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Board

Karen Vickery Chair

Karen’s biography

Karen Vickery has had a long career in the performing arts in which she has worked as an actor for companies such as Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir and Q Theatre, and as a translator and dramaturg of Russian play texts. Karen lectured at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) from 1996 and was Head of Performance Practices there for five years, specialising in history of performance along with the history of visual art, architecture, literature and music before moving to Canberra. Karen was Director of Access and Learning at the National Portrait Gallery from 2011 to mid 2022. Karen has a strong interest in the relationship between cross-platform performance and visual art, along with a passion for communicating about the arts to as wide a public as possible through arts education. Karen is an award-winning actor and director in Canberra theatre, and a founder of Pigeonhole Theatre Company, and Chaika Theatre at Canberra’s new venue for independent theatre, ACT Hub. She has a Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language, a Bachelor of Arts with Honours and First Place from the University of Melbourne, a Bachelor of Dramatic Art in Acting from NIDA, and an MA in Theatre and Film Studies from the University of New South Wales.

Chris Wagner Deputy Chair

Chris’ biography

Chris Wagner is currently Managing Director and Partner in Talkforce Media and Communications Strategist. Chris has 20 years experience in the communication sector, working in ministerial offices, government departments and for a number of not-for-profit and corporate organisations.

A former journalist and Canberra Youth Theatre participant, Chris has a background in the areas of arts, governance, mental health, suicide, criminal and civil justice, national security and emergency management, as well as grassroots community liaison, amongst others. He is married to a fellow communicator and a father of two very talkative kids.

Peter Hoolihan Secretary

Peter’s biography

Peter Hoolihan is a Senior Associate at Maddocks admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the ACT and the High Court of Australia. Peter has practiced across a number of legal areas, with expertise in property, construction, environment and planning law. Peter has represented commercial clients, state governments and the Commonwealth of Australia on complex leasing arrangements, construction and infrastructure projects, acquisition and disposal of land and property procurement processes around the country.

Peter has also practiced in corporate governance, intellectual property and business transactions including for multiple not-for-profit and charitable organisations. Peter has a background in the creative arts, performance and drama having studied these at university and has been involved in multiple productions both on stage and off (including with Canberra Youth Theatre). His connection with Canberra Youth Theatre goes back to 2013 when his wife, Cassandra, worked and trained with the company. He has been an avid supporter since.

Tessa Hammond Treasurer

Tessa’s biography

Tessa Hammond is an HR Analyst with Tailored HR Solutions. Tessa is currently working on a diverse range of engagement types, including the collection, compilation and use of a variety of technologies to analyse and report on data trends and outcomes. Previously, Tessa worked as a Senior Consultant with Bellchambers Barrett where she was involved in a wide range of audit engagements including external audits for not-for-profit and charitable organisations, including risk management engagements and financial controls assessments. Having grown up in the Ainslie area, Tessa looks forward to submerging herself in the Canberra Youth Theatre community.

Ellen Harvey Member

Ellen’s biography

Ellen Harvey is currently a content strategist for business.gov.au. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Production and a Graduate Diploma of Book Editing and Publishing. Ellen has previously been in the executive and leadership teams of National Young Writers Festival, ACT Writers Centre, Scrapbook Creations (Universal Magazines), and Canberra Writers Festival. She has worked with Penguin Books, Random House Australia, and Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres. Ellen is a passionate advocate for sustainable arts careers and arts organisations.

Cassandra Hoolihan Member

Cassandra’s biography

Cassandra Hoolihan is a secondary teacher in the ACT, specialising in Drama, Dance and English. She is currently the Coordinator of Electives and a Year Coordinator at Caroline Chisholm School. In her role as a teacher, Cassandra has directed, stage managed and choreographed many events at the school, including musicals, plays, talent nights and dance festivals.

Cassandra has a background in the performing arts as an actor and performer. She has performed with companies in Newcastle (Tantrum Youth Arts, Newcastle Theatre Company, Stooged Theatre) and Canberra (Canberra Youth Theatre), and toured productions to Sydney, Gloucester Shakespeare Festival and regional NSW. Upon her move to Canberra, Cassandra trained with the Senior Ensemble at Canberra Youth Theatre and joined the team in administration and marketing in 2013. After completing a Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary), she then worked as the Education Officer at Canberra Theatre Centre in 2016, creating programs for and communicating with teachers across Canberra, giving her a unique understanding of the performing arts landscape as it relates to education in the ACT.

Adriana Law Member

Adriana’s biography

Adriana Law is a marketing consultant, specialising in marketing technology and customer experience. Adriana, a lapsed musician, has worked in the arts and not-for-profit sector for more than 20 years: in administration, front of house, and back of house; for venues and production houses, big and small (and medium). She has held roles in marketing, ticketing, and technology at Canberra Theatre Centre, Opera Australia, Sydney Opera House, Bell Shakespeare, Sydney Theatre Company, Sydney Symphony, and more.

Celia Rideaux Member

Celia’s biography

Celia Rideaux is currently the Assistant Director of Philanthropy at the National Library of Australia. She is a passionate fundraiser with a keen interest in the arts. Celia has helped raise millions of dollars throughout her career working for Amnesty International, St Vincent De Paul Society, the Salvation Army and the Australia War Memorial. When Celia was asked why she wanted to support Canberra Youth Theatre her answer was simple, “My brother Sebby.” Celia grew up in Bega and her brother did not fit the cookie cutter system society tried to push him into and it broke her heart to see him bullied and his creativity misunderstood. When he joined a local performing arts group, it changed his life. Her brother Sebby, aka Mr Marmalade, is now a professional Magician and is a constant source of inspiration for Celia, who hopes to share this inspiration with young people through her role as a member of the company’s Board. Celia is excited to be part of an organisation that is supporting creativity in young Australians, just like her brother, while bringing quality performances to the Canberra community.