Caitlin Dullard steps in as La Mama’s artistic director

Caitlin Dullard steps in as La Mama’s artistic director
Kaylah Joelle Baker

Caitlin Dullard is ready to throw her “head and heart” into her new position as La Mama’s CEO and artistic director following the departure of Liz Jones from the role after 50 years.

Speaking with Inner City News about her transition into the position, Ms Dullard said, “I am incredibly humbled by the opportunity and believe in La Mama and the power of the arts and the artists we support.”

Ms Dullard has shared the role of CEO with Ms Jones since February 2019, and her commitment to the theatre and the community has been noticeable since the moment she first stepped into the space in 2006.

“I was quite young and studying theatre at university when I went to a La Mama matinee and it was unlike anything I had seen before,” Ms Dullard said.

“It wasn’t that it was wonderful or high art, but it spoke to me for its point of difference and rawness, and I had immediate adoration for the artistic team who put their heart on their sleeves. It was infectious and that’s the magic of the space.”

Ms Dullard first started out as a La Mama volunteer for a few hours a week, before moving to Front of House, then to Mobile (touring) and Access (community) Producer in 2010, and then Company Manager and Creative Producer in 2014.

She then moved to the role of co-CEO mere months before La Mama’s highly-reported fire, and continued to show resilience through some of the theatre’s toughest times; from the fire, to the pandemic and a loss of funding.

While a tough time, Ms Dullard only has positive things to share about the theatre and its importance in Carlton.

“I love working with the artists at La Mama, I love the community connection, and I love the raw intimate space and the extraordinary environment of people and artwork … it’s such an exciting and eclectic space full of opportunity and it’s that diversity that really excites me,” she said.

“It’s a really supportive and invested community, and people's hearts are really in it. I am really excited and after working with Liz for a long time and watching and learning from her, I feel ready to go.”

As well as having a strong presence in the space and demonstrating a high-level of commitment to La Mama, Ms Dullard also has an impressive presence and background in community arts – all of which she credits to helping her gain the role.

“I figure I am in the role because of my history and that is really coming from a community spirited vision, so the work I have done is really about responding to the community – it’s what I have studied, what I have worked in, and what I believe in,” she said.

“Because I have been around for such a long time, I am very attuned to what the needs of the artist are, and the changing needs, and really my approach will be to do what we have always done and that is to support artists and react to artists’ needs, and be a haven and support network for them.”

Ms Dullard holds a Masters of Teaching (English and Drama), a Post Graduate Diploma of Arts (Theatre), a Bachelor of Arts (Drama and Literature), and Post-Graduate Certificate of Arts and Community Engagement at VCA.

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