The Pinchgut Team

Sarah Gilchrist    Chief Executive Officer   Sarah is CEO of Pinchgut Opera, Australia’s leading baroque opera company, specialising in presenting masterpieces from the 17th and 18th centuries in the perfect acoustic of the City Recital Hall, Angel Place. Prior to this, she was Head of Marketing and Digital at the Sydney Writers’ Festival and has held leadership roles with the Australian Youth Orchestra and Belvoir St Theatre. Sarah is currently Board Secretary of the National Young Writers’ Festival and is a current participant in the Australia Council Arts Leaders Mentorship program. She is married with two small children and in between this all tries to find time for yoga and a good book.

Sarah Gilchrist

Chief Executive Officer

Sarah is CEO of Pinchgut Opera, Australia’s leading baroque opera company, specialising in presenting masterpieces from the 17th and 18th centuries in the perfect acoustic of the City Recital Hall, Angel Place. Prior to this, she was Head of Marketing and Digital at the Sydney Writers’ Festival and has held leadership roles with the Australian Youth Orchestra and Belvoir St Theatre. Sarah is currently Board Secretary of the National Young Writers’ Festival and is a current participant in the Australia Council Arts Leaders Mentorship program. She is married with two small children and in between this all tries to find time for yoga and a good book.

Alison Johnston    Head of Artistic Management   Alison is a founder of Pinchgut Opera and the Manager of Cantillation and Orchestra of the Antipodes. A former school music teacher, pianist, organist and singer, Alison worked as the Concert Manager for Sydney Philharmonia Choirs for 12 years, and has worked on projects from the very large scale (Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival and Opening Ceremony) through to the miniature, working with groups including Hobart and Brisbane Baroque, Opera Australia, Musica Viva, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, City Of Birmingham Symphony Chorus and the London Proms, and with many singers and players across the world.

Alison Johnston

Head of Artistic Management

Alison is a founder of Pinchgut Opera and the Manager of Cantillation and Orchestra of the Antipodes. A former school music teacher, pianist, organist and singer, Alison worked as the Concert Manager for Sydney Philharmonia Choirs for 12 years, and has worked on projects from the very large scale (Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival and Opening Ceremony) through to the miniature, working with groups including Hobart and Brisbane Baroque, Opera Australia, Musica Viva, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, City Of Birmingham Symphony Chorus and the London Proms, and with many singers and players across the world.

Andrew Johnston    Operations and Business Intelligence   Originally trained as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the UK, Andrew has since worked in a variety of roles in the arts: as an actor, writer, production manager, orchestra manager, continuity supervisor, singer, script assessor, website builder and in box office. He was co-Artistic Administrator for the 2016 Brisbane Baroque festival and has also been a course manager at NIDA.  Andrew has worked on every Pinchgut Opera production and has production managed all but three. He also wrote/adapted the English libretto for Salieri’s  The Chimney Sweep  and the English dialogue for Gretry’s  L’Amant jaloux .

Andrew Johnston

Operations and Business Intelligence

Originally trained as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the UK, Andrew has since worked in a variety of roles in the arts: as an actor, writer, production manager, orchestra manager, continuity supervisor, singer, script assessor, website builder and in box office. He was co-Artistic Administrator for the 2016 Brisbane Baroque festival and has also been a course manager at NIDA.

Andrew has worked on every Pinchgut Opera production and has production managed all but three. He also wrote/adapted the English libretto for Salieri’s The Chimney Sweep and the English dialogue for Gretry’s L’Amant jaloux.

Ilona Brooks    Head of Marketing and Development   Ilona has over 15 years of experience in media and marketing. Starting her career in her home town of Perth, Ilona worked in the corporate space in mining and property development before relocating to Sydney to manage the head office of Australian Style Magazine. From there, Ilona moved to News Corp as a masthead Brand Manager. Life then called Ilona and her family to the US, where she discovered new skills and passions and freelanced for the next 12 years while raising her young family. Ilona’s role at Pinchgut Opera sees her unite her love of music and the arts, sharing them with the world.

Ilona Brooks

Head of Marketing and Development

Ilona has over 15 years of experience in media and marketing. Starting her career in her home town of Perth, Ilona worked in the corporate space in mining and property development before relocating to Sydney to manage the head office of Australian Style Magazine. From there, Ilona moved to News Corp as a masthead Brand Manager. Life then called Ilona and her family to the US, where she discovered new skills and passions and freelanced for the next 12 years while raising her young family. Ilona’s role at Pinchgut Opera sees her unite her love of music and the arts, sharing them with the world.

Candice Docker    Marketing and Development Executive   Candice is a Media and Communications student at the University of Sydney, and an avid arts lover. Before arriving at Pinchgut Opera, Candice worked in the marketing team at Opera Australia and extensively with community theatre groups around Sydney. She is also a qualified Rhythmic Gymnastics coach, ballet teacher and private tutor.

Candice Docker

Marketing and Development Executive

Candice is a Media and Communications student at the University of Sydney, and an avid arts lover. Before arriving at Pinchgut Opera, Candice worked in the marketing team at Opera Australia and extensively with community theatre groups around Sydney. She is also a qualified Rhythmic Gymnastics coach, ballet teacher and private tutor.

 
 

Pinchgut Board

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Norman Gillespie - Chair

With A BA (Double Hons) in Music and English Literature, and a PhD at London University in English 17th and early 18th century English Theatre Music, Norman's chances of gainful employment were drastically increased by entering the UK Civil Service to be trained in Finance and Tax legislation.  A corporate career followed in oil exploration and telecommunications in BP as Tax Controller of BP Exploration in the North Sea (Glasgow), Head of the Chairman and CEO's Private Office (London), Director of Planning for BP Exploration in the US (Houston), Finance Director of Cable & Wireless (London) and CFO of Optus (Sydney).  Combining his passion for the Arts and Business he was appointed CEO of Sydney Opera House, served on the Board of Australian Business Arts Foundation under James Strong and became Deputy Chair of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.  In 2010 Norman entered the world of humanitarian and overseas development as CEO of UNICEF Australia and represented the worldwide network of National Committees as Chair at the UN.  Currently utilising his experience to mentor and consult with Australian Entrepreneurs and as Executive Director of The Orana Foundation and Co-Chair of the University of Adelaide Scientific Research Committee (Native Food), bringing the extraordinary sophistication of Indigenous food culture and practice to wider recognition.  He was appointed to the Board of Pinchgut Opera in 2013.

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John Pitman

Armed with a degree in Biological Anthropology from Cambridge University, UK, John turned his back on primatology and instead spent six years with The Dow Chemical Company, before completing an MBA at IMD in Switzerland.  In 1996, seeking more sunshine, he joined Coca-Cola Amatil in Sydney, Australia, where he spent four years as Head of Commercial Planning. In 2000, he joined the Sydney based News Corporation - Softbank vehicle, "e-Ventures", as Chief Operating Officer.  Eschewing the corporate world, John then took on the role of Managing Director at a privately owned accessories wholesale business, where he remained for 12 years. He is currently CEO of Krunchbox and has an alter ego as a professional musician. 

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Mark Gaal

Mark is Director, Vocational Studies at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art). A graduate of University of Queensland and NIDA, Mark has directed plays, musicals and operas for some of Australia's leading performing arts organisations including Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir Street Theatre, Opera Australia and at NIDA. Mark was Director/CEO of ATYP and has worked in the UK and Germany for The Really Useful Group. He directed live productions for television's Hi-5 which toured nationally and to Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and the UK.

 

Jeremy Davis

Jeremy is a company director and strategy consultant.  With an MBA from Stanford, he spent ten years with The Boston Consulting Group in the USA and Europe.  He then was appointed Dean of the Australian Graduate School of Management at UNSW, where he is now an emeritus Professor.  Jeremy has served as a Director of a wide range of companies and institutions including Transurban, Singapore Power and the Australian Stock Exchange.

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Virginia Braden OAM

Virginia has experience working in the Arts both in Australia and overseas. She established her firm Arts Management Pty Limited in 1979, providing personal management for over one hundred and fifty Australian and international conductors, instrumentalists, singers, directors and designers.  The firm also undertook a range of projects in all fields of the arts including the administration of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Portia Geach Portrait Prize for Women and a number of other projects. She handed over Arts Management to new owners in 2008 and is now undertaking freelance consulting. She has been Director of several Boards including Craft Australia, the Seymour Group, The Song Company and was Chairman of the Australasian Association of Classical Music Managers. She served as Deputy Chairman (1999-2000) and then Chairman (2000-2003) of the UK based International Artist Managers’ Association which has a membership of over 500 firms of artist managers worldwide. She was a Director of Opera Australia 2010-2017 and Director of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) 2010-16. She continued as a member of the NIDA Audit, Finance and Risk Committee until May 2018.  In 2013-2015 she undertook a review for the Board of the Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia, making recommendations for the wide reaching update of the Competition and then implementing them in time for the 2016 Competition. She became a Director of the Board in December 2016 and was elected Chairman in 2017. Virginia has provided career advice and mentoring to a wide range of artists and arts managers over a number of years. She is an Honorary Life Member of the International Artist Managers’ Association and the Australian Music Centre.   She was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to Arts Administration in 2010.

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Nicola Craddock

With a Master’s degree of Business Administration (MBA) from the Australian Graduate School of Management, UNSW and a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Nicola has a background in the media entertainment industry with Roadshow Films (Village Roadshow Ltd) with her latest role being Chief Commercial Officer responsible for acquisition and distribution of home entertainment content across Australia and New Zealand. More recently, Nicola was appointed Executive Director of the Zoo and Aquarium Association where she has been able to further employ her skills in strategic business development, commercial planning, marketing, operations and business analytics and insights.

Nicola has held a number of Board Committee and Executive Committee roles including Australian Home Entertainment Association (AHEDA) Digital Committee, Roadshow Films Senior Executive Committee, Risk and Governance Committee and Business Continuity Committee. Currently Nicola sits on the Species360 Board as a member and Treasurer / Chair of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee, and is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums Animal Welfare Committee.

 

Pinchgut Development committee

Norman Gillespie (Chair)

Sarah Gilchrist

Julia King

Tony Gill

Alden Toevs

Ilona Brooks