Elaine Chia

Executive Director Adelaide Festival 

Elaine Chia – Executive Director Adelaide Festival

Elaine Chia, whose career spans music, theatre and visual arts, is a passionate advocate for the arts, and commenced at the Adelaide Festival as Executive Director in April.

Elaine’s formal introduction into arts management began with the Australian Youth Orchestra. Elaine’s journey next took her to Belvoir Street Theatre as Business Manager, then to Sydney Conservatorium of Music, The University of Sydney, as Marketing and Development Manager. During this period, she produced tours for Conservatorium ensembles to Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Austria, Germany and New Caledonia.

Elaine moved to Melbourne in 2004 where she took on the role of Acting CEO of the Australian Music Examinations Board, and later, Business and Finance Manager at Heide Museum of Modern Art.


She returned to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2007, to the newly created role of International Development Manager. She established new off-shore programs and tours in Asia, Europe and the United States, securing invitations for the Conservatorium to perform at a pre-Olympic music festival in Beijing during 2008, at the World Expo in Shanghai during 2010, and in London in the lead-up to the 2012 Olympics.

In 2010 Elaine joined the Australia Council for the Arts. As Director, International Signature Projects, she oversaw the Australian representation at three Venice Biennales, and the redevelopment of the new Australian Pavilion in Venice. Both projects were delivered as public-private partnerships.

She joined City Recital Hall in 2016 as the first CEO of the not-for-profit company established to manage and curate an annual cultural program for the 1238-seat venue. During her four years the venue experienced significant growth through the production, presentation and facilitation of a diverse range of performances and events.

Elaine has commenced her role as an Executive Director of the Adelaide Festival in April 2020.

Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Emilie is a former Board member of the Public Transport Ombudsman Board and a and a current Board Member of WIRE. Passionate about social change and a volunteer member of Fitted For Work, a Not For Profit Organisation where she supports transgender women to get a job.