February 14, 2023

VAPAC Industry Development Initiative

The Victorian Association of Performing Arts Centres (VAPAC) is pleased to announce the launch of the VAPAC Industry Development Initiative, a cross-sector project designed to address the chronic shortage of technical staff in the sector following the major workforce disruptions experienced since the beginning of the global pandemic. This new program will bring together leaders and stakeholders from across the arts and education sectors, government at all levels, and industry professionals with first-hand experience of this crisis. With support from project partner Studio Entertech, in 2023 VAPAC will form an Industry Taskforce to guide this work and hold a series of industry roundtable events to formulate comprehensive strategies for addressing these issues for the betterment of venues, artists, and audiences across Victoria and beyond. VAPAC’s Technical Managers Network will continue to meet regularly, and work with industry partners to support and upskill technicians.

VAPAC Executive Director Patrick McCarthy said, “This is the single largest issue facing performing arts centres across our state, and it is impacting venues of all sizes in both metropolitan and regional contexts. The wonderful team in our Technical Managers Network have been working closely with Arts Centre Melbourne and their Registered Training Organisation in recent years, and this is the next step in strengthening training and career pathways across the state into our network of venues. Additional investment from State and Federal Government in this issue is crucial, and we look forward to working closely with them moving forward. We’re also greatly appreciative of the support and expertise from the team at Studio Entertech on this project”.

“As Australia’s longest-running theatre consultancy, Studio Entertech is committed to building a supportive, secure and healthy industry as a part of our mission to enable exceptional performances,” said Micah Johnson from Studio Entertech. “Our backstage technicians have always worked tirelessly in difficult conditions to make every production as good as it can be, and the impact of Covid saw support for their work devastated.  This initiative will see Studio Entertech and VAPAC work together with the industry, building sustainable programs that ensure technical skills are developed and supported – not just in the short term but long into the future”.

VAPAC will continue to update members and the broader industry on this project as it progresses throughout 2023.

VAPAC Industry Development Initiative Taskforce

The members of the Taskforce bring decades of experience and broad expertise in technical management, training, production management, theatre design, risk management, workforce development, and advocacy. With strong connections across the sector, this group will guide our planning and strategy over the coming months, and inform our advocacy work with government and industry partners.

VAPAC will be holding a series of industry roundtable events later this year, which will provide opportunities for stakeholders from across the industry to contribute to this work and form cross-sector strategy. Keep an eye on VAPAC’s communications for future announcements.


Murray Johnstone – Senior Manager, Technical Training & Development
Arts Centre Melbourne

Em O’Brien – Director
Elucidate Consulting

Brett Tippet – Head of Technical Operations
Gippsland Performing Arts Centre &
Committee Member of VAPAC Tech Managers Network

Patrick McCarthy – Executive Director
The Victorian Association of Performing Arts Centres

Melenie Stevenson – Industry Development Manager
The Victorian Association of Performing Arts Centres

Kate Kelly – Director
Studio Entertech

Micah Johnson – Director
Studio Entertech

The VAPAC Industry Development Initiative is proudly supported by Studio Entertech.

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