Board Members - Ulumbarra Foundation
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Our Name

Ulumbarra means gather together or a meeting place in the language of the Dja Dja Wurrung people.

Bendigo’s Ulumbarra Theatre is named to reflect the original indigenous use of the former goal site as a lookout and meeting place. This new community theatre is a place for all to gather and enjoy the performances of local and international talent

The Ulumbarra Foundation builds on its namesake in its aspiration to gather our community together in support of the performing arts, artists and audiences throughout Central Victoria.

Our Purpose and Objectives

The Foundation’s purpose is to benefit the development and delivery of performing arts at Bendigo’s unique arts venues, notably Ulumbarra Theatre, The Capital, Bendigo Town Hall and The Engine Room.  The Foundation’s activities will also support performing arts organisations, artists and the wider regional community through inspirational programs and funding initiatives.

The Ulumbarra Foundation’s objectives are to provide a framework to enable new funding sources to flow to Central Victoria’s performing arts programs, venues and artists.

  • To attract philanthropic support.
  • To raise awareness of and wide participation in performing arts programs and venues.
  • To develop and engage regional artists, audiences and communities.
  • To improve facilities and foster community strengthening activities.
  • To promote and deliver new programming and attract new audiences.

Our Board and Management

CS 2021

Carolyn Stanford, Chair

Carolyn is a qualified marketing communications professional with more than 35 years’ experience in marketing for private business, local and state government in NSW and Victoria. Her experience extends across a range of sectors, including tourism, economic development, natural resources and education. She has an MBA and Bachelor of Business (Marketing).

Carolyn is passionate about the performing arts and its transformative effect on individuals and communities.

Dale Pearce

Dale Pearce, Deputy Chair

Dale Pearce is the Principal of Bendigo Senior Secondary College, a position he has held since 2006. In addition to membership and leadership of a range of professional networks he is also a member of the Board of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and chairs its Senior Secondary Committee.

Dale is an advocate for public education and regional schools and his college is recognised for its innovation and commitment to the needs of all students. Away from work his interests include travel, sport and family including two young girls with a passion for the performing arts.

Vicki Pearse

Vicki Pearce, Treasurer

Vicki has a long and distinguished career in the banking and finance sector. She was State Manager of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank in Victoria and Western Australia for nine years. She is also heavily involved in supporting the not-for-profit and community sector.

Vicki is Chair of Bendigo Community Health Services. She is also currently Trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria, a board member of the Bendigo Art Gallery, and a Committee Member of the White Ribbon Foundation in Bendigo and various associated committees with many of these organisations. She is a former advisory board member of the Curtin University School of Economics and Finance, was Director of Foundation Housing Ltd (Perth WA), and was the Chair of the LeadOn Bendigo Youth Driving Program.

Margaret Keech OAM, Secretary

Margaret Keech is a keen supporter of both arts and sport in the Bendigo community. A qualified physiotherapist, now retired, Margaret has worked with sportspeople across Australia and is currently the immediate past Chair of the Board of the Bendigo Academy of Sport.

Margaret’s not for profit sector committee experience includes much committee work at  Girton Grammar in the past including President of the Parents & Friends Association, a Leader of both youth and adults locally in the 1st Strathfieldsaye Scout Group and Bendigo District Scouts, as well as at a State level. Margaret greatly enjoys her role as manager for the Forever Young Rock Choir and also sits on the Board of Bendigo Food Share.

Margaret and her family have supported the Ulumbarra Theatre since its inception and enjoy attending performances there. She is a strong advocate for encouraging world standard artists to perform in regional areas as well as supporting performing arts at a local level.

Graham Abbott, Board Member

Graham Abbott is one of Australia’s most respected conductors and music educators. With a background in music education, he was initially a high school music teacher. In the mid-1980s he embarked on a conducting career which has seen him work regularly with all the major Australian orchestras, choirs and opera companies. He has also conducted and taught in the UK, New Zealand and Singapore.

From 2003 to 2017 he worked as a producer/presenter on ABC Classic, presenting Keys To Music and many other programs for the station. His life is now an eclectic mix of conducting, writing, podcasting, teaching and tour leading. His passions include many aspects of history, both musical and otherwise, and he is regarded as a leading specialist in the music of Handel. Visual art is also a great love, as is travel and experiencing other cultures. Graham has been living in Bendigo since mid-2020, where he shares his life with his fiancé Tristian and dog Lulu.

Pip Johanson, Board Member

Pip was raised in Bendigo (from goldfields heritage), educated at Bendigo High School and completed a B.A. LLB.  at Melbourne University. On returning to Bendigo she was appointed as the first legal officer at the Bendigo Building Society. After having 3 children, Pip continued legal practice in the family law firm.

Over her years in Bendigo, Pip has been involved in many community organisations – the Bendigo Senior Secondary College Council, Bendigo Radiotherapy Foundation, the Bendigo Chamber Choir and the Bendigo Historical Society as well as volunteering as a guide at the Bendigo Art Gallery and Post Office Gallery.

Pip’s involvement over many years in the choir have made her particularly aware of the challenges of performing arts at a local level as well as the importance to the community of Bendigo in having exposure to quality productions in all performing arts.

Robert Blum, Board Member

Robert is currently the Director of Medical Oncology at Bendigo Health Care Group, a position he has held for sixteen years, while also being the Clinical Director of Loddon Mallee Integrated Cancer Services. Robert is an active member of the local performing arts community and has a desire to promote, attract and cultivate diverse forms of performing arts throughout Central Victoria.

Nigel McGuckian, Board Member

Nigel McGuckian is Deputy Chair of Coliban Water, as well as a committee member and flautist with the Bendigo Symphony Orchestra. He is past Chair of the Loddon Campaspe Regional Partnership and the Otis Foundation. He was a cofounder of RM Consulting Group – an environmental and agricultural consulting business – and worked as a consultant with the business for 28 years. Mr McGuckian has a broad range of experience in agriculture, environment, economics and community development.

Robin Bragg, Board Member

During his career Robin Bragg practised as a mining engineer, mine manager, environmental manager and consultant to the mining industry in various states. Now a resident of Bendigo since 2016, he admires the historical wealth and colonial architecture of Bendigo and indulges his interests in cryptic crosswords, learning French, playing guitar, walking, gardening and travel.

Robin has always been supportive of “The Arts” and now has a desire to help promote, attract and cultivate diverse forms of performing arts throughout Central Victoria through philanthropy, bequests, donations and fund raising.

Robin views the Ulumbarra Theatre as “a fantastic achievement; an architectural marvel to rival anything else in the country and about which Bendigo can most rightly boast. I think a place without artistic endeavour or aspiration is a place without a soul.”

David Stretch, Executive Officer

After a successful career in entertainment and sports marketing in Melbourne, David Stretch acquired then transformed Castlemaine’s historic Theatre Royal over a ten-year period, to become one of regional Australia’s most loved entertainment venues. Employed by the City of Greater Bendigo to support the opening of Ulumbarra Theatre, David currently leads the Marketing, Business Development, Box Office and Front-of-House Services teams of the Bendigo Venues & Events unit, and through this role acts as the Ulumbarra Foundation’s Executive Officer.

David’s community work in supporting the performing arts sees him assisting the Castlemaine State Festival in repurposing the historic Castlemaine Goods Shed for use as a community, performance and visual arts space.  David is also Secretary of community group, Live Music Bendigo Inc. which helps local music industry participants achieve personal and professional growth.