Announcing the Inaugural Patrons of Performing Lines

We are delighted to announce the inaugural patrons of Performing Lines, company founder and industry legend Wendy Blacklock AM, and our former Chair of eight years Bill Harris. The position of company patron honours the invaluable contribution of Wendy and Bill to the formation of the Performing Lines mission.  

After joining the Australian Elizabeth Theatre Trust 1982 as the co-ordinator of the Entrepreneurial Department, Wendy established the Australian Content Division, a pioneering initiative in the promotion of Australian culture across the nation and abroad. In 1990 the Australian Content Division was formally incorporated as an independent company, Performing Lines led by Wendy as General Manager. During her 21 years of leadership, she expanded the reach of the company through the establishment of Performing Lines WA and Tasmania Performs, constantly championing local independent arts and First Nations works, as well as introducing the world to Australia’s cultural offerings. 

Speaking to the ongoing relevance and mission of the organization, Wendy states: 

“After 30 years Performing Lines still has an important role to play in supporting a wide variety of artists.  Developing unique talents with new ideas and ways of presenting work that builds an Australian creative vision”. 

Bill Harris has had a similarly long association with Performing Lines, first serving as Production Manager from 1995 to 1998. In 2013 he rejoined Performing Lines as Chair and during his eight year tenure lead the company through a period of significant growth and change. He brought to the role his extensive experience as the former Programming Director of Sydney Festival, the Production Director of Adelaide Festival, as well as a host of other impressive roles in the arts. Bill affirmed and solidified the organisation’s commitment to Australian independent artists and the imperative of fostering work which is rebellious, marginal, and provocative. 

On becoming a patron he states: 

Performing Lines is a unique institution within Australia’s cultural landscape. While deeply embedded in the foundations of this country’s performing arts heritage, it also continues to bravely set new pathways, giving voice to the multi-layered society we have become and strive to be. As a gateway, as a nurturer, as a stepping-stone and as an industry leader, Performing Lines has always been and will continue to be the company that Australian artists, technicians, administrators and audiences look to for inspiration and hope. I am deeply grateful and humbled to be recognised as a Patron and acknowledge Wendy Blacklock, whose vision and tenacity paved the way for Performing Lines to be the powerhouse it remains today.” 

As Patrons Wendy and Bill will be permanently recognised for their generosity and vision, and as ongoing sources of strength as Performing Lines continues to deepen its impact in the Australian arts sector. Building on the stable foundation they created, and now working under Executive Producer Marion Pott’s vision, Performing Lines remains committed to championing Australia’s most audacious independent artists, and producing contemporary provocative works that speak to the plurality of Australian voices. 

Speaking to the appointment of Wendy and Bill, Chair of the Performing Lines Board, Robi Stanton had this to say:  

On behalf of the Performing Lines board, I am thrilled that we are recognising the immense contribution both Wendy and Bill have made to Performing Lines. They are an inspiration to so many of us and we are grateful that they continue to be our greatest supporters and advocates. Across the past 40 years, Performing Lines has made an enormous impact culturally – developing new and exciting works, discovering independent artists and delighting audiences across Australia and internationally. We have an enormously exciting future ahead of us and are so thankful to Wendy and Bill for everything they have contributed and their enduring ambition for this fantastic company.” 

 

Performing Lines continues to invest in projects across Australia, providing platforms and opportunities for an ever expanding array of audacious independent artists through our producing teams in NSW, Tas, Vic and WA. To see our full list of works visit the artist and project pages on our website.

Wendy Blacklock

From the early 1950s Wendy Blacklock spent 30 years as a performer working on radio, television and the stage in England, around Australia and New Zealand. She then decided in the early 1980s to become a Producer and joined the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust where she set up an Australian Content Department. The Department was inundated by local artists who wanted to tour and in 1982 it began the important support of Aboriginal work by helping to get Robert Merritt’s The Cakeman to a world festival in Denver Colorado USA. Jack Davis’s work followed, representing Australia in Canada in 1986 and in London in 1989. After 10 years the Australia Council set Wendy up as an independent not for profit company named Performing Lines. It began with one assistant, but when Wendy retired after 21 years it had seven producers, departments in three states and was turning over millions of dollars from producing, touring and supporting  work both nationally and internationally. 

Bill Harris

Bill is currently Head of Programs and Site Activation at the Australian National Maritime Museum. Bill has held production, programming and producer roles at Barangaroo Delivery Authority, Global Creatures, Sydney Festival, NIDA, Adelaide Festival and the Olympic and Paralympic Arts Festivals. He is former Chair of Performing Lines and Urban Theatre Projects. 

Performing Lines is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, the NSW Government through Create NSW, the WA government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, and the Tasmanian Government through Arts Tasmania. 

In everything we do, we acknowledge that we live on Aboriginal land and constantly learn from the wisdom of First Peoples.

Where we are and the history that precedes us informs how we work and how we move forward.