In the 1970s Douglas Gautier AM embarked on his creative arts career, first stop, Flinders University. “It was an exciting time at Flinders where creative leadership was evident under the great Professor of Drama, Wal Cherry,” says Douglas.
Douglas’ favourite educator at Flinders was history lecturer James Main. “He opened up connections for us between culture and history,” says Douglas. “His view was that one needed to look at the paintings, novels and music of a period to really understand a particular event in history.”
Graduating from Flinders with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in 1975, Douglas joined the South Australian Theatre Company as trainee director and actor. After a stint at the BBC’s music and arts department in London, Douglas spent 25 years in Hong Kong where he first worked as head of music and arts for Radio Television Hong Kong.
After a period in Sydney as Head of Concert Music for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Douglas returned to Hong Kong to work in private sector media, as Deputy Managing Director of Metro Broadcast then as Director of Corporate Affairs for Newscorp’s Star TV. Later he took up the role of Deputy Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival. Douglas was also founding Vice-Chairman of the Asian Arts Festival Association and a board member of the Asian Cultural Council (Rockefeller Foundation).
Now the CEO and Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival Centre, Douglas’ career in the arts has been driven by a ‘never give up’ philosophy. Since joining South Australia’s principal arts venue in 2006 Douglas has revitalised the Centre with a focus on programming to increasing audiences, including the launch of the Adelaide International Guitar Festival and OzAsia Festival.
“My time at Flinders prepared me for life, it matured me,” says Douglas. “It gave me a strong sense of ambition for what I currently do and the projects I have been involved in.”
A respected cultural leader across Asia Pacific, Douglas is Chair of Association of Asia Pacific Performing Arts Centres, Director of the Asia Pacific Centre for Arts and Cultural Leadership, a member of the Australia-Singapore Arts Group, an Executive Councillor of Live Performance Australia, and a member of the Global Cultural Districts Network advisory board.
Throughout his career, Douglas’ ties with Flinders have remained strong. In 2006 he was received a Flinders University Distinguished Alumni Award and since 2012 he has been a member of the Flinders University Council. A continuing advocate for the University, he says, “Flinders University has creative arts in its DNA – it should always be a leader in this field.”
In 2016, Douglas was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the arts and the community.