November 05, 2020Updates


After seven incredible years, we say goodbye to our current Executive Director Elise Sterback on Monday 07 December. Elise joined the team in 2013 as Basement’s very first Marketing Manager and in 2014 took over as Co-General Manager when founder Charlie McDermott departed.

During her time at Basement, Elise discovered a love of producing theatre, lending her talent to several theatre productions at Basement including Abigail’s Party, The Motherfucker with the Hat, Heteroperformative and seven of Basement’s annual Christmas Shows.

Before Basement, Elise was a freelance arts policy researcher, organisation strategist and arts advocate. She was the Community Manager at Biz Dojo (a co-working and innovation space), and the Co-Programmer of creative sector conference, Survive & Thrive. She also co-founded Creative Mornings Auckland, and produced arts happenings through her company Vibracorp. So it’s fair to say that in 2013, Elise brought a huge amount of knowledge, skill and passion that has made Basement what it is today.


Elise has recently led the development of a ten year strategy and vision for Basement Theatre in 2030, supporting the organisation to secure renewed multi-year funding as one of 20 Tōtara leadership organisations with Creative New Zealand. Although 2020 has been a challenging year for live performance and venues, Elise leaves Basement with a thorough set of plans for operating in a disruptive environment, and a team who is confident they can respond to any new challenges.

Elise moves on to pursue a PhD in arts policy at the University of Auckland. She will also continue in her role as a trustee for Te Taumata Toi-a-iwi - Auckland’s arts development agency.

“Basement has been an important platform where I could meaningfully contribute to supporting the sustainability of artistic careers, which I am deeply passionate about. I now feel called to address the deeper structural issues that shape art-making of all kinds in Aotearoa - Covid-19 has created some huge opportunities for this, and an even greater urgency. I’m so sad to leave this community of weirdos where I have never felt more at home. Our 2030 vision sets some ambitious goals for Basement - I think it’s the perfect time for someone with fresh energy to take the helm and steer Basement toward its next bold new horizon.”

Now Basement turns its attention to finding a new Executive Director to join their leadership team. Together with their board, Basement is carrying out a unique recruitment process led by a group of “Heart-Hunters” including Rosabel Tan, Graham Tipene, and Lagi Maama (Toluma’anave Barbara Makuati-Afitu and Kolokesa Uafā Māhina-Tuai). The process will also involve members of the community as part of the decision making process around the new appointment. Read more here.