As CEO and Creative Director of Metro Arts, Jo Thomas is one of those rare arts leaders who straddles the creative and commercial divide with aplomb and grace.
Metro Arts experienced a once-in-a-generation evolution in 2019 – it sold the Heritage-listed building it called home for decades, established a multi-million dollar arts fund, negotiated new digs and through it all, programmed and commissioned a packed slate of contemporary work.
And steering the ship through these unchartered waters was Jo Thomas.
Her background in cabaret and circus proved a surprisingly effective training ground for keeping all the plates spinning during a tumultuous and action-packed 12 months.
And with a huge 2020 on the cards, Jo is set to use and hone every juggling, balancing and magic skill under the big top.
Theatre de Complicite’s The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol. It was in Sydney Festival in the ‘90s. There was this sense of physicality and I’d never seen anything like it then. They were absolutely meticulous and it was incredible what they could create with their bodies.
I’m going to give a call out to my buddies, Bec (Reid) and Tristan (Meecham). They’re not theatre-makers, they’re All the Queens Men: they’re disruptors, they’re creative makers. They create really important connections in communities that are artistic connections.
Yes. It’s an exception. I think it’s important to try and stay to understand the work as a whole but sometimes I just can’t.
I’d be a cabaret singer!
She stood on the balcony, inexplicably mimicking him hiccuping and amicably welcoming him in.