CEO / CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Dr Andrea (Ande) Lemon is the Co-Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Kids Thrive, Victoria’s leading arts and community development organisation committed to child-led community change.
Andrea is at heart a story-maker and director in her roles as playwright, theatre director and community cultural development artist, working with communities throughout Australia, and touring professional productions through Australia, Britain, Europe and the US; and as an ethnographer, historian, dramaturge, curator and author.
Her talent to write and direct stories is what drives the creation and success of Kids Thrive as a ‘new cultural work’ being written and directed in the creative gaps of hybrid, cross-sector, co-design space. She has built Kids Thrive from an initial, disruptive concept to a resilient, innovative and robust organisation. She leads Kids Thrive as a creative strategist, bringing together people, ideas and approaches from the arts, health, social welfare, education, community development, philanthropy and social justice sectors to find new solutions for old problems.
Andrea has been a freelance Writer, Director and Dramaturge developing and touring award-winning performance projects across Australia and internationally. She was Artistic Director of Melbourne’s Women’s Circus – for women who identify as survivors of sexual abuse or assault. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Centenary Federation Medal for Services to Society through her contribution to the Arts; Third Sector Board Director of the Year Award (Finalist 2017); VicHealth Improving Mental Wellbeing Award (Kids Thrive 2017); NAB Schools First – Schools and Community Partnerships Awards (2014 and 2015); plus gold and silver awards from the Australian Writers’ Guild (Theatre and Film), Victorian Green Room (Theatre) and Edinburgh Fringe (performance).
She was recipient of a multi-year Australia Council Senior Artist Fellowship; and nominated for the University of Melbourne Chancellor’s Award for her doctoral thesis: Tough as Buggery – Traditional Australian Circus, Community and Belonging. Her research, including oral histories and photographic portraits with elderly circus performers throughout Australia, formed the basis for a major exhibition, The Circus Diaries at The Arts Centre, Melbourne.