Living and working on the traditional lands of the Eora nation, Melanie Penicka-Smith is an experienced, versatile, passionate Event Manager, with over 20 years’ experience, including as a Producer, Production and Stage Manager, and International Tour Manager
With her wife Dr Sarah Penicka-Smith, she runs Penicka-Smith Arts & Event Management, a Sydney-based company offering concert and event management services to local and international arts touring organisations.
In 2018, through Penicka-Smith Arts & Event Management, Melanie worked as the Production and Stage Manager for an international choral festival featuring Maestro Craig Hella Johnson. The 5-day festival, with a 2 day pre-festival extension to Cairns, included 5 concerts in iconic Sydney locations and culminated in 500 singers from around the world performing in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.
Along with Sarah, they founded Pacific Pride Choir (PPC), an Australian based LGBTQI+ touring choir, created to contribute to the visibility and acceptance of LGBTQI+ people in countries where homosexuality is legalised, but not fully recognised. With PPC, she has extensive experience planning and executing bespoke choral and cross-cultural experiences and with Sarah co-led two international choir tours with to Europe and South East Asia.
As a freelance stage and event manager, Mel worked at the Royal Agricultural Society, stage managed a Legs on the Wall production of Trestle at the Casula Powerhouse and in 2022 undertook a four month contract role as Orchestra Manager for Willoughby Symphony Orchestra.
Her stage management opera production credits include Purcell’s The Fairy Queen (Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir, 2009) Krasa’s Brundibar (City Recital Hall, 2014), Menotti’s The Medium (Experiment Farm Cottage, 2015).
She regularly works as a Stage Manager for River City Voices, Parramatta's flagship symphonic choir. And is currently working as a Rehearsal Manager for Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.
To continue her passion for theatre and stage, Mel has returned to TAFE to study Certificate III in Live Production and Technical Services.
SKILLS & EXPERIENCE
Event Management | Risk Management Planning & Assessment | Production Management | Event Management Documentation | Venue Liaison
Concert Production | Chamber Opera Production | Choral Event Consultancy
Menotti - The Medium (Opera Prometheus, 2015)
Cummins - Timor* (Opera Prometheus, 2015)
Leon - Monsoon* (Opera Prometheus, 2015)
Krasa - Brundibar (Joseph Toltz/Opera Prometheus, 2014)
Campra - Tancrede (Opera Prometheus, 2013)
Glass - Akhnaten (Ondine Productions, 2013)
Cummins - Anacreontea Antipodean* (Opera Prometheus, 2011)
Purcell - The Fairy Queen (Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir, 2009)
* = world premiere
EDUCATION & TRAINING
Statement of Attainment in Undertaking Projects and Managing Risk
TAFE Digital Campus (2020)
Diploma of Events
Sydney Institute of TAFE (2012)
Diploma in Business (Marketing), majoring in Event Management
APM Training Institute, St Leonards, Sydney (2004)
Bachelor of Arts & Diploma of Education
Macquarie University, Sydney (1984-87)
Header Photo: courtesy of Diversity Choir, Hanoi, Vietnam
Photo: Penny Ryan, Penny Ryan Photography