The Black Arm Band Company


Lou Bennett – Artistic Director, composer, vocal supervisor and performer

Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung (Australian Indigenous) performer Lou Bennett is a former member of the internationally acclaimed trio Tiddas. Lou is a consummate performer, playing audiences worldwide.  Lou is a prolific songwriter/composer and during her ten years with Tiddas she penned some of the groups signature songs.

For the past ten years Lou has been involved in the theatre industry, working as an Assistant Musical Director, Composer, Actor and Soundscape Designer.

A selection of projects by Lou Bennett:

  • Magpie (Melbourne Workers Theatre 2000)
  • Conversations with the Dead (Ilbijerri Theatre, Playbox, La Mama 2001)
  • Yanagai! Yanagai! (Melbourne Workers Theatre, Playbox 2003)
  • The Sapphires (Melbourne Theatre Company 2004)
  • Show Us Your Tiddas (Melbourne Workers Theatre, 2007)
  • Artistic Director of the Boites 2009 Millennium Chorus, Our Home Our Land, performed in August.

Lou is currently the Artistic Director and of The Black Arm Band Company, who in 2008 toured nationally to Sydney Festival, Perth Festival, Womadelaide, Brisbane Festival and Cherbourg community and internationally to The Lift Festival in London and WOMAD UK.

Lou has been instrumental in the journey of The Black Arm Band Company becoming an independent company.

Lou is in the process of writing the fourth production of The Black Arm Band Company, Mamiaith-Mother Tongue, which is a collaborative work between artists of the company and Welsh band 9Bach in association with the British Council and will be presented this year in London as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad in the BT River of Music Festival.

Steven Richardson – Founder,  Executive Producer

Steven is the founder and a creative and driving force behind Black Arm Band.

He founded Black Arm Band in 2006 after being inspired by a conversation with the late Ruby Hunter in 2004 and as its inaugural Artistic Director conceived, directed and produced Black Arm Bands’ first three major productions murundak, Hidden Republic and dirtsong and has facilitated major touring projects to Canada, the UK and USA and to every major Australian festival.

As a director, curator and producer Steven has a broad experience in the arts spanning more than twenty years in a variety of artistic, producing and programming roles.

Most recently he was Artistic Associate for 2010 and 2011 Melbourne Festivals where he conceived and directed major projects including Seven Songs to Leave Behind and Notes From the Hard Road and Beyond concerts at Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

As founding Artistic Director he established Arts House – A City of Melbourne contemporary arts initiative – in early 2006 as a presentation context of international significance and over six years programmed,  conceived and produced many ground breaking initiatives and projects including Dance Massive – Australia’s contemporary dance platform, Culture Lab creative development program and Black Arm Band.

His other previous positions include programming at the Victorian Arts Centre as Director of Contemporary Music Events, Artistic Director of Big West Festival, Executive Producer for Next Wave Festival and Artistic Director for Eureka 150 –Diversity, Dissent, Democracy in 2004. He holds a Fine Arts degree in visual arts and also studied dance at Victorian College of the Arts before working professionally as a dancer with Dance Works and Dance Exchange. Steven joined Circus Oz in 1987 and toured with the company locally and internationally until 1991. He has served on many advisory boards and committees and was recently Deputy Chair of the Dance Board of the Australia Council for the Arts for five years.

Steven is also highly sought after as a researcher, critical thinker and writer having conducted strategic reviews and written reports and feasibility studies for all tiers of Government, applying critical analysis to many issues facing festivals, arts companies and artists.

Steven has an abiding passionate interest in the nexus between global sustainability and the arts and remains convinced of the transformative power of art.