Image / Sarah Neal, Photographer: Mark Gambino
MALTHOUSE TO FAREWELL EXECUTIVE PRODUCER & CO-CEO SARAH NEAL
After a remarkable 10 years of service, Malthouse Theatre Executive Producer & Co-CEO Sarah Neal will step down from her role in late November. Her tenure at the helm of Malthouse has delivered unprecedented growth, bold artistic endeavours, a commitment to inclusivity, and a fearless approach to challenges.
‘Since 2013, Malthouse has been my shabby-chic share home—backstage, on stage, in the audience, at the bar, on the road and around the globe. Leading Malthouse has been a privilege I’ve never taken for granted. Alongside my Co-CEO, Matt, we’ve steered the wheel through good times and the odd pandemic; always navigating to the north star of artists and audiences, who are both the reason and the point.
Over the past decade I’ve supported and been supported by an exceptional company of fellow theatre-animals—hundreds of artists and arts workers, adventurous audience members, passionate patrons, and a Board of believers. It’s been an honour and a joy. In arts leadership, as in life, timing is everything. And now it’s my cue to exit stage left— long live Malthouse.’
Sarah Neal / Executive Producer & Co-CEO
Since her appointment in 2013 as part of a co-leadership initiative with Artistic Director and Co-CEO Matthew Lutton, Sarah has fearlessly championed Malthouse Theatre. Together they have skilfully navigated the organisation through a phase of remarkable changes, unprecedented obstacles and substantial growth.
This exceptional journey reflects Malthouse’s commitment to inclusivity and removing barriers for audiences that have not previously attended the theatre. Malthouse’s latest data shows that 54% of its audiences are aged 44 years or younger, 38% of audiences identify as Culturally and/or Linguistically Diverse (CALD), and approximately one third of the audience identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
‘To lead an organisation requires a huge level of commitment and skill in any sector, but particularly so within the challenging context of not for profit and arts and culture. We are very lucky to have had Sarah rise to this challenge consistently for a decade, creating a Malthouse culture which at its core nurtures the unconventional and unexpected through considered strategy.’
Fiona McGauchie / Malthouse Theatre Chair
Sarah’s legacy includes the establishment of the Malthouse Outdoor Stage in the venue’s courtyard in 2020—an ingenious response to the challenges posed by COVID. She also fostered international collaborations with esteemed theatre institutions including Belarus Free Theatre and Pan Pan Theatre, orchestrated international tours spanning London, New York, Beijing, Shanghai and Berlin, and has been the executive producer of over 100 productions at Malthouse.
Sarah was instrumental in delivering Melbourne audiences two extraordinary immersive theatre experiences: the sold-out sensation that marked Malthouse’s highest selling show in the company’s history, Because The Night in 2021, along with the eagerly anticipated Hour of The Wolf, which has its world premiere in October and has already sold out the first three weeks of performances.
Sarah will conclude her role with Malthouse Theatre on 30 November 2023, with the Malthouse Board actively recruiting for her replacement now.