Committee Nominations and Statements of Support

At the Special General Meeting on 30 November, Philo's members will be voting to accept a new set of Rules. If the Rules are accepted, we will need to elect a new committee.

Committee Nominations

Please note: There were initially a large number of nominations submitted, however several nominees have since withdrawn themselves from consideration. This updated list reflects these withdrawals.

The members below have been nominated for the following positions:

  • President - Grant Pegg
  • Vice President - Nathan Patrech
  • Secretary - Anne Macleod
  • Treasurer - Jason MacKenzie and Trina Wood
  • Ordinary Committee - Charlotte Gearside, *Jason MacKenzie, Elloise Reardon, Jonathan Rush and Alexander Unikowski

* Nominee has also been nominated for Treasurer and, if successful, will be removed from the Ordinary Committee ballot.

Nominee Statements of Support

Charlotte Gearside

I have nominated for a Committee Member position at Canberra Philharmonic as I am a dynamic, passionate and highly effective operator who seeks to give back to the community that has given me a platform to do what I love. I aspire to be a committed member of the Philo team and wish to inspire and create commitment, while also embracing risk and innovation in line with the Committee's vision. I am incredibly passionate and enthusiastic about the arts and it is my vision to build Philo’s community across all theatrical elements to provide a platform for aspiring practitioners. I would love the opportunity to strengthen the vision and culture of Canberra Philharmonic and make it the home of many passionate theatre makers and creators.

Apart from being involved in a number of Philo’s productions since 2017, I am currently the Leader of Learning Performing Arts at St Clare’s College – a role that requires:

  • Clarity in communication - when managing projects, leading faculty and supporting students
  • Facilitation and organisation of major events / whole school productions
  • Directed and produced musical theatre (170+ students)
  • Oversee budget (whole faculty)
  • Development of Performing Arts programs – innovation
  • Develop safe and supportive environments for clientele to thrive
  • Support in conflict management
  • Anticipate difficult situations and problem solve
  • Set goals for big picture
  • Seek feedback and reflect to refine practice

I am excited to be able to put my name forward for consideration!

Jason MacKenzie

Hi, I’m Jason MacKenzie, but a lot of you will know me as Mack. I’m relatively new to the Canberra Theatre scene, but have always loved performing - and Philo is my first Musical Theatre Love. From Jesus Christ Superstar back in 2018, to Jersey Boys in 2021 - I’ve been involved in all Philo Shows during that period. Some have been successful, and some have sadly been impacted by events beyond anyone’s control. All have felt like family, and bump-out parties have always left me with feelings of accomplishment, mixed with a little bit of grief – knowing that what we had and shared was special, and likely never to be repeated.

When I was first asked to join Committee back in 2019, I was worried I had nothing to offer – which was quickly rebutted. I was informed that I had everything to offer: generous with my time; calm and considered; ready willing and able to pitch in; and most of all someone who has and makes space for Philo in their diary and in their heart. That’s me.

Being on Philo Committee has never been easy – even during the good times. It’s a devotion and a giving – not just to fellow Committee members and to the Society, but also to our volunteers and supporters and the Canberra community who love us, and who come to see our shows. Sometimes as Committee members we have to make tough decisions, and I can honestly say I’ve never taken a tough decision lightly. Being a Committee member also demands a certain amount of bravery and a willingness to engage on matters that are important, and to put Philo first, before self, or ego. That’s me too.

I’m sorry and I apologise to our Members for not giving you more time to consider the proposed new Rules. As a Committee we spent some time on them, and while they are not quite where some of us would have liked them to be, they are workable and should be fit for purpose. But they have to work for our Members too, so please consider them carefully. Please compare them to the old Rules, and please vote on what you think is best for Philo.

You’ve probably noticed that I nominated for all Office Bearer and General Positions on Committee, and may be wondering - why? It’s a good question, and I’m happy to take that offline and explain. But in a nutshell – we need people on Committee who have been voted for, and who our Members feel they can trust. I can’t possibly fill all positions, and I know I’m likely not the first choice for e.g. President of Philo, but I just wanted to make sure Members were given voice – through a proper voting process, and it turns out that we will get to vote – possibly several times in fact!

As to who should be President – it’s not me. I withdrew my nomination before I penned this. We need a new President that can bring us together and get us on track with what we do best – making high quality performances accessible to the Canberra community. What we also need is a Committee that can be brave when necessary, and able to give Philo what it deserves – time, effort, expertise and love. I can do all that. Most of the nominees for positions have already demonstrated they can do that too. I’ve been a Club Secretary in the past, but I think we already have another great nominee for Philo in that space, so I won’t be contesting that position on Wednesday. A Vice President should have knowledge, experience and charm, and be ready and able to support all members of Committee. I certainly think I could do that (possibly minus the charm), but there are already some good nominees in that space - so I won’t be contesting that position on Wednesday either.

I do think we need to exercise some modest fiscal restraint however, as we focus all our efforts on successfully bringing Cats to the stage in 2023. Jersey Boys certainly put us in a good financial position, but we have had our ups and downs and possibly some avoidable expenses since then. My previous Philo Committee experience and a willingness to do something different for Philo puts me in a good position to be Philo’s next Treasurer. I’ve got genuine offers of help and assistance from Treasurers past - to show me the ropes regarding show budgets and Philo’s accounting requirements etc., and I’m also very good at record keeping. That combined with some solid experience with every Federal Budget since 2013 (Australian Public Service) and year 11 Accounting as recently as 1989 (what could possibly have changed since then?) should at least count for something.

In my limited experience, this Philo Special General Meeting is unusual – in that it benefits from some positions being hotly contested. People obviously still care for Philo. People are prepared to fight for Philo. People want Philo to endure and continue providing a safe platform from which to perform and receive an appreciation for our art form. And I’m all of them too. Be it for the position of Treasurer or for General Committee - vote for me if you know and trust me. But more importantly, vote for who you want, not for someone you don’t know, or who you have been told you should vote for. Chookas!

Nathan Patrech

I’ve been involved in the Canberra theatre community for over 25 years – which may come as a surprise to a lot of people, as most of my activity and contributions are behind the scenes.

Throughout my time in theatre, the majority of my endeavours have been technical – working with the sound and lighting crews, backstage and stage management, and even once as a pyrotechnic technician (4,756 days and counting without blowing up a cast member).

Aside from my activity within theatre, I am also very active technically outside of it – my professional career is within the Audio Visual industry, and I work from time to time with other partners (Eclipse Lighting and Sound, primarily), in various technical and supervisory roles as required, including stage management, camera and video operation, and radio microphone technician.

Having been around, and involved in, the Canberra theatre community for as long as I have, I must confess to being dismayed at the seeming decline in quality of productions being staged by Philo. This is not to in any way slight or diminish the performers on stage – they have, and continue to do exceptional work – but the company has seemed to be suffering from ‘too many hands on the tiller’.

I performed on stage once a few years ago in Philio’s Pirates of Penzance, and saw first hand the results of artistic decisions being made by people other than the Director of the show, without the Director’s knowledge. I believe a committee’s role is to support the creative teams in delivering their vision, not to force that vision into something different.

If I am fortunate enough to be elected as your Vice President, I will be a valuable technical resource for the creative teams, with the first hand knowledge and experience to help them fulfil their vision with the technology that is possible (and yes, also tell them what is NOT possible), while allowing them to maintain their independence to deliver the first rate productions that we all know that Canberra Philharmonic is capable of staging.

Thank you for your consideration.

Dr Grant Pegg

I was eleven years old when I first performed in a community musical in Central Queensland - the show was called Smiley, the plot was nonsensical and my brothers thought it was lame, but it did rain on stage so that was kinda cool - I was hooked. Since then, I’ve been involved as a performer, director, lighting designer, stage manager and producer for multiple companies in multiple cities which has given me understanding, appreciation and perspective of the magnificent machine and often crazy world that is community theatre. More than that, I believe in its power to unite people from diverse backgrounds, extend skills, enjoy shared accomplishment and create art; it is indeed greater than the sum of its parts.

If elected, my priorities will be nurturing our purpose and our people. COVID-19 has presented challenges across all sectors - particularly for the arts and uniquely for community musical theatre; Philo hasn’t been immune. I know first hand the devastation of cancelling a production with opening night in sight. As we emerge from the worst parts of the pandemic it is vital for us to maintain our purpose and vision with a momentum that is sensitive to the prevailing context. The situation remains dynamic and this will require an agility and resilience to enable us to look forward while honouring our rich history. It may also challenge us to innovate in order to meet the needs of our members and our audience.

The society is nothing without its people - both on stage and off. Musical theatre is a team sport and I’m committed to building and fostering our community to ensure its success for another 70 years. This will include a focus on grass roots approaches to building membership base, enhancing social cohesion and harnessing the broad and deep skillsets that our members possess for the benefit of the society.

In my professional medical life I’m an experienced people manager, risk assessor, problem solver and strategist. I value robust discussion and welcome divergent views, but I’m a diplomat at heart and will always seek to find common ground to achieve a consensus view. I don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good. I believe in the power of teams and will always champion a safe, respectful and creative atmosphere to operate, learn and grow.

It is no exaggeration to say that community musical theatre has gifted me some of the best times in my life and also provided a sanctuary when I needed it most. My aspiration is that all involved with Philo have that same experience.

Jonathan Rush

I have nominated for a Committee Member position at Canberra Philharmonic because I am passionate about musical theatre and the community of excellent people that it fosters.

I know the importance of Philo from my time performing in, directing and producing community theatre in Canberra – including performing in three Philo productions – along with previous experiences as Treasurer and President of a musical theatre society in Sydney that managed up to 6 productions a year.

My experiences being a part of Philo shows have been some of my best times since moving to Canberra. I'm keen to give back to the society, and the broader Canberra theatre community, by contributing to the committee.

The goal of Philo should be to produce excellent musical theatre in a healthy, inclusive and open environment. I would like to be a Committee Member because I think I would bring an experienced, nuanced and practical perspective to helping achieve that goal. I also have skills I can bring from my day job leading teams to complete complex projects.

  • I have strong creative instincts and project management skills that would make me an effective all-round helper to the committee on projects as they arise.
  • I have been in the cast of Philo productions and can appreciate the needs of cast and crew, including valuing their perspectives when the committee makes decisions on productions.
  • I have directed and produced musical theatre, giving me a solid understanding of creative pressures, backstage logistics and the financial challenges of putting on a show.
  • I have been on the executive committee of a community theatre society before, successfully juggling creative goals of a society with practical concerns, including legal and financial issues.

I also believe that the current issues facing Philo are manageable with a dedicated committee and effective project management. They shouldn’t stop Philo meeting its core goal, and the responsibility it has to its casts, crews and community to create a space for friendship and creative expression.

Thank you for your consideration!

Alexander Unikowski

I am very excited by the opportunity to run for Philo committee. Having signed on as musical director for the upcoming production of Cats, I have seen the refreshing and exciting potential that lies in the new directions Philo is taking post-Covid. I would love the opportunity to be a part of that - to contribute my experience working for various companies across Canberra, as well as experience in live musical performance and digital marketing – to bring to the table for the discussions on the ways Philo can innovate and grow. I believe my musical background could be invaluable for a company that deals in musicals; and I would hope that my involvement in other aspects of shows across my time working in theatre – from marketing, to rehearsal admin, to dialect coaching and repetiteuring – would mean I would be a productive, creative and helpful member of the committee. I understand that Philo, with its long history, is a place that many people feel great affection for, and I would relish the chance to be a part of the company's next moves as it evolves and redefines its space as welcoming to Philo regulars, Canberra theatre staples, and newbies alike.

Trina Wood

I am seeking support in my election for the role of Treasurer of Canberra Philharmonic Society Inc.

I have been involved in the theatre community since before I was born, as my mother performed while pregnant with me. I spent a lot of my childhood either at rehearsals or performances. While I have performed in a couple of musicals, I have much preferred the behind-the-scenes work. Over the years I have worked front of house in various roles, backstage as part of the crew, performed in the chorus and as a member of executive committees. I have many years of prior committee experience, including being Treasurer for Supa Productions Inc and Bertribarren Inc as well as for non-theatre groups including the canteen Treasurer for the P&C of St Anthony’s Primary School and a Judo club in Canberra’s South.

I am a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. I am the CFO and director of Kaylene Pty Ltd and hold a Master of Financial Planning. I have been a financial planner for the past 18 years.

I bring to the committee my experience from my work as a director, the financial expertise to perform the role of treasurer and my love of theatre to continue Philo’s work in producing exceptional theatre productions.

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