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Coaching Graduation Day 2022

Image by Fi Mims

Jenna's Updated Bio coming soon!

ARTS BIOGRAPHY

Scottish-Australian Jenna Robertson is an internationally award-winning independent arts leader, creative, and performer based on Wangerriburra country (Gold Coast Hinterland, Australia). She has worked for almost twenty years as a singer, writer, creative director and producer across opera, music and film (fulldome and screen).

Jenna’s 17 years of artistic leadership spans the breadth and depth of opera including performance, programming, casting and producing for traditional opera, creating and producing of new opera, and a decade producing regional community opera; combining to earn her a reputation as Australia's leading independent creative producer in opera. Beyond this capacity to hold space for small and large-scale producing, she also has the capacity to joyfully perform in her projects.

 

Jenna's projects have engaged 973 artists, arts workers and community participants

as well as 8640 audience members across Australia.

 

She was a 2021-2 Australia Council for the Arts Future Leader and a board member for national arts peak body PAC Australia from 2020-2022 advocating for independent artists and producers at the national level. In 2022, Australia Council supported her arts leadership project, Burnout to Rebirth (in collaboration with Joel Carnegie, VIC and Rebecca Kais, WA), exploring regenerative business models for independent creative producers, which saw her host a leadership retreat in 2022 and is now in development as a conference keynote.

Building upon a decade of traditional opera producing in WA, in 2020 she was one of thirty selected globally for the inaugural Beth Morrison Projects Producer Academy (global leaders in contemporary opera producing, New York, USA).

From 2013-2021, Jenna worked on community opera projects in QLD and WA. As well as working with the Festival Directors on the 2019 Queensland Music Festival on outcomes reporting and on their Opera at Jimbour project, that same year she created The Opera Gala for Albany Arts Festival.  Building on an established relationship with community musicians in Albany, and a community-led model of combining visiting artists and community musicians, The Opera Gala was a bespoke operatic gala that also programmed world premieres of a local composer's work.  

 

This led to groundbreaking 2021 project La Traviata in Concert, which proposed new ways of producing grand opera in regional areas to maximise community outcomes.  91% of the 100+ performers in from this grand project were from the local regional community alongside international stars, cited by local musicians as a highlight of their careers.  Watch a short documentary about the project here, produced by Jenna and directed by regional filmmaker Rob Castiglione.

In 2011, Jenna was a founding member of opera company, Operabox, in Perth, WA focused on creating a large-scale experience for the full suite of opera practitioners to hone their craft. OperaBox remains to this day the only opera company in WA (other than the State company), to have consistently produced fully staged grand operas with orchestra.  From 2014, in addition to Chair of the Board and Creative Producer positions, she took a leading role in the Artistic Directorship and financial growth of the company, solidifying OperaBox as “an innovative and professional contributor to the WA opera scene” (Noted, 2016).

 

"Robertson made a significant contribution to supporting emerging singers and broadening the operatic repertoire for WA audiences” Limelight Magazine, 2017

As a creating and performing artist + creative director and producer of new voice-centred works, she leverages her diverse knowledge and vulnerability to shift perceptions and inspire individual action on complex societal issues.  She graduated from the 2017 NIDA Directors Studio (Stage & Film) in Sydney and seeking more creative agency, her creator journey was seeded through being awarded a place in Generate GC (Situate - Art in Festivals) from 2019-2020. Generate GC is a program to support artists to seed new works through creative labs and mentoring from Australia's top independent artists.  She completed the Force Majeure dance theatre making masterclass with Danielle Micich and Ghenoa Gela in Sydney (2020 INCITE Masterclass).

Her creative works either in development and recently completed include sci-fi full dome film, music theatre work Endless Universe, her autobiographical, opera in development Spirit Orphan, her internationally award-winning short film about the making of Spirit Orphanher debut album Unravelling the Voice (release Oct 2023) and her debut original work for 2021 World Science Festival Brisbane, a full dome film autobiographical work, Return to Planet Earth.

An experienced lyric coloratura soprano in opera, Jenna has performed fourteen leading operatic roles (nine of which were proudly self-produced) from 2010-2021.

 

Jenna has performed across WA, NSW and QLD and her repertoire includes the title roles in Massenet's Manon, Donizetti's Anna Bolena and Verdi's La Traviata.  See her Soprano CV, Singing Videos, Stage Gallery and Reviews pages for details.  

Jenna knows the power of creativity to transform self and others. Building on a professional mentoring practice – established in 2019 through demand from artists wanting to work with her - she is now a Certified Life Coach for Creatives + Leaders seeking to bring more of themselves to their work and life. With a consistently full coaching practice and clients worldwide and across sectors, Jenna's presence, coaching and facilitation is heart-opening, otherworldly and transformational. She graduated from the internationally recognised Beautiful You Life Coaching Course in 2022, where she was a finalist for Trainee of the Year. She supports her creative clients and young artists to build their organisational capacity as an Arts Business Consultant supporting Independent Artists and Grassroots Arts Orgs to enable their vision for change. She taught self-producing for the 2022 Brisbane Music Festival Young Artist Program.

As an Artistic Researcher, Jenna is a current part-time Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, where she is researching the intersection of creativity and leadership. She is a popular Arts Critic for The Music Trust and Australian Book Review.

 

Finding her way to trailblazing creativity, leadership and coaching in a completely different way to most, Jenna worked in parallel with her creative practice for a decade internationally as a Chartered Chemical Engineer (Russia, UK, Australia, Netherlands, USA). In this capacity she won prestigious industry level awards (CME Women in Resources WA and Salters Institute UK) and was earmarked for executive leadership. There she developed strength in leading large and complex projects, in public speaking and in group facilitation.  Jenna graduated from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh with an MEng in Chemical Engineering as well as receiving a Music Scholarship for the duration of her studies providing tuition and performance experience in collaboration with Edinburgh University.

To read her soprano performance biography, click here.

(C) May 2023

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