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Expressions of interest – Artistic Director

(For FAQs read on further down the page.)


One of Melbourne's most dynamic independent opera companies is seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified individuals or creative teams for the position of Artistic Director for its 2022 program.


Established in 2003, Lyric is a bold, creative opera company committed to developing operatic artists, building new audiences and enriching the operatic repertoire. Lyric's work is focused on producing innovative and exploratory music-based theatre, using contemporary practices that challenge, engage and inspire artists and audiences alike. 


Lyric has a strong commitment to working with emerging artists as part of its work.


This contract role encompasses the development of a program of one performance and one development for the company's 2022, with the works based solidly within the continuum of the operatic tradition. 


Lyric is a project-based company and works within at the 'chamber' scale of opera. While it is important that proposed opportunities support the employment of classically-trained singers and musicians, Lyric is open to proposals that extend beyond the presentation of the traditional operatic repertoire.


The Artistic Director receives a base annual honorarium with additional fees afforded where the Artistic Director participates as an artist as part of the 2022 program.


As a project-based company, work is distributed in peaks across the year however a small weekly commitment of between 2-5 hours is reasonable outside of production periods.


The successful candidate will have:


  • A minimum of five years relevant industry experience

  • Previous success in securing funding

  • Good networks in the Victorian arts industry

  • Experience with programming/artistic direction.



Key Responsibilities

●      To create and manage the delivery of the company’s artistic program in consultation with the Lyric Opera Artistic Sub-committee.

●      To undertake a significant creative role in at least one of the programmed works

●      Undertake the development and management of the program within a sound financial framework

●      Support the effective delivery of productions in partnership with the Board and creative team

●      Provide input into the company’s further strategic development: artistically, organisationally and commercially including marketing.


Shared Responsibilities

●      Development of funding, marketing and audience engagement strategies in association with the appropriate board sub-committees

●      Execution of grant writing and acquittals

●      Work with the Chair or appointed Board Member to manage the company’s key stakeholder relationships and act as a public face of the company.

The AD reports to the Lyric Board of Management and is required to attend and report to Board meetings in an ex-officio capacity.


Board meetings are scheduled on a six-weekly basis and the Board comprises individuals with experience in Opera performance, performing arts production, business management, accounting, law, marketing and public relations.


EOI process.


Applicants are asked to develop a draft program of one performance and one development to occur in Melbourne in 2022.


Programs will be judged on the following criteria:

●      Innovation

●      Alignment to contemporary theatre and opera practice

●      Scale and suitability for smaller performance spaces

●      Commercial/audience appeal

●      Suitability for government and philanthropic support

●      Opportunities for partnerships/collaboration

●      Demonstrated experience in creating and presenting artistic works.


Applications should be in writing and be limited to no more than 3000 words.




Applications close 30 April 2021

Interviews will occur in the week commencing 3 May


Applications and enquiries should be directed to




Why is Lyric seeking expressions of interest for the role of Artistic Director?

After a period of nearly a decade with the company, Lyric's outgoing Artistic Director has resigned to pursue other interests.


What skill-set should the Artistic Director have?

The Artistic Director should demonstrate a strong foundation in understanding the operatic tradition and developing an annual program of work that is deliverable to a high-standard within Lyric's means.


Lyric has not set specific criteria around the Artistic Director's creative background, and this may be an individual or team. Past Artistic Directors have included stage directors and conductors, and Lyric is open to artists from other disciplines such as singers, composers, musicians, choreographers etc.


Can the Artistic Director be involved as an artist in the programmed work?

Yes, there is an assumption that the Artistic Director will be involved as an artist in at least one of the programmed projects, but this is not a requirement.


Does the Artistic Director need to be based in Melbourne?

The Artistic Director should have permission to work in Australia. The company's preference is for an individual or group based within Victoria or who has/have strong connections to Victoria. The Artistic Director would need to be based in Melbourne when participating as an artist in the program.


Why has the company advertised only for the 2022 program, is there an opportunity for this work to be ongoing?

Lyric's Board is currently reviewing the operational structure of the company. While this position is advertised for the 2022 program, the Board would welcome the opportunity for a longer-term relationship.


What is the scale of Lyric’s productions?

Productions typically feature a chamber orchestra of between 8-16 musicians and preference is for smaller casts. Production budgets are typically between AUD60,000 and AUD 100,000.


How does the company operate?

Lyric is a project-based company and does not maintain any ongoing staff. It is overseen by a Board, including many practicing and former-practicing artists who provide both strategic and operational support to the company.


Do the proposed works need to occur in Melbourne?

Yes, it is expected that any presentations will occur in Melbourne. Lyric is open to other locations for developments; however, the preference remains for these to occur in Melbourne or its immediate surrounds.


Do artists proposed for the program need to be based in Melbourne?

Where specific artists are proposed for the program, it is the company's preference that these artists should be Victorian-based with easy access to Melbourne.


Is Lyric open to collaborations?

Lyric would welcome proposals that facilitate partnerships locally, nationally or internationally.


Will the Artistic Director be responsible for the delivery of the proposed program?

The Artistic Director will not be responsible for the delivery of the program except where they are proposed as fulfilling key artistic/creative roles.


Where the Artistic Director does not fulfil a role of this kind, a consultation component will be expected to ensure the ability of the creative team to deliver on the program. The details of this will be negotiated with the successful party upon appointment.

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