HAYES THEATRE: Changing of the Guard

After nearly seven years at the helm, Lisa Campbell is stepping down as chair of the trailblazing Hayes Theatre Co in Sydney. The musical theatre powerhouse is welcoming a new leader in Fiona Allan, the esteemed CEO of Opera Australia.

The leadership transition marks both the end of an era and an exciting new chapter for the boutique company renowned for innovative and daring programming. During Campbell's tenure as founding board member and chair, Hayes has dramatically raised its profile and impact within Australia's arts landscape.

"Lisa's inspirational leadership has attracted the brightest talent to Hayes, and in turn helped launch the careers of many of our current musical theatre stars, writers, and creatives," said Executive Director Will Harvey. "Lisa has also been instrumental in fostering support for Hayes, allowing the company to expand its activities and invest extensively in the development of new musicals."

Co-Artistic Directors Richard Carroll and Victoria Falconer echoed similar sentiments, crediting Campbell's "bold imagination and unflagging dedication" for defining Hayes' successful first decade. They expressed enthusiasm about Allan taking over, describing her as "a perfect fit" with an "outstanding record as an acclaimed arts leader" and "a passion for new work."

For her part, the outgoing chair stated, "Fiona is the perfect Chair for Hayes. Her long-term industry knowledge coupled with her enthusiasm for musicals and new work will place the Hayes in extremely good hands."

Allan, who took the reins at Opera Australia in 2021, brings a stellar reputation from prior artistic leadership roles at major UK venues like Birmingham Hippodrome and Curve Theatre. The executive has a storied commitment to championing new works across theatre, dance, and musicals.

"Hayes plays a vital part in Sydney's and Australia's cultural ecosystem, having provided early career support for hundreds of artists and creatives over the past ten years," Allan remarked. "I admire the extensive work the Hayes is doing to promote new writing and create new Australian stories."

Spearheaded by Harvey alongside Carroll and Falconer, Hayes Theatre Co has made an indelible mark since its 2014 inception. The company operates out of an intimate venue in Sydney, showcasing "thrilling, innovative and ambitious" musicals that merge home-grown talents with international hits.

Despite its small scale, the feisty outfit has become an influential artistic force and pipeline for the nation's musical theatre scene. Hayes has earned 45 Sydney Theatre Awards and 3 Helpmann Awards for its invigorating productions like Sweet Charity, Little Shop of Horrors, In the Heights, and Assassins.

Many shows first staged at the 100-seat venue have gone on to further commercial success, underscoring Hayes' vital role as an incubator and launchpad. As the venue transitions to new leadership, that trailblazing spirit of cultivating "the Australian artists who will define our cultural expression for years to come" remains at its core.