About Us



ASPAH is led by a national executive committee of up to 11 individuals who are passionate about the importance of
high-quality healthcare for performing artists. Their expertise and experience encompasses diverse fields. The committee includes healthcare professionals, pedagogues, researchers, and performing artists.

Executive Committee Office Bearers

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Dr Melanie Fuller


Louise Drysdale


Dr Paul Duff


Executive Committee Members

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Julia Barry


Dr Alison Evans


Linda Gamblin


Grace Marshall


Sarah Victoria


Suzanne Wijsman


Grace Williams


Dr Bronwen Ackermann



“The vitality of the arts and culture of any society is threatened by those forces that disable its artists.”

Tom Hall, 1987 (letter written to the Medical Journal of Australia)

In November 2006, ASPAH was formed in response to those forces described in the quote above. Its members comprise a broad range of individuals who work as, or have worked with, performing artists at many levels, and who share a passion and common belief in their health and wellbeing.
We are here because:

 The performing arts are a key part of the cultural, financial and day-to-day life of Australia and Australians.

 “Making a living” remains challenging for many performing arts organisations and most performing artists.

 These challenges and pressures can leave little room for health and wellbeing in the day-to-day life of performing artists.

 The healthcare system in Australia remains largely ignorant of the unique health needs of these performers.

We recognise that the health of the performing artist and the quality of their art are inextricably linked. At the same time we understand that the still culturally embedded perspective that artists may need to “suffer for their art” means that, often, wellbeing and artistry are treated as if they are unrelated.

In its broadest sense, then, ASPAH’s aim is to change this culture so that the health and wellbeing of performing artists is treated with the same importance as their craft; not just for the sake of the artists themselves but also for the richness their “health supported” performances bring to us all.


Our Mission Statement

ASPAH recognises that all performing artists, young and old, amateur and professional, have unique needs that may not be met by standard models of healthcare.

Therefore it promotes:

 Accessible high-quality holistic healthcare for all performing artists;

 Education for health workers, teachers, performers and students to improve health and wellbeing;

 Research across disciplines relevant to the health and wellbeing of performing artists;

 A culture of lifelong preventative healthcare and safety practices for performing artists and performing arts institutions;

 Multidisciplinary discourse among health professionals, educators and performing artists;

 Increased community awareness of performing arts healthcare issues.

Our Vision Statement

ASPAH will serve nationally and internationally as the peak body in Australia for the promotion of holistic healthcare for all in the performing arts industry.


 Instrumentalists and vocalists from all musical styles and traditions

 Dancers: Ballet, contemporary, commercial, musical theatre and independent artists

 Actors: Stage, television and film

 Circus and physical theatre performers

 Technical crews


Definition of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

Diversity, equity, and inclusion refers to organisational frameworks that seek to promote “the fair treatment and full participation of all people”, particularly groups “who have historically been underrepresented or subject to discrimination” on the basis of identity or disability.

At ASPAH (Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare), a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace is one where all employees and volunteers, whatever their gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation or identity, education or disability, feels valued and respected. We are committed to a nondiscriminatory approach and provide equal opportunity for employment and advancement in all of our departments, programs, and worksites. We respect and value diverse life experiences and heritages and ensure that all voices are valued and heard.

We are committed to modelling diversity and inclusion for the entire arts industry of the nonprofit sector, and to maintaining an inclusive environment with equitable treatment for all.

To provide informed, authentic leadership for cultural equity, ASPAH strives to:

  • See diversity, inclusion, and equity as connected to our mission and critical to ensure the well-being of our staff and the arts communities we serve.
  • Acknowledge and dismantle any inequities within our policies, systems, programs, and services, and continually update and report organisation progress.
  • Explore potential underlying, unquestioned assumptions that interfere with inclusiveness.
  • Advocate for and support board-level thinking about how systemic inequities impact our organisation’s work, and how best to address that in a way that is consistent with our mission.
  • Help to challenge assumptions about what it takes to be a strong leader at our organisation, and who is well-positioned to provide leadership.
  • Practice and encourage transparent communication in all interactions.
  • Commit time and resources to expand more diverse leadership within our board, staff, committee, and advisory bodies.
  • Lead with respect and tolerance. We expect all employees to embrace this notion and to express it in workplace interactions and through everyday practices.

ASPAH abides by the following action items to help promote diversity and inclusion in our workplace:

  • Pursue cultural competency throughout our organisation by creating substantive learning opportunities and formal, transparent policies.
  • Generate and aggregate quantitative and qualitative research related to equity to make incremental, measurable progress toward the visibility of our diversity, inclusion, and equity efforts. Once the content is curated it will be added to our website so others can access.
  • Improve our cultural leadership pipeline by creating and supporting programs and policies that foster leadership that reflects the diversity of Australian society.
  • Pool resources and expand offerings for underrepresented constituents by connecting with other arts organisations committed to diversity and inclusion efforts.
  • Develop and present sessions on diversity, inclusion, and equity to provide information and resources internally, and to members, the community, and the arts industry.
  • Develop a system for being more intentional and conscious of bias during the hiring, promoting, or evaluating process. Train all committee members on equitable practices.
  • Include a salary range with all public job descriptions.
  • Advocate for public and private-sector policy that promotes diversity, inclusion, and equity. Challenge systems and policies that create inequity, oppression and disparity.


Following are links to associated websites, including organisations that support the work of ASPAH, performing arts medicine organisations around the world, and performing arts medicine journals. These external links will help you find more information and resources on performing arts health issues.

Please Contact Us to report broken links.


ASPAH would particularly like to thank the following organisations for their support: