Meeting Date/Time:

Thursday, 11th May 2023 / 5.30 PM AEST

Advisory              Committee:

Lord Mayor Cr Donna Davis

Keiasha Naidoo (chair)

Jon Greig



Members :

Marwa Abouzeid

Cr Cameron Maclean

Dr. Robert Lang


Jackie Emery         

Cr Georgina Valjak                                

Cr Angela Humphries

Catherine Cunningham          

Vyvienne Abla

John Moore





Craig McMaster, Director of Riverside Theatres

Tanya Sampson, Business Manager


Mike Brew, Operations Manager

Joanne Kee, Catherine Swallow





Jon Greig, Cr Cameron MacLean, Marwa Abouzeid

 Cr Georgina Valjak

Samantha Attard, Marketing & Communications Team Leader

Lord Mayor Cr Donna Davis




Acknowledgment of Country

Keiasha Naidoo (Chair) made an Acknowledgement of Country to the Dharug people, the traditional owners of the lands where the meeting was held.

The meeting commenced at 5.35 pm.


AGENDA ITEMS #2:  Welcome and Apologies

Keiasha Naidoo (Chair)

With a quorum present, the Chair, Keiasha Naidoo opened the meeting, noted the apologies, and welcomed the Riverside Advisory Committee members to the meeting.


AGENDA ITEMS #3:  Disclosure of interest

Keiasha Naidoo (Chair)

The Chair called for any advice from Committee Members on conflict of interest.
No conflicts were declared, and the results were noted.


AGENDA ITEMS #4Minutes of Meeting 16th March 2023


The minutes of the meeting of the previous Advisory Committee were noted as having been distributed and read.


MOTION: For the minutes of the last meeting to be accepted and approved.
The Motion was moved by John Moore
The Motion was seconded by Dr. Rob Lang and RESOLVED.

Chair Keiasha Naidoo requested any comments about the timing of the minutes being sent out from the 16th of March meeting and it was noted that a positive response was given from all committee members present as the report was received in an acceptable time frame.



AGENDA ITEMS #5:  Directors Report  

Craig McMaster

Craig McMaster opened by apologising for the delay in The Directors Report being distributed later than usual due to unforeseen time constraints.


Riverside Design Comp- Consultants’ tender completed and consultants decided, budget preapproved.

Financial position- In good shape for QTR 3, Venue utilisation on track above 50%, Solid Budget 23-24, Revenue on track.

Re-organisation update- Phase 1 Interim design developed and submitted for REM Panel (This is from now to closure). Predominantly Role Realignment, Equitable salary grades in line with Council.

Beyond the Square – drama program, a workshop for people with an intellectual disability, returned to full capacity after Covid.

Cate Cunningham asked how many participants. Catherine Swallow replied 11-12 plus support workers and 2 teaching staff. End of Year concerts were held previously and there is potential to reintroduce this event.

Craig McMaster commented- “it is a joyful experience to sit in on and observe”.

Discussion of the upcoming show, The Mousetrap.

Keiasha Naidoo asked about media to promote Mouse Trap. Craig McMaster advised that the promotion will be starting in early June.

New customer experience Casual staff trained.

Riverside Staff are undertaking Working with Respect training (Council-wide initiative) and Safety Evolution (WHS).


Riverside Presentations /Programming /Commercial Hires- Catherine Swallow

Successful April School Holiday Program with over 2900 attendees

Term 2 School attendees over 8,000 to see Sport for Jove- Macbeth and Sharp Short Theatre Youth Competition.

Ted X Youth- First time at Riverside which was an initiative with, COP And Riverside aimed at the age group 14-18.

Launch of new school workshop program in Lighting design.

National Theatre of Parramatta Joanne Kee

Acquittals for Create NSW and Packer Family Foundation completed. New Company Coordinator commenced.

Rehearsal of Girl Band underway – Joint Co-production.

3 Creative developments including – ETC, (blurring theatre and film), OMG Dead- (social media death by cancellation).

Potential touring of Guards of The Taj.

There is also a discussion of creative development for a theatre piece called “Prem”.


Sophie Anderson (Marketing Team Leader) has resigned from Riverside. Craig McMaster acknowledged Sophie’s contribution to all areas of marketing and the fact that she has developed a great team.

Appointment of Sam Attard as acting Team Leader.

Craig McMaster mentioned one area that Sophie was focused on, was improving the database. Target was 40k, it is anticipated this will exceed 50k by the end of the year.

Cate Cunningham asked how the “Beyond the Lines” Exhibition was received. Craig McMaster commented this was the 15th or 16th year of the exhibition and has been well received.

Website development official launch date 17/5/23, current website 12-13 years old.

·         Final integration with ENTA

·         Rebuild the ticketing transaction process, which meets all accessibility criteria.

·         Alignment with COP branding (City Engagement team from COP has been collaborative with branding).

·         Modified Riverside logo changed to full horizontal



·         Progress of the redevelopment Design excellence competition phase with City Design Team/ PDG.

·         Finalise tender and appointment of consultants for the Design Excellence Competition.

·         Progress development of plans for the closure period in the next 3 months.

The business case for Business strategy and heritage Building.

John Moore queried the competition for design if there were any requirements for an Australian design, Craig McMaster advised that the design team would be more than likely a representation of Australian and international submissions.

·         Dr. Rob Lang commented – significant teams will be assembled to be part of this cultural opportunity.

·         Craig McMaster spoke about the current Canberra design comp and that it was a who-is-who calibre of people making submissions.

·         Keiasha Naidoo requested an update when the announcement occurs.

·         Keiasha Naidoo asked if there were any questions regarding redevelopment.

·         Cate Cunningham asked when the design will be released, Craig McMaster advised process should be completed by the end of October 23 before the announcement of the design winner.

Keiasha Naidoo asked if there was the possibility of the committee being able to see the draft at any stage. Craig McMaster replied that this was unlikely do the fact that the jury made up of representatives of NSW government Architects and members selected from the Council will have the final say.

Dr. Rob Lang asked about posting an update on the redevelopment on the Riversides website page, Craig McMaster responded that the intention is to have a WIP page and recommended committee members review the current PAC website for how they have managed the progress of development.

Finance Update

March 23 QTR  3 YTD  279k deficit vs 404k Deficit. Based on QTR 2 forecast.

Cr. Angela Humphries asked about the roadblock to the accuracy of the financial information. Craig McMaster advised there have been system issues and staff changes in the Finance department at Council. The question was asked about audited figures. Tanya Sampson advised that Riverside is providing preliminary information to External auditors at present. Audit due early July.

Dr. Rob Lang asked about occupancy targets for year-end. Craig McMaster replied that May and June will be seeing an increase in utilisation due to schools’ participation in May and upcoming shows in June.






AGENDA ITEMS #6:  Riverside Re-Development Project Update

Craig McMaster

·         This is now part of day-to-day work.

·         Redevelopment discussed in detail in the Directors Report. (Please see above).


AGENDA ITEMS #7: City of Parramatta Council Update.

Craig McMaster (Director) Craig McMaster on behalf of Jon Greig (Executive Director Community Services)

·         Changes in council - appointment of new Lord Mayor Sameer Pandey and elections and deputy elections

·         Craig McMaster acknowledged the advocacy of former Lord Mayor Donna Davis.

·         New CEO Gail Connolly has commenced with the council and is undertaking meet and greets throughout Council.

·         Invitation to be extended by the committee to new CEO Gail Connolly to attend a meet and greet with the committee.

·         Draft letter to be prepared on behalf of the committee to Donna Davis to thank her for her support. (Craig McMaster)

·         Discussion was had if Donna Davis would continue to be a member of the committee and Cr. Angela Humphries advised that Donna Davis continues as a member of the committee.




AGENDA ITEMS #8: Appointment of New Committee Member

Craig McMaster (Director)



a. Update on new proposed RAC member.

b. The process to appoint new committee members


Craig McMaster to circularise suitable candidates with a recommendation to be sent out the week commencing 5th June 2023.

Cate Cunningham asked if the new Lord Mayor would be required to be on the committee, the committee structure was confirmed, and the committee is required to be made up of 8 committee members plus 4 Councillors.

Dr. Rob Lang advised it is stated in terms of reference- “Council to appoint casual vacancies”.

Craig McMaster confirmed his understanding that this would be done via a Briefing Note and recommendations.









AGENDA ITEMS #9 General Business

  Keiasha Naidoo (Chair)




·         Draft “Terms of Reference Document” for redevelopment reference group timeline

 Word document to be distributed to committee members for feedback on 12/5/23.

Feedback collated by 25/5/23. Amendments are to be sent out on 30/5/23.

The committee will meet virtually – tentatively from 30/5/23-1/6/23 (Keiasha Naidoo to organize the meeting).


·         Gender Bathrooms – signage needs to be reviewed and be more prominent.

·         Request for minutes to be distributed to the committee 3 weeks after the meeting if possible.

·         Request for Agenda and Directors Report to be distributed to the committee Friday before the next meeting.

Craig McMaster acknowledged the requests and advised that, if possible, these timelines will be adhered to, however, recommended the need for flexibility.

·         Request of the committee to ensure RSVP of attendance to RAC meetings to be done in a timely manner to allow for organising parking and catering.


Meeting Close

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 7.10 pm



The next meeting is to be held Thursday 20th July 2023 at 5.30pm