Our Chief Executive, John Kotzas, was recently recognised in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List as a Member in the General Division (AM).
Having chartered a long and distinguished career in the arts, including a variety of pivotal leadership roles before taking on the role of Chief Executive of QPAC in 2009, the honours acknowledge his significant service to the performing arts as an administrator and artistic director.
Throughout his career, John has always had a heart for connecting communities and bringing people together through the arts.
His conviction that the arts can play a critical role in offering hope and provides a way to consider life’s possibilities has helped shape the Queensland performing arts industry over the years, with his contribution to the cultural life of Queensland acknowledged many times over.
John has been behind some of Queensland’s most loved and established performing arts festivals, including as the Artistic Director of the very first Out of the Box Festival (one of the world’s few arts festivals for children eight years and under) and as the inaugural Managing Director of Brisbane Festival.
Both continue to be shining lights of the performing arts sector here in Queensland.
With John at the helm, QPAC has established its role as a leading presenter, producer, investor, arts educator and public space. He has long advocated for the critical role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must play in the performing arts and remains one of the driving forces behind our continued work to build deep connections with communities through our First Nations programming.
Throughout his time at QPAC, John has held various creative and directing roles. As Chief Executive, he has championed the establishment of the now nationally-recognised QPAC International Series bringing some of the world’s best arts companies to our stages, including exclusive seasons of Paris Opera Ballet, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Hamburg Ballet, Hamburg Orchestra, Bolshoi Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Preljocaj and The Royal Ballet.
His commitment to bringing world class companies to Queensland audiences has led him to play an instrumental role in making QPAC a successful investor in touring musicals and confirming our theatres’ significant position in the national touring circuit.
This latest recognition follows two Honorary Doctorates from Queensland University of Technology and Griffith University acknowledging John distinguished service to the arts, and a 2016 Cavaliere dell’ Ordine della Stella d’Iatlia (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy) for his commitment to Italian arts, culture and community.
We pay our respects to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestors of this land, their spirits and their legacy. The foundations laid by these ancestors - our First Nations Peoples - gives strength, inspiration and courage to current and future generations, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, towards creating a better Queensland. Queensland Government’s RAP Acknowledgment of Country