Collette Brennan Announced as new CEO of Abbotsford Convent

Brennan is a former senior executive of the Australia Council for the Arts and Executive Director of Circa, with leadership experience in performing arts, youth arts, festivals, arts education and public programming. Collette has worked on numerous national and international boards and committees, and is currently on two International Society of Performing Arts committees.

The chair of the ACF Board, Vic Marles, said Collette was the unanimous choice of the Board after an international search assisted by Egon Zehnder.

“Collette’s experience in the international arts market provides a sound platform to launch the ACF’s bold strategy to make the Convent a world-class institution recognised nationally and internationally,” Ms Marles said.

Ms Brennan succeeds the Convent’s founding CEO Maggie Maguire, who is leaving next month after almost 11 years.

Ms Marles said: “Maggie Maguire did an extraordinary job putting the Convent on the map, building it into Australia’s biggest multi-arts precinct with more than a million visitors a year, 1000 events onsite and 120 tenancies. Maggie created a launching pad for greatness.

“The next few years will see us finish the restoration task with significant capital works, and further develop the Convent’s footprint on the national and international scene with exemplary arts and cultural activity. Collette Brennan has the experience and capabilities to achieve this.”

Ms Brennan said: “The Abbotsford Convent is a stunning Melbourne success story, beginning with a remarkable partnership between local residents, three levels of government, philanthropists and businesses. Maggie Maguire and the Board brought the Convent precinct to life, and the tenants have produced the creative capital essential to its success. The Convent’s location, public programs, heritage and architecture make it unique in the world. I am honoured yet undaunted to be given the task of further developing this treasure and bringing greater national and international renown to the Convent.”

Ms Brennan will commence at the Abbotsford Convent in late September, 2016.

Collette Brennan: Professional Background

Collette Brennan has been an arts consultant focused on national and international audience and market development.

Previously she was Director of International Development, Acting Executive Director of Arts Development and Director of Market Development at the Australia Council for the Arts.

Collette was Executive Director of Brisbane’s internationally acclaimed contemporary circus Circa for two years from 2009, and was the founding Creative Director of The Edge, the State Library of Queensland’s program for children and young people, from 2006 to 2009.

From 2003 to 2006 she was General Manager of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s Out of the Box Festival for 3- to 8-year-olds.

For three years before that, Collette was Executive Officer of Youth Arts Queensland, the state’s peak body for youth arts and cultural development.

Collette has also worked in schools as a drama and history teacher and as a lecturer with Queensland University of Technology and Griffith University, and as a youth arts worker in a range of school and community contexts with children and young people.

She has recently been appointed chair of the Sunshine Coast Arts Advisory Board.

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