Bondi Pavilion welcomes new Artistic Director

13 January 2023

Chris Bendall has been announced as the new Artistic Director for Bondi Pavilion. Chris is a nationally respected and award-winning arts leader. He has been Director and CEO of Critical Stages Touring since 2014, curating annual programs of outstanding professional theatre and live performance for regional and metropolitan audiences across Australia and New Zealand.

Chris Bendall said he is passionate about ensuring that programmes at Bondi Pavilion represent the full diversity of the Waverley community.

The newly restored Bondi Pavilion, with its theatre, gallery, music studios and other spaces will be brought to life by the experience and vision of the new Artistic Director.

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos said “I am thrilled that Waverley has been able to attract an Artistic Director of such outstanding calibre. I am looking forward to seeing what Chris will bring to our important community venue".

“The vision for Bondi Pavilion has always been a community cultural centre that acts as a drawcard for people near and far, and which is a catalyst for arts and culture," Mayor Masselos said.

"Chris’ appointment is a great step in realising that vision. He has successfully nurtured talent and worked with communities in Australia and around the world and is deeply respected in the arts and culture sector. We are fortunate to have his talent at work in Waverley.”

Chris Bendall said “I am passionate about developing local stories, ensuring that the work in our arts centres represents the full diversity of our communities, creating accessible live performance experiences, and ensuring that Bondi Pavilion’s creative program contributes to and supports the environmental and cultural sustainability of our community".

"I'm very excited and honoured to be taking on this significant new role at the Bondi Pavilion at this time. I have attended many events at the Bondi Pavilion over the years, from the Tamarama Rock Surfers early events through to Bondi Feast's diverse annual program, and can't wait to take on the opportunity of steering the development of a vibrant new artistic program at this much loved heritage venue," Chris said.

"I'm also particularly excited about working right on the doorstep of what is easily one of the most spectacular beaches in the world, a beach that my family and I swim and surf at regularly - and as often as possible!".

Chris also has a special interest in inter-generational experiences, and in seeking out and developing creative opportunities to support families to engage in the arts together.

Chris' arts credentials include Guest Curator at the 2013 National Play Festival for Playwriting Australia, Artistic Director & CEO of Deckchair Theatre in Fremantle WA, Artistic Director of Theatre @ Risk in Melbourne and Resident Director at Melbourne Theatre Company.

His awards include the Performing Arts Connections Australia Touring Legend Award for 2019, the WA Equity Award for Best Director in both 2009 and 2011, the Queen's Trust Australia and Foundation for Young Australians Centenary Grant (2001) and the George Fairfax Memorial Award for Theatre (2003).


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