Photographer: Sam Oster

Wire #14: The Art of Re-Opening

Wed 20 Oct 2021

Vaccination rates are gradually increasing in Australia, and many performing arts presenters have been grappling with the realities of welcoming live audiences safely back into their venues. Others are planning for it while still in lockdown. What can we learn from our colleagues in the US and Canada, who are further down the road to reopening, with higher vaccination rates and the implementation of vaccine passports for venues? This conversation will discuss our panellists’ experiences in their region, and the practical implications of reopening in the new normal.

Our panel of speakers is Alicia Adams (Vice President International Programming & Dance, The Kennedy Center); Chris Lorway (Executive Director, Stanford Live); Kenji Maeda (Executive Director, Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance); Lou Oppenheim (Director Production & Events, Sydney Opera House); Pat Tobin (Director Arts & Culture Services, City of Toronto). The discussion is moderated by Wesley Enoch.

AEDT (Melbourne/Sydney): Wed 20 Oct, 10:00-11:30
AEST (Brisbane): Wed 20 Oct, 9:00-10:30
EDT (east coast USA & Canada): Tue 19 Oct, 19:00-20:30
PDT (west coast USA & Canada): Tue 19 Oct, 16:00-17:30

This conversation will be live-captioned. Please contact us at if you have accessibility requirements.


Wesley Enoch, Host
Wesley is a writer and director. He hails from Stradbroke Island (Minjeribah) and is a Quandamooka man. Wesley has been the Artistic Director at Sydney Festival from 2017-21; Queensland Theatre Company 2010-15; Ilbijerri Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Theatre Co-operative 2003-06; Kooemba Jdarra Indigenous Performing Arts 1994-97. Wesley was the Associate Artistic Director at Belvoir Street Theatre 2007-10 and Resident Director at Sydney Theatre Company 2000-01. He has headed delegations to Festival of Pacific Arts in 2008 and 2012, been segment director and Indigenous consultant for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. Wesley has directed iconic Indigenous theatre productions including The Sapphires, Stolen, Black Diggers, The Dreamers, Bitin Back. He co-wrote The 7 Stages of Grieving with Deborah Mailman and The Sunshine Club, Black Medea, The Story of The Miracles at Cookie’s Table which won the 2005 Patrick White Playwrights’ Award. Wesley is the inaugural Indigenous Chair of Creative Industries at QUT.

Alicia Adams
For over two decades, Alicia has been presenting work from national and international arenas at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC. As vice president of international programming and dance, she produces the distinguished international theater series World Stages each year. Since 1997, Adams has curated and produced major international festivals including, most recently, Artes de Cuba, an unprecedented festival in 2018 that brought together 400 Cuban and Cuban American artists. She also curates the Kennedy Center’s contemporary dance programming and annual Lunar New Year Celebration.

Chris Lorway
Chris was appointed Executive Director of Stanford Live and Bing Concert Hall in California in May 2016. Before joining Stanford he was the Director, Programming and Marketing, for Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall – home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto International Film Festival – where he curated and presented an annual season of approximately 150 performances.

Kenji Maeda
Kenji is Executive Director at Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance. In addition to his role at GVPTA, Kenji is the artsvest BC Program Manager at Business for the Arts, a sponsorship training program for arts and culture organisations across the province. He has had the opportunity to lead workshops and work with more than 150 arts and culture organisations to strategise private sector partnerships within the arts. Kenji is also a cultural and organisational development consultant who has worked with arts organisations, government, and educational institutions.  He was previously the Executive Director of DOXA Documentary Film Festival, has worked in film, TV, and theatre and is a Jessie Award recipient.

Lou Oppenheim
Lou joined the Sydney Opera House in 2019 as Director, Production & Events. Her portfolio includes Venue & Event Sales, Production Services, Event Operations & Planning and Recording & Broadcast. Lou has had more than 15 years leadership experience in the performing arts, primarily as Director of Operations at the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and General Manager and Co-CEO at Circus Oz.  This followed five years at the global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group. Lou is also a Board Member of Theatre Network Australia.

Pat Tobin
Pat is the Director, Arts & Culture with the City of Toronto’s Economic Development & Culture Division, a position he has held since 2017.  In the role, Pat oversees municipal cultural policy, cultural grants, and the delivery of City-led events like Nuit Blanche among other things. Prior to joining the City of Toronto, Pat spent 18 years with the Canadian federal government, working in areas such as culture, civic engagement, and economic development. Outside of government, Pat has worked with the Maytree Foundation on newcomer integration and the Inuit Art Foundation on expanding markets for Inuit culture.