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 performing artists from Australia and New Zealand 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 an important part in the establishment of theatre and the performing arts in Australia. Sir Frank, the youngest of the Tait brothers, carried the firm J. C. Williamson's into its most successful years dominated by the Sutherland-Williamson opera company in 1965 which brought Dame Joan Sutherland back to her homeland.
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 musicians and classical ballet performing artists from Australia and New Zealand, and general help in the furtherance of their careers while resident in the UK.
The TMT was 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 soprano known as Viola Wilson, 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". In May 2017 the Trust formally announced funding of young artists from New Zealand.
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, Barry Humphries AO CBE, Piers Lane AO, June Mendoza AO OBE, Ermes de Zan
Trustees Justin Baring, Isla Baring OAM, Anne Longdon, Matthew Phillips,John Rendall, Susie Thornton
Committee Fay Curtin, Meredith Daneman, Jan Gowrie-Smith, Wendy Kramer, Gayle McDermott, Patricia Nimmo, Margaret Rodgers, Barbara Ross, Ann Seddon, Jacqueline Thompson, Rosemary Tuck
Honorary Member Nicola Downer AM
Music Board Dr Helen Ayres, Isla Baring OAM, Jessica Cottis, Jayson Gillham, Deborah Humble, Belinda McFarlane, Anthony Roden, Katrina Sheppeard,
Ballet Board Leanne Benjamin AM OBE, Isla Baring OAM, Meredith Daneman
Administrator James Hancock
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.
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 2014 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, leading opera companies and major international ballet companies, 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, Derek Welton, Leslie John Flanagan, Jayson Gillham, Morgan Pearse, Julian Gavin, Joanna Cole and Kevin Penkin.
Dame Joan Alston Sutherland, was an Australian dramatic coloratura soprano known for her contribution to the renaissance of the bel canto repertoire from the late 1950s through to the 1980s.
Georgette Lizette Withers, CBE, AO, known professionally as Googie Withers, was an English entertainer who was a dancer and actress with a lengthy career spanning some nine decades in theatre, film, and television. She was a well-known actress and star of British films during the Second World War and postwar years.
Richard Alan Bonynge is an Australian conductor and pianist. He is the widower of Australian dramatic coloratura soprano Dame Joan Sutherland. Bonynge conducted virtually all of Sutherland's operatic performances from 1962 until her retirement in 1990.
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John Neil McCallum, was an Australian theatre and film actor, highly successful in the United Kingdom. He was also a television producer.
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Margaret Ada Sutherland was an Australian composer, among the best-known female musicians her country has produced.
John Preston Amis was a British broadcaster, classical music critic, music administrator, and writer. He was a frequent contributor for The Guardian and to BBC radio and television music programming.
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Hector William Crawford CBE AO was an Australian entrepreneur, conductor and media mogul, best known for his radio and television production firms. He and his sister Dorothy Crawford founded Crawford Productions, which was responsible for many iconic programs and initiated the careers of a number of notable Australian actors and entertainers. His influence on the Australian entertainment industry was immense and enduring, and one obituary described him as "one of the best-known and most respected names in the history of Australian entertainment".
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The State Government of Tasmania in Australia established the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women in 2005 to recognise Tasmanian women who have been distinguished in their contributions to the State. In 2021 Martine Delaney became the first openly transgender woman into the Honour Roll.
Frank Samuel Tait often referred to as F. S. Tait, was an Australian theatre entrepreneur, managing director of J. C. Williamson's. He was the youngest of five Tait brothers, well known in Australia as show-business entrepreneurs and managers.