With Bangarra Since:
Lissa is a prominent and experienced creative and operational leader with more than 25 years’ experience in arts and cultural development in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.


Lissa is a former Artistic Director of New Zealand International Arts Festival (NZIAF) and former Artistic Director of the inaugural Wellington Jazz Festival. Her final New Zealand International Arts Festival programme had an unprecedented focus on First Nations (Māori and Pacific Island) artists, including an acclaimed production of Troilus and Cressida in te reo Māori, which had international success as the opener of London’s Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre foreign language Shakespeare festival Globe to Globe in 2012.


Since 2013, Lissa has been the Executive Director, Major Performing Arts and National Engagement for the Australia Council for the Arts. During that time, she led the government’s strategic reform of the MPA Framework which resulted in one of the most significant arts policy changes since its inception in 1999.


From 2004 – 2005, Lissa was Associate Director of Sydney Festival, and Artistic Associate, Head of Programming from 1997-2004. She has also co-produced with leading international festivals in Australia, UK, Europe, Asia and the USA and multi-arts centres including the Lincoln Center NY, the Esplanade Singapore and the Barbican London.


She has held positions on many boards and panels, such as Board Member at 107 Projects Inc. (2013 – 2014), Panel Member, Festivals Australia, Australia Council for the Arts (2012, 2013), External Assessor, Creative New Zealand (2012) and Music Peer Assessor, Australia Council for the Arts (2013).


Lissa has also engaged in a number of speaking engagements, including REMIX Summit (“Cultural Organisations Re-imagined” 2019), Australia Council Marketing Summit (2016), Melbourne University (2015), MPA Education Forum (“Asking the Ask” 2014), Australian Performing Arts Centre Association conference (Hypothetical Panel “The Value of the Arts” 2014), Festivals Edinburgh – Talent Development Symposium (2010), US Director’s Circle: Public Theatre NY/Under the Radar Festival (2010).