April 30, 2019


Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) today announced the appointment of Jonathan Bielski as Chief Executive Officer. Currently Artistic Director of Auckland Arts Festival, Bielski will finish programming the 2020 festival then join ATC’s Artistic Director Colin McColl at the helm of Auckland’s premiere theatre company in July this year.

ATC Chair Gordon Moller says, “I am delighted to welcome Jonathan to Auckland Theatre Company in his new position as Chief Executive Officer. Jonathan was selected from a strong field of applicants and is one of Australasia’s most experienced performing arts executives. His experience and track record of success, coupled with his passion and extensive knowledge of the performing arts, make him a perfect fit for us.”

“We’re looking forward to welcoming Jonathan back into the ATC whānau,” says Artistic Director Colin McColl.

“In 2016 he was instrumental in helping strategise our move into the new ASB Waterfront Theatre. His extensive and comprehensive experience with arts organisations on both sides of the Tasman, and internationally, makes him ideally placed to lead the ATC team and our audiences on new adventures into a new decade as Auckland’s premier theatre company,” McColl says.

Hailing from the Manawatū, Bielski has worked in senior leadership positions in the arts both in Australia and New Zealand.

In 2010 he was appointed Sydney Opera House’s Director of Programming leading the strategy and administration for all their creative work across music, theatre, children and families, Indigenous work, dance and talks. He also took on the role of Interim Chief Executive of Sydney Opera House in 2012.

During his time at the Opera House, audience numbers and box office revenue grew exponentially, with a significant expansion of work by and for young people, in the education programme, and the appointment of the first Head of Indigenous Programming at a mainstream Australian performing arts centre.

In Aotearoa, Bielski has held senior management roles at both the Aotea Centre and the St James Theatre, worked as a consultant on the opening of ATC’s new home, ASB Waterfront Theatre, and in 2018 was appointed Artistic Director of Auckland Arts Festival for the 2018-2020 festivals.

During his period at the Festival, Jonathan secured some of the finest international performance seen in Auckland in recent years, including Komische Oper Berlin who performed Barrie Kosky’s magnificent The Magic Flute earlier this year, and Tamara Rojo and the English National Ballet who performed Akram Khan’s extraordinary Giselle at the 2018 Festival.

“I have been a long-time fan of the work of Auckland Theatre Company, so am thrilled to be joining the company as CEO,” says Bielski.

“As I approach the end of a very fulfilling term as Artistic Director of Auckland Arts Festival this move means I can continue to work with New Zealand artists and colleagues whom I admire and respect very much. I am honoured to join Artistic Director Colin McColl in leading ATC into its next era,” he says.

Bielski will finalise his last Auckland Arts Festival programme and then join ATC in late July thereafter remaining a consultant with AAF to oversee the launch and realisation of the 2020 festival.


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