Riverside Theatres takes new direction as it farewells director, Robert Love

A NEW director will take the reins of Parramatta’s iconic Riverside Theatres from next month, with the long-serving Robert Love stepping down after 20 years at the helm.

City of Parramatta Council has announced the appointment of Craig McMaster, who brings with him more than 30 years’ experience in global entertainment, theatre and venue management. Most recently, Mr McMaster led the development and opening of the multi-awarded $100M Sydney Coliseum Theatre at West HQ in Rooty Hill.

Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer said the appointment marked an exciting new direction for Riverside Theatres, as Council continues its work on the proposed redevelopment of the facility as part of a new cultural precinct in Parramatta.

“We are delighted to welcome Craig as the new Director of Riverside Theatres,” Cr Dwyer said.

“Craig’s significant experience in the arts and entertainment industry, and his shared passion to further develop a thriving arts and events culture in Sydney’s Central River City, positioned him as the ideal candidate to lead Riverside Theatres into the future,” Cr Dwyer said.

On his appointment, Mr McMaster said: “I feel extremely privileged to have been selected to take on this exciting role and to have the opportunity to lead a successful and thriving venue like Riverside Theatres. I am looking forward to building on the amazing foundation that Robert has created and bringing to life some exciting new plans for Riverside’s future.

“This past year has been a difficult one for us all, particularly the arts and entertainment industry. We can’t wait to welcome patrons back to Riverside Theatres, and I am confident that we will emerge even stronger when that time comes.”

Cr Dwyer said the announcement was a bittersweet moment for Riverside Theatres, acknowledging the enormous contribution Robert Love has made to the City.
“Without Robert’s enthusiasm and passion, Riverside Theatres would not be the institution it is today. During his 20-year tenure, he has breathed new life into Riverside’s performance, education and events programs and grown its production arms to put theatre in Parramatta on the map,” Cr Dwyer said.

“We are sad to see Robert leave, but his legacy as a champion of the arts in Western Sydney will endure, and I have no doubt he will continue to inspire and contribute to the Australian arts community as he has done for more than 45 years.”

Robert Love said he had enjoyed every moment of his time at Riverside Theatres and looked forward to seeing the evolution of the next chapter in the Theatres’ 33-year history.

“I am sincerely grateful to have had the opportunity to be Director of Riverside Theatres over the past two decades – it has truly been the role of a lifetime,” Mr Love said.

“Throughout my time here, I have worked with so many exceptional, passionate and creative people. I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing performing arts in Western Sydney evolve and grow. I am delighted to pass the Director’s baton to Craig McMaster, knowing that he will lead Riverside Theatres, and the performing arts in Western Sydney, towards a bright and successful future.”

Riverside Theatres, which is owned and operated by City of Parramatta Council, draws more than 180,000 patrons to up to 1000 performances and events every year.

It is home to the National Theatre of Parramatta, which cultivates Western Sydney’s next generation of artists, performers and creators, and FORM Dance Projects, a presenter of independent contemporary dance. It also offers an extensive educational program for young people and people with disability.

Photo: Robert Live being interviewed by Western Sydney Business Access in 2017 after receiving an AM. See VIDEO HERE

About Craig McMaster
Craig McMaster was most recently the Managing Director of AvenuArts (Australasia), a boutique arts/entertainment and commercial consultancy practice. Previously, he held the role of Project and Executive Director of Sydney Coliseum Theatre, West HQ – the award-winning new 2000 seat proscenium arch theatre venue which opened in Western Sydney in late 2019. Craig has also worked as Chief Marketing and Information Officer (CMIO) for VenuesLive Management Services, as CEO of leading premium ticketing and VIP packaging provider Showbiz Group, and in senior leadership roles with Australia’s leading primary ticketing provider, Ticketek Pty Ltd, including as Chief Executive Officer.

About Robert Love AM
Robert Love started his diverse theatrical career in the 1970s as a trainee director for the Old Tote Theatre Company and the Australian Theatre for Young People. A year later, he founded the Toe Truck Theatre, which he managed and performed with for five years. This was followed by General Manager positions at the Seymour Centre, State Theatre Company of South Australia, and Sydney Theatre Company. Robert briefly dabbled in event management embedded in the world of TV and film with a role at the newly established Fox Studios in 1997, before returning to the stage in late 2000 as Director of Riverside Theatres. Since then, Robert has been instrumental in shaping and guiding the development of the Parramatta icon. As a longstanding champion of the performing arts in Western Sydney, in 2017 he was made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia.

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