Beryl Davis

  • Obituary: Beryl Davis OAM


    Beryl Davis OAM, 28 December 1948–10 June 2023

    exeunt beryl davis 03Beryl Davis OAM, 2005Beryl Davis is recognised nationally for establishing Queensland’s Performing Arts Museum (QPAM) at Queensland Performing Arts Centre. QPAM is one of a network of museums and collections including Australian Performing Arts Collection, Arts Centre Melbourne, Performing Arts Collection of South Australia, Adelaide Festival Centre, and Museum of Performing Arts, His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth.

    Beryl joined Queensland Performing Arts Centre in 1984 her brief being to create an inspiring foyer exhibition program as part of the Centre’s opening celebrations in 1985. Her inaugural project Diaghilev’s Designers showcased Ballet Russes costumes from National Gallery of Australia.

    Further exhibitions followed including A Slap-Up Treat: Travelling Shakespeare in Australia, 2006, Mary and Me: Mary Poppins and Her Creator P.L. Travers, 2011, La Stupenda & Friends, 2012 and Page to Stage: Costume Design for Performance, 2013.

    The Museum had begun collecting in 1985 under Beryl’s leadership and today it numbers in excess of 80,000 items documenting Queensland’s performing arts history. Beryl was excited and proud to acquire costumes from the auction of the Collection of Dame Joan Sutherland in 1995 from the Australian tour of Lucia Di Lammermoor and La Traviata,1965.

    All of this work was achieved by Beryl with a small team of two. Collaborating with designer and curator Christopher Smith, the pair achieved miracles. Initially working within foyers of the Centre, the exhibition program flourished when it moved into the Tony Gould Gallery in theatrically designed environments.

    Beryl played an active role in the sector especially associated with the establishment of the Performing Arts Special Interest Group (now known as Performing Arts Heritage Network) of Australian Museums and Galleries Association.

    A wonderful colleague and friend Beryl will be missed by the performing arts and museums sector in which she played a pivotal role.

    In 2005 Beryl was awarded an OAM for service to the arts, particularly through the establishment and management of the Queensland Performing Arts Museum.