmania), Robyn has received many awards including The Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Cultural Leadership Award, the International Society of Performing Arts International Citation of Merit, and the Premier’s Lifetime Achievement Award (SA). She is patron and ambassador for numerous organisations throughout Australia, mentor to the European Festivals Association’s Festival Academy and to a number of younger artists and artistic directors.
Robyn is an Officer of the Order of Australia, Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France) and Officer of the Crown (Belgium), and holds honorary doctorates from Flinders University (South Australia), Griffith University (Queensland), and the Universities of Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide. She is also an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy for the Humanities.
Kate Brennan was Chief Executive Officer of Fed Square Pty Ltd from July 2005-Sept 2013. During that time Federation Square became the heart and focal point of Melbourne’s community and cultural celebrations with 10 million visits each year and an annual program of over 2000 different activities.
Kate was previously the Chief Executive Officer of the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust, leading a program of significant change in that time and in earlier roles at the Melbourne City Council, led the enhancement of the Council’s planning for and financial and practical commitment to the arts. She has had extensive involvement as project member and client in capital infrastructure projects and was instrumental in the design and activity concepts for Federation Square. She has also led small arts and community organisations.
Kate has always been an active member of business and community organisations. She has recently completed terms as Deputy Chair of the Executive Board of the Committee for Melbourne and as a member of the Board of the Melbourne Convention Bureau (Chair, Risk Committee). She is a member of the Australia Council for the Arts’ Major Performing Arts Advisory Panel, the Mayor’s Arts and Culture Reference Group for the Gold Coast and is an independent member of the Project Control Group for the Queen Victoria Market Redevelopment. She is an active member of several groups with education and community improvement objectives including Melbourne University’s Research Unit in Public Cultures.
She was previously Vice President, and is a Life Member of, Live Performance Australia (the Australian Arts and Entertainment Industry Association), Deputy Chair of the Association of Asia Pacific Performing Arts Centres, a member of the Australia International Cultural Council (chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs), the Melbourne City Council Retail Advisory Board, the Australia Day Committee (Vic), the South Australian Multi-Cultural and Ethnic and Affairs Commission and was a South Australian Business Ambassador and Foundation Board member of the Leaders Institute of South Australia. She was Chairperson of the Capital City Forum, advising the South Australian Government and the Adelaide City Council on Adelaide’s development.
Kate has also been involved as a Board member of numerous arts and tourism bodies and has chaired arts funding committees across Australia. She has a particular interest in ideas about inclusive, creative and collaborative cities, and in particular the successful planning and management of the public realm and the role of cultural practice in the lives of communities and cities. With her team she established internationally recognised best practice in the management of Fed Square.
Since leaving Fed Square, Kate has become an Honorary Fellow at Melbourne University, is currently providing consulting advice to the Barangaroo Development Authority and a number of private sector, local government, university and arts organisations with a focus on the intersection between the public realm and community and cultural experiences. She provides executive coaching and has undertaken pro bono mentoring and project advice.
Kate’s passion for great public place management, inclusive cities and cultural practice are well known and she has spoken extensively on urban, arts and business issues around the country and overseas. Her partner is a busy actor, trainer and creative producer and they have 2 sons.
Cr Bob La Castra
Bob La Castra was elected to the Council for the City of Gold Coast, in 1997. Just one year later, he took on the role of ‘Chairman Community Services’, which has largely been responsible for Arts & Culture, as well as Community, Health, Sport & Recreation. Bob has also chaired the Events Advisory Committee, since 1998.
Bob La Castra was born in England and arrived on the Gold Coast in 1981. From the age of 13, Bob worked the club circuit in England as a cabaret singer and continued to work as an entertainer on his arrival in Australia. However, in 1983, Bob ventured into television, co-hosting a morning show (Channel 7, Brisbane) and from there went on to host Australia’s longest running children’s TV show, Wombat. After almost seven years with the Seven network, Bob became a regular cast member of Neighbours, hosted the ABC’s travel program Holiday and hosted 80 episodes of his own teen game show The Big Square Eye, also with ABC TV.
As a published children’s author, Bob was asked by the ABC to develop and write the pilot episode and much of the first and part of the second series of Bananas in Pyjamas, which has now sold to more than 80 countries. Bob lists one of his proudest achievements as being awarded a Media Peace Prize for a song he wrote and recorded to raise money for UNICEF. The song was also used in Sir Bob Geldof’s ‘Sport Aid’ promotion, with the song clip being shown in many countries around the world.In addition to entertainment and TV, for a number of years Bob ran a successful small business, designing and supplying clothing and greetings cards to department stores nationwide.
Bob was elected to the Gold Coast City Council in 1997. Since 1998, he has been the Chairperson of the Community Services Committee (now the Community and Cultural Development Committee) and the Events Advisory Committee. Bob regularly performs with two bands – Bob La Castra & Groove Assembly and The Waves and is also a popular and sought after, conference MC.
Tomas Johnsson is the Chief Operating Officer of Mantra Group, Australia’s second largest hotel operator. He is responsible for the overall operation of 120 hotels and resorts across Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. Over the past six years with the Mantra Group, Tomas has held positions of Group General Manager Saville and Peppers Hotels and been instrumental in significant organisational growth.
Previously Tomas was the Senior Asset Manager of General Property Trust, responsible for Sheraton Four Points Darling Harbour, Ayers Rock Resort and Voyages group. During his tenure, Tomas was involved in the acquisition of P&O resorts and the subsequent strategic integration. He was also responsible for the construction of Longitude 131 post bush fire and Dunk and Bedarra Islands in the wake of Cyclone Larry.
Earlier Tomas was the Regional General Manager Mirvac Hotels Victoria with leadership responsibilities across Hotel Como, Sebel and Quay West brands.
Prior experience includes 10 years with Rydges Hotels in senior capacities in most Australian tourism destinations.
Tomas was born and educated in Sweden, migrated to Australia in 1990 and is married with two children. He is currently studying a Master of Business Administration with Australian Institute of Business.
Wesley Enoch is the Director of the Sydney Festival for 2017-2019. He has been a theatre director and writer for over 25 years specialising in Aboriginal Theatre and cultural stories. Wesley has been the Artistic Director of companies including Queensland Theatre Company 2010-15, Ilbijerri 2003-06 and Kooemba Jdarra 1994-97, as well as the Festival of Pacific Arts – Australia 2008 and 2012.
As a freelance director and writer Wesley has worked with virtually all the large theatre companies, arts centres and festivals in Australia and won multiple awards including The Patrick White Playwrighting Award, Helpmann Awards for best production and best new Australia work and Matilda Awards. He was a Resident director at Sydney Theatre Company 2000-01, Associate Artistic Director Company B Belvoir 2007-10 and a Director on the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Wesley was a Trustee of the Sydney Opera House 2006-13 and is currently the Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy Panel for the Australia Council, as well as a number of committees and Boards.
Michael Loebenstein was appointed CEO of the NFSA in 2011. He arrived from Vienna (Austria) where he held the positions of Curator for Special Programmes at the Austrian Film Museum and Project Manager and Researcher at the Ludwig Boltzmann Society’s historical research cluster.
Former positions include advisor to the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture, and freelance film and exhibition curator and journalist, with a focus on documentary film history, Visual History and Holocaust Studies. Michael has published on documentary filmmakers Dziga Vertov, Alexander Hammid, James Benning and others.
Michael is a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Media History at Macquarie University (Sydney) and the Wantok Musik Foundation (Melbourne). He is currently serving his second term as Secretary General of FIAF – The International Federation of Film Archives.
Steve Romer MAICD
Steve relocated back to the Gold Coast in early 2014, where he took up his current position as Chief Executive of the Venue Management Association Asia Pacific (VMA), the peak industry association for Performing Arts Centres, Convention & Exhibition Centres, Entertainment Arenas, and Sports Stadiums.
He was General Manager of the Sydney Entertainment Centre (2009 – 2013) and responsible for all live music concerts, sporting events, musicals, and family shows. He was Director of Operations at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre (2003 – 2009), as well as Chief Executive of the Blacktown International Sports Park (2001 – 2003).
Steve spent a decade in the Gold Coast theme park industry where he was Director of Operations at Dreamworld (1996 – 2000), and Show & Entertainment Manager at Sea World (1991 – 1996).
He was a Director of the VMA (2002 – 2011), including 3 years as Chairman. He also served as a Director of the International Association of Venue Managers (2008 – 2011), and was a Director of the Talent Development Project (TDP), nurturing the creative talents of students in their entertainment careers.
Steve was also the recipient of the Asia Pacific Venue Professional of the Year award in 2012.
Airlie has been in management leadership roles in the private, public, philanthropic and not-for-profit sectors for more than 20 years.
Airlies’ experience includes working for large private businesses (Clayton Utz and Minter Ellison), Commonwealth Statutory Authorities (Grains Research and Development Corporation), not for profit (Outward Bound Australia), and small business (Kowalski Recruitment/Attwood Marshall Lawyers/Hynes Lawyers).
Airlie currently Chairs the Thyne Reid Charitable Foundation, is a Director of the Snowy Hydro Southcare Helicopter Trust and Arcadia College, is an MBA graduate from Bond University and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
As Managing Director for AMBS Offshore Solutions, based on the Gold Coast, Airlie is responsible for leading the firm’s strategic development and managing its day to day operations. She is a business solutions expert, company trouble-shooter and a director of several boards. Airlie specialises in simplifying the complex.