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A message from RANSW CEO, Elizabeth Rogers in response to sad news from Arts Upper Hunter

It is with great sadness that everyone at RANSW and the RADO network digested the news of the sudden and unexpected passing of our friend and colleague, Mark Reedman. He will be sorely missed not only in the Upper Hunter, where he was the RADO for nearly a decade, but across the broader NSW arts community. Our sympathy goes out to his friends and family, particularly those from Adelaide, his home town.

Mark preferred the job title RADO, not the revised one of Executive Director, as he was a hands on and passionate supporter of community arts, with a deep connection to the many towns and villages in the Arts Upper Hunter region that he served from June, 2011.

Mark graduated from Flinders University in Adelaide with a Bachelor of Arts and Diploma in Education and worked as an English and Drama teacher in secondary schools for the SA Department of Education until 1980.

Combining his training in education with his passion for theatre, he held a number of roles in youth and community theatre companies in South Australia for the next decade, including Junction Theatre Company and the Bowden Brompton Youth Circus (Cirkidz).

In 1993 he moved to Newcastle to work for Tantrum Theatre (previously 2 TIL 5 Youth Theatre) where he worked for ten years, firstly as the Associate Director then the Artistic Director before moving to Singleton to take up the role of Youth Programs Coordinator for Singleton Council, a role he held for over three years. In addition to his work with young people in the community, he was involved in the planning, construction and management of the new Singleton Youth Venue, ensuring that it was fit for purpose for theatre productions!

Mark commenced working in the RADO network at Easter Riverina Arts in Wagga Wagga in June 2008.  This was an extremely challenging role and it is to his credit that he was able to transform an underperforming organization into a financial stable one.  Sadly, this experience took its toll and he resigned from the leadership position to take on a supporting role as Communications and Project Officer.

In June 2011 he moved back to the Hunter to take up the position as RADO for Arts Upper Hunter and successfully led the organisation until his untimely death.  His interest in young people and theatre expanded to include all aspects of the performing arts. He developed additional projects to engage young people in dance and music. He used the connections he had from his previous work in this region to deliver workshops and performance opportunities, to establish partnerships and develop skills for artists from all walks of life. He was also active in developing projects to support those living with a disability. He championed all those wanting to express their creativity in any medium.

Mark had a large presence and a wonderful booming voice. Not a man to suffer fools gladly, and loathing pretentiousness of any sort, he was kindness personified, always ready to offer a helping hand to those who needed it.  He was imaginative, innovative and empathetic. His final legacy is a wonderful series of podcasts, created during the COVID 19 lockdown last year, where he is ‘In Conversation’ with a diverse range of artists from his region.