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An announcement from the Board & fortyfive staff in lockdown


We would like to again express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to Drive to Survive – your generosity and wonderful words of support were overwhelming in what is such a difficult time.

Unfortunately, this second lockdown has set many venues back in their plans to reopen to small audiences, and we feel for all Melburnians who are negotiating their way through another round of restrictions. We have had to press the pause button on any announcements just now, but we are continuing to work away, coming up with different options on how we can continue to present high quality art from the venue in the near future, and reopen safely when restrictions are able to be lifted. The health and safety of our audience and staff is paramount, so in the meantime, we all need to do the right thing, wear a mask, stay home, stay safe and wait for this wave to subside.

Board changes at 2019 AGM  
We held our 2019  Annual General Meeting online on 21 July. It was an extraordinary experience to read all about the wonderful year we had – one of our most artistically successful ever. We spoke of successful exhibitions, multiple sold out theatre seasons, many four and even five star reviews, and 26 Green Room Award nominations.

There are also changes this year at Board level. Our co-founder, and Foundation Chair, Julian Burnside AO,QC, retired as Chairman and handed the baton to Jim Hart, a Foundation Patron, who has been a Board Member since fortyfivedownstairs began. Julian has been an inspiration, and an outstanding supporter for independent artists and performers. fortyfivedownstairs would not have survived without his ‘can do’ spirit and we are both happy and relieved that he will remain on the Board.

Taking the reins as Chair is Publishing Consultant Jim Hart, who has been an independent, dedicated and supportive presence on our Board since its inception. Jim shares the same passion for art and theatre as we do and after a successful career in publishing, took the time to study as a mature age student at the Victorian College of the Arts. His interests are wide and varied, as well as the arts he’s a strong supporter of causes such as human rights and education and we are grateful that he has agreed to step into the role of Board Chair.

And two former Board members have returned to an enthusiastic reception from us all. Paul Casey has been working in London for the past three years, and Jack Fowles returned from Sydney to his home base of Melbourne a couple of months ago. We are absolutely delighted to have them back.


fortyfivedownstairs in lockdown
With all of us spending so much more time at home, we thought we would share with you a little of what the fortyfive team have been up to during lockdown. We’ll include a couple of staff members in each eNews over the coming weeks. Not sure about you, but a good deal of what we have been up to seems to have involved food…

Briar (Gallery Manager)

‘I’ve been lucky (or unlucky!) enough to be locked down in two countries over the past few months. During that time I’ve been trying out all of the recipes I had piled up pre-COVID, and documenting my fourteen-day hotel quarantine menu delights! Highlights include my attempt at the Moroccan Soup Bar’s chickpea bake, and the quarantine gnocchi feast.’



Philippa (Venue Manager)

‘During the lockdown, when it seemed that the WHOLE of the world was making sourdough bread, I thought I would raise some funds towards the Drive to Survive we were running – through a bake-sale of my raspberry and chocolate brownies (aka Bump-out Brownies). I was missing making them for the productions in the theatre every few weeks, as well as missing the theatre of course! So far I’ve made over 100 dozen, which has added $907 to the campaign. The  house has never smelled so delicious!’

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