Tait Memorial Trust

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The Tait Memorial Trust [TMT] is a charitable foundation, first established in the United Kingdom, with the chief purpose of providing financial support to outstanding young Australian performing artists who wish to pursue post-graduate studies in leading performing arts institutions or privately with internationally recognised teachers in the United Kingdom. It also offers performance opportunities in their many concerts and events in London and advice and mentoring to awardees. The TMT was founded by Isla Baring OAM in memory of her father, Sir Frank Tait and his brothers, who played such an important part in the establishment of theatre and the performing arts in Australia. Sir Frank Tait's management, who being the youngest of the Tait brothers, carried the firm JC Williamson's into their most successful years dominated by the Sutherland-Williamson opera company in 1965 which brought Dame Joan Sutherland back to her homeland.[1]

At inception, the TMT's activities were based in the UK, reflecting a historical tradition of strong institutional links between Australian music academies and British institutions such as the Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. The Trust offers awards/grants for postgraduate study, performance opportunities to young Australian musicians and classical ballet performing artists, and general help in the furtherance of their careers while resident in the UK.


The TMT was initially established in 1992, in the United Kingdom, the founding patrons being Dame Joan Sutherland AC OM DBE Viola, Lady Tait AM, John McCallum AO CBE and Googie Withers AO CBE. Isla’s mother, the singer Viola Tait, inspired her to organise a fundraising concert in support of a young Australian singer, Liane Keegan, who was newly arrived in London. From that beginning the TMT has grown to become one of the leading supporters of Australian artists in the UK

In 2011 an Australian Trust to support the work of the TMT was created under the name of "The Tait Performing Arts Association".


The Tait Memorial Trust[edit]

Chairman Isla Baring OAM,

Founding Patrons Dame Joan Sutherland AC OM DBE, Viola, Lady Tait AM, John McCallum AO CBE, Googie Withers AO CBE

Patrons Leanne Benjamin AM OBE, Danielle de Niese, John Frost AM, Julian Gavin, The Dowager Countess of Harewood, Barry Humphries AO CBE, Piers Lane AO, June Mendoza AO OBE, Ermes de Zan

Trustees Justin Baring, Isla Baring OAM, Shirley Barr, Anne Longdon, Susie Thornton

Committee Fay Curtin, Jan Gowrie-Smith, Caroline Hamilton, Ros Higgins, Wendy Kramer, Dr Margaret Mayston AM, Alice McCahey, Gayle McDermott, Sue McGregor Patricia Nimmo, John Rendall, Margaret Rodgers, Ann Seddon, Jacqueline Thompson, Rosemary Tuck

Friends Development Alice McCahey

Honorary Member Nicola Downer AM

Music Board Dr Helen Ayres Caroline Almonte Isla Baring OAM Jessica Cottis Julian Gavin Jayson Gillham Dr Leslie Howard Deborah Humble Liane Keegan Cameron Menzies Anthony Roden Katrina Sheppeard Chad Vindin

Executive Director James Hancock

Registered charity 1042797

Principal Partner[edit]

The Tait Memorial Trust announced its new partnership with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The Commonwealth Bank is corporate partner of some of Australia’s leading arts organisations.Their partnerships with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Bangarra Dance Theatre and Opera Australia, aim to make the arts more accessible to all Australians. The partnership with the Tait Memorial Trust is a further demonstration of the Bank’s commitment to enabling the progress of talented Australian artists, by supporting them as they pursue their careers in the United Kingdom.

Commonwealth Bank's sponsorship of the Tait Memorial Trust was announced at Australia House, London, Tuesday 14 October 2014[2]

The Leanne Benjamin Awards[edit]

The Tait Memorial Trust in collaboration with Leanne Benjamin OBE launched new ballet awards for young Australian dancers studying in the UK. The proceeds from the first event at The Royal Ballet School on Thursday 12 June 2014 were added to this scholarship fund. Australian students at the school including Sophie Moffatt, Josephine Frick, Kiely Groenewegen, Grace Robinson, Harry Churches, Connor Barlow (English National Ballet School) and Kenji Wilkie performed for an audience which included Lady Sainsbury and Sir Peter Wright. The evening ended with a masterclass given by Leanne Benjamin.[3]

The first recipient, Josephine Frick, was presented with a cheque for £8,000 at a Tait Friends event at Australia House on Tuesday 14 October as a contribution to her fees at The Royal Ballet School


The Trust has helped many young singers and instrumentalists who have subsequently performed with British orchestras and in leading opera houses, including Thomas Rann, Daniel de Borah, Mary-Jean O'Doherty, Li-Wei, Amy Dickson, Elena Xanthoudakis, Valda Wilson, Yelian He, Lauren Fagan, Alexandra Hutton, Phoebe Humphreys, Siobhan Stagg, Kelly Lovelady, Simon Lobelson, Helena Dix, Miranda Keys, Liane Keegan, Benjamin Bayl, William Chen, Natalie Christie, James Hancock, Grant Doyle, Kelly Lovelady, Melbourne Chamber Strings, Melbourne Piano Trio, Leslie John Flanagan, Jayson Gillham, Morgan Pearse, Julian Gavin and Joanna Cole.[4]


External Sources[edit]

Tait Memorial Trust Homepage Charity Commission listing for the Tait Memorial Trust