David McAllister, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet since 2001, was one of six leaders honoured at the 2019 Creative Partnerships Awards in Melbourne last night for their work expanding philanthropy and business partnerships with the arts.

David McAllister at the Creative Partnerships Awards. Photograph © Sarah Walker

McAllister won the Arts Leadership Award for championing both philanthropic and corporate support for The Australian Ballet, notably his leadership in increasing donor engagement and overseeing The Australian Ballet’s hugely successful corporate relationship with Principle Partner Telstra, now in its 35th year.

“One always feels a bit of a charlatan taking an award like this on behalf of oneself, because it really is the organisation that is the winner of this award not me,” McAllister tells Limelight.

“[Philanthropy and sponsorship] has become such an important part of our whole business structure. It’s interesting because it’s always been there, since the beginning of the company, but really in the last 15 or so years it’s really grown to become a huge part of the revenue of the organisation,” he says.

In 2018, The Australian Ballet Group’s consolidated result was a surplus of $7.9 million despite a performance deficit of...