Andrew Bleby and Associates Pty. Ltd. is based in Melbourne, Australia, with a national and global outlook. ABA has a small core staff which can build in accordance with the demands of a project with ready access to expertise in many fields, through occasional and ongoing Associates.
ABA’s Associate Companies and Individual Associates are a group of disparate, talented people and small companies with whom we work regularly or occasionally. We like their work, we trust them and we enjoy working with them. They represent a range of skills, are at the top of their field, and can help us deliver the very best results across a wide range of activities and services. Their profiles are featured below.
Insite Arts (Lee Cumberlidge); Schemes Consolidated (Helen Rickards); Sweet Reason (Rob Brookman); Brecknock Consulting (Richard Brecknock); Arts Projects Australia (Ian Scobie); Megafun (Keith Tucker); Playful (UK – Roger Chapman)
Andrew Bleby has over 35 years’ experience and an extensive record of success in senior management of the performing arts, theatre, festivals and events.
His management record has extended in recent years to include an impressive array of consulting projects and clients as well as ongoing management of significant projects, festivals and events. Before setting up ABA in 2008 he spent nine years heading Arts Projects Australia (Melbourne) as General Manager and Executive Producer. (APA is an Associate Company of Andrew Bleby & Associates.)
During that time he developed and produced several of Australia’s biggest festivals including one of the biggest ever – Festival Melbourne 2006, the award-winning, hugely successful free $12m Cultural Festival of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, the largest fully curated arts festival ever held in Australia.
This was followed by the Festival of the 12th FINA World Championships, a major free international festival held the following year.
He is now in demand from major clients around the country and overseas to undertake arts-based consultancies: project development, reviews, feasibility studies, planning and festival management. Recent clients include the Melbourne Festival, Creative Victoria, Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), The Australia Council, Opera Australia, the Victorian Premier’s Department, the State Theatre Company of South Australia and multiple local government authorities.
Andrew Bleby has directed or produced ten different arts festivals, eight of them international and seven of them first editions. He was founding Director of Melbourne’s Next Wave Festival in 1985 and inaugural Producer of MONA FOMA in 2009. In almost all these positions he oversaw all aspects of management, programming and marketing.
For ten years he was Program Director of the Adelaide Festival Centre, South Australia’s major performing arts complex, producing and presenting a wide array of programs including significant international seasons, subscription series of contemporary dance and world theatre, community and education programs. He was a key member of the senior management team at the AFC, managed national tours and was Executive Producer of several major musicals including 42nd Street , The King and I and South Pacific in Australia , New York and Hong Kong . He has also produced spectacle, commercial drama and circus shows.
He has extensive global experience in programming international artists and with international organisations including ASSITEJ (Association Internationale du Théâtre pour les Enfants et la Jeunesse) and AAPPAC (Association of Asia-Pacific Performing Arts Centres), has been an invited keynote speaker at conferences in Shanghai, Vancouver, Dunedin and Melbourne and has studied at the International Center for Culture and Management (ICCM) in Salzburg.
Andrew has undertaken significant work as an independent consultant, including a major review of Opera Australia, a review of the Australian Performing Arts Market, the production of a manual on youth festival management, strategic planning workshops for The Push International Performing Arts Festival in Canada and regional festivals in Australia, planning for the National Institute of Circus Arts, major project management for the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, and project development for the Victorian Arts Centre, Orchestra Victoria and festivals in several states. He has undertaken multiple consultancy projects for the Australia Council, Creative Victoria, local governments and others across four states.
He has been a member of over thirty boards and committees. Formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts and Diploma in Education from the University of Adelaide . He received a Diploma with Distinction in 2002 from the ICCM in Salzburg and was Dux of their Summer Academy in Arts Management and International Project Workshop.
ASSOCIATES & ASSOCIATE COMPANIES
Insite Arts was established in 2008 as a professional, independent producing company for Australian performing artists, founded by Lee Cumberlidge, a producer and event manager with a range of performing arts experience from large scale festival management to the small to medium company sector. Lee worked with Arts Projects Australia from 1999 in both Adelaide and Melbourne on various projects in key programming, operational and strategic development roles including work on WOMADelaide (1999, 2001, 2003), the Australian Performing Arts Market (2000, 2002), and in touring productions to various major festivals and venues in the Asia Pacific region. from Europe, Africa and the USA. Lee and other key Insite Arts staff have worked alongside Andrew Bleby on many successful festivals and events.
Lee took a key role on the Commonwealth Games Festival Melbourne 2006 and the FINA Festival 2007 where he was responsible for managing the programming process and the development and management of the large festival budgets. Insite has produced Tasmania’s MONA FOMA since 2012 and manages the Australian Art Orchestra.
Insite has now established a national and global reputation and has championed the work of many Australian artists and companies, producing and presenting their work all over the world.
HELEN RICKARDS (Schemes Consolidated)
Helen Rickards has a career in arts consultation, management and theatrical production that spans 25 years and has included work as a director, producer, performer, teacher and manager of small and large organisations.
She works as a consultant and creative producer in arts management and production with organisations that have included fortyfivedownstairs, ArtPlay (City of Melbourne); Melbourne Workers’ Theatre; Becken Projects; NICA (National Institute of Circus Arts), Performing Lines (NSW), Arts Projects Australia (SA), On Tour Ltd (UK) and Arts Centre Melbourne. She consults with organisations to develop ongoing programs, business plans and short term projects and funding submissions to Government, philanthropic and private funding bodies for their realisation.
Current roles include Executive Producer of Demolish, a new theatrical work for Victoria’s Regional Centre of Culture.
In 1977, she co-founded the Melbourne based visual theatre company, Handspan Theatre, and worked as the company’s Executive Artistic Director and General Manager until 1986, producing significant theatrical works, developing the company’s community outreach programs and establishing Handspan’s international touring circuit, managing tours to UK, France, Germany, Italy, USA and Canada.. She is co-author, with Maeve Vella , of Australia ’s definitive puppetry text Theatre of the Impossible.
Helen has been Executive Director of the City of Melbourne’s Fantastic Entertainment in Public Places (FEIPP) program and has developed and managed an arts industry outreach program from the Drama Centre at the Flinders University of South Australia, known as PAIR’D – Performing Arts Industry Research and Development Ltd. She co-ordinated, produced and administered PAIR’D projects including the widely successful 3rd International Women Playwrights Conference held in Adelaide in 1994; cross-cultural collaborations between Okinawa, Japan and Adelaide, Australia for the 1996 and 1998 Adelaide Festivals of Arts; and established and managed tours to Seoul, Korea (1997) and Singapore (1998).
Since returning to Melbourne in 2001, Helen has worked as General Manager for the Keene/Taylor Theatre Project (2001/2002), as Interim General Manager for the Melbourne Fringe Festival (2002), as Project Producer for the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) (2004-06) and as Producer for several acclaimed productions for fortyfivedownstairs. She has also continued her freelance consultancy practice with clients including TheatreWorks, Mitchell Shire, Insite Arts and the Performing Arts Collection of Arts Centre Melbourne. She has lectured in Business Studies at the National Institute of Circus Arts and in the Diploma of Theatre Arts Course at Swinburne University. She also acts as Business Manager for ABA.
ROB BROOKMAN (Sweet Reason Pty Ltd)
Rob Brookman is a leading Australian arts producer, festival director, cultural programmer and arts administrator. His range of experience and interests is unusually diverse, ranging across all performing art forms from the classical to the avant-garde and from the not-for-profit to the commercial sectors.
His keynote is versatility in both artistic vision and exemplary management. He has held key positions in a number of Australasia’s leading festivals and key performing arts organisations including the Adelaide Festival (Administrator, Associate Director, Artistic Director), Adelaide Festival Centre (Programming Director, Producer, Artistic Director), National Festival of Australian Theatre (Artistic Director), New Zealand International Festival of Arts (Artistic Director), Arts Projects Australia (Founding Co-Director) and Sydney Theatre Company (General Manager) and State Theatre Company of South Australia (CEO/Producer). In 1992 he founded Australia ’s leading world music festival WOMADelaide and remained as Artistic Director and/or Artistic Advisor until 2007. He continues to serve on the WOMADelaide Foundation. Major productions and projects over the years include The King and I (Producer, Executive Producer) which became the first Australian production to win a Tony Award on Broadway, national tours of The Royal National Theatre’s “An Inspector Calls”, The Guangdong Acrobats of China, Twyla Tharp, Water Puppets of Vietnam and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, the creation, national and international tour of Philippe Genty’s Stowaways, ground-breaking international tours including Company B’s Cloudstreet (Zurich, London and Dublin) and Sydney Theatre Company’s A Streetcar Named Desire directed by Liv Ullmann and featuring Cate Blanchett (Washington, New York).
Major achievements during his eleven year stewardship of Sydney Theatre Company also included the planning, construction and Opening (in 2004) of the 850 seat Sydney Theatre at Walsh Bay, the creation of Australia’s only full-time professional acting ensemble and the development and management of Greening The Wharf – the most comprehensive environmental program developed by any theatre company in the world which incorporates the second largest building-mounted solar power station in Australia. Rob was Consulting Producer to Global Creatures in the development of a major new musical theatre project and is now based in South Australia as CEO/Producer of the State Theatre Company.
Richard Brecknock is Director of Brecknock Consulting, a national cultural planning and public art consultancy working nation-wide from a base in Adelaide.
Established in 1988, the company is unique in Australia in providing a wide range of cultural and art services to public and private sector clients across Australia . Brecknock’s cultural and arts services include three core areas: policy, planning and project delivery. They are committed to creating culturally rich communities and environments through cultural thinking and cultural planning. The practice involves strategic thinking about cities, cultural and arts policy development and integration of contemporary art into the public realm.
ARTS PROJECTS AUSTRALIA (Adelaide)
Arts Projects Australia is an independent producer and event management company based in Adelaide. Since its establishment in 1997, APA has worked collaboratively with a range of festivals, producers and cultural organisations on a diverse range of performing arts projects and tours. APA is one of Australia’s most renowned producers, event managers and touring organisations: one with whom ABA has a long and fruitful association, especially through the creation and management of several major Melbourne-based festivals, with Andrew Bleby as Executive Producer or General Manager.
MEGAFUN Pty Ltd (Melbourne)
Megafun provides a range of creative and technical services for the arts and entertainment, including concept, design, production and management along with a passion for creating captivating experiences. Megafun has been ABA’s production management partner on major projects including MONA FOMA, the opening of AAMI Stadium, the Commonwealth Games Festival Melbourne 2006, the FINA Festival 2007, and the Melbourne Moomba Festival 2000 – 2002. Megafun works with ABA on technical production and site management for a range of projects.
ON TOUR Ltd (London)
Based in London ’s West End , On Tour produces and tours significant new work around the world. Director Roger Chapman opened Sir Peter Hall’s Oedipus at Epidauris in Greece and produced Tim Supple’s astonishing Indian production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. On Tour works with major companies and other independent producers to invest in, develop and produce work of international stature and present high definition theatre events in the major cities of the world.