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Meet our new Executive Director

The Board of State Theatre Company South Australia has announced Julian Hobba as its new Executive Director.

Originally from South Australia, Mr Hobba brings a wealth of experience from a range of theatre and arts roles, most recently as Executive Director of The Blue Room Theatre in Perth.

State Theatre Company South Australia Board Chair, Joe Thorp, says the Company is thrilled to welcome Mr Hobba.

“Julian brings to us an incredible array of producing and managerial skills and a whole set of great and energising strategies to build upon the Company’s rich legacy and extend its ability to create and deliver bold and innovative theatre,” Mr Thorp says.

“His appointment is not only exciting for the Company, but for South Australia’s arts industry. We look forward to welcoming him back to the state.”

Joining Artistic Director Mitchell Butel, Mr Hobba’s appointment marks an exciting new era for State Theatre Company South Australia.

“With our sector and the world facing difficult times, I’m thrilled to have by my side someone who I know will help navigate the waters ahead with skill and grace and with a deep love for theatre, our audiences, and all we can achieve together,” Mr Butel says.

Mr Hobba was Executive Director of The Blue Room Theatre in Perth for three years. Prior to that, he was Program Manager: Arts and Culture for the Centenary of Canberra – a year-long city-of-culture style festival under the creative directorship of Robyn Archer AO. There, he managed commissions of new works of live performance and visual arts, including Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhale, as well as a suite of community arts projects reaching broadly across and beyond the ACT.

Robyn Archer AO praised the appointment.

“Julian was part of the small team which delivered the massive Centenary of Canberra celebrations. I loved working with him for a number of reasons, but chiefly because he was not only pragmatic and efficient, but highly creative at the same time,” she says. “His sensibilities are at the heart of theatre. This is a fantastic appointment.”

Mr Hobba’s career began in the independent sector in Melbourne as a playwright and producer, making and presenting work at a range of independent Melbourne venues with artists such as Wesley Enoch, Luke Mullins and Anne Phelan. He has worked as Creative Producer on festivals including Design Canberra, and ran Aspen Island Theatre Company in Canberra between 2014-2017. He also served as Company Manager at Malthouse Theatre under Artistic Director Michael Kantor and Executive Producer Stephen Armstrong after beginning with the company as media assistant.

The incoming Executive Director says he aspires to create and deliver transformative and engaging theatre and arts, particularly to regional audiences.

“I grew up in the Riverland, between Berri and Monash and my Mum still lives there with my stepdad. On my return visits over the years I have seen the place change. The population has diversified and young people are more exposed to the world through the proliferation of information technology. I never imagined, when I embarked on my career, that it could or would lead me to be involved in bringing theatre to these communities,” he says.

“I now find I have the skills and, through this position, the opportunity to do so – and that thrills me.”

Mr Hobba says he is excited to help deliver Mr Butel’s artistic vision for the company.

“I’ve long admired Mitchell as a performer, but also as a person who cares about his colleagues and his industry,” he says.

“This is especially important now, a time when we have to come together to reemerge from the COVID-19 crisis and reduced small-to-medium sector funding, both of which have shaken our industry.”

“I’m looking forward to presenting great work through his creative leadership with the whole STCSA team.”

Julian Hobba will officially join the Company in mid-May.