Chunky Move announces new joint leadership

Antony Hamilton, Kristy Ayre and Freya WatersonChunky Move has now announced the appointment of Antony Hamilton and Kristy Ayre as joint CEOs of the company. The appointment follows a rigorous global recruitment process calling for proposals from teams or individuals with the creative vision and professional credentials to lead Victoria’s flagship contemporary dance company into a new phase of its history. Hamilton and Ayre are to be joined by Freya Waterson who will be responsible for the company’s national and international touring program.


Martin Foley, minister for the Creative Industries, stated, “Chunky Move is an incredible Victorian success story that plays a key role in Victoria, and Australia’s dance sector and this is an exciting new step for the company. Antony and Kristy have international reputations and will bring a wealth of experience to the role. I look forward to seeing their vision come to life.”


Chunky Move Chair Leigh O’Neill said, “I’m thrilled with the appointment of Antony and Kristy, and to have Freya’s expertise in the company… This team draws on deep and internationally-respected experience in the Australian dance sector whilst bringing a confident and energetic vision for the future. Antony is without doubt one of Australia’s most exciting choreographers—his work is in national and international demand, and his unique approach to making dance fuses artistic disciplines and creates new possibilities for contemporary dance. Kristy brings the perspective of a dancer together with the strategic skills of a cultural leader and advocate for dance practice in Australia. Freya’s inclusion in the team brings a sophisticated understanding of the national and international landscape for touring and audience development. In applying for the role, the team put forward an exceptional vision for the future of contemporary dance, and we are excited to support them in bringing this to life.”


In a joint statement, Hamilton and Ayre said, “We feel enormously privileged to lead Chunky Move, and energised to steer the company into a bold new creative era. It’s especially significant for us to return as joint CEO’s to a company that has had such an impact on our professional careers. We are honoured to continue the company’s legacy, and look forward to working with Chunky Move’s staff, artists and board to develop an adventurous and dynamic program.”


Hamilton and Ayre will outline their vision in the coming months, however they said, “Together, we feel propelled to cultivate the company’s reputation and champion a culture of generosity within the dance sector. We plan to deliver new opportunities for artists, and bring ambitious new performance works to audiences in Melbourne and around the world.”


In addition to the responsibilities of joint CEO, Hamilton will take up the role of artistic director and Ayre, executive director. Waterson will join the company as program and touring producer.


The search for a new leadership team commenced in September 2018 following the departures of Artistic Director Anouk Van Dijk and Executive Director Vanessa Pigrum. In thanking these two for their guidance over the past years Leigh O’Neill also paid tribute to the interim team—Sarah Greentree and Ann Tonks—who have expertly steered the company through an extraordinary few months, which included a rigorous touring program, presentation of new works and the search for new leadership.


Hamilton and Ayre will start in February 2019, initially on a part-time basis and then work full-time for the company from April. Waterson will start her part-time role in January 2019.


Photo by Gregory Lorenzutti.

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