The Committee is an elected group of volunteers who take active roles ensuring Tropical Arts fulfils its mission and continues to evolve. It’s a hands on committee with operational tasks shared between its members. The committee also convenes sub-committees which can then involve other Tropical Arts members and invites expertise from the broader network of the arts community. Current members as of 12 March, 2021 AGM are:
Doug Robins – President
Matt O’Connor – Vice President
Avril Duck – Artistic Director
Alicia Jamieson – Secretary
Martin Rhodes – Treasurer
Kevin West – Committee Member
Barbara Smith – Committee Member
Velvet Eldred – Committee Member
Owen Allen – Committee Member
Fujie Sato – Committee Member
Anne Eaton – Committee Member
Lou Van Rixhoort – Committee Member
Michael Oster – Committee Member
Just a little about us!
Avril Duck – Artistic Director
A professional community theatre director who has directed all 12 “Shakespeare at the Tanks” productions. Avril has a Bachelor of Education and Certificate of TEFL and has taught English as a Foreign Language to adults from around the globe for 25 years to sustain her arts career. Avril has directed community and professional theatre productions and run workshops for the Pyramid Race, Mission Australia, The Mental Health Sector Conference, Cairns and District Family History Society, JUTE, the Hinterland Steiner School, FNQ Volunteers and in collaboration with many other community groups and arts organisation.
Avril has worked for peak regional arts and cultural development organisation Arts Nexus, over the past 5 years as Program Coordinator and Workshop leader. In 2015 she was given the Australia Day Cultural Award by Cairns Regional Council. After recently presenting at the National Rural Health Conference in Hobart with Velvet Eldred, she is perpetually preparing for the next Shakespeare production.
Velvet Eldred – former President
After training at QUT for a BA in drama and education, Velvet has worked for Access Arts and Qld Performing Arts Trust and created her own theatre productions in Brisbane before relocating to Cairns to work as a Director and community theatre maker with Just Us Theatre Ensemble (now JUTE). Velvet continued her community work working on projects in remote and regional communities (PCYC, Cairns School Distance Education), and with young people through Graft’N’Arts. In 2012, Velvet was presented with the Cairns regional Council “Woman of the Year” award.
Velvet pursued further studies with Sophia College receiving her Holistic Counselling certificates and arts therapy and counselling skills. Velvet has worked at ARC Disability Services where she worked as the Performing Arts Program Facilitator for 10 years, and with Tropical Arts Inc for 7 years creating inclusion pathways with Artistic Director Avril Duck. They have recently presented at the National Rural health conference (24-27 March 2019).
Velvet is exploring the capacity of a community to truly transform through theatre into wellbeing. Currently studying a diploma of Compassion based Informed Trauma Practise.