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The foundation was born out of a genuine desire to nurture aspiring performing artists. These artists are our future performing arts professionals and audience members and will play an important part in Australian cultural life.


We provide financial and other support to selected organisations and individuals however we are not grant makers and primarily deal with entities that have been approved by the relevant authorities as gift recipients.


VCA Music Theatre Award:


An annual award of $25,000 is offered in conjunction with the Victorian College of the Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts (Music Theatre) Degree and is the largest award of its kind in Australia.

Graduating students are assessed by a judging panel on the basis of exceptional talent and/or potential,

application and approach to course studies, capability and dedication to aspire to a significant performing career and a positive contribution to the spirit of ensemble learning and performance.

The award incorporates an international travel segment to enable the recipient to travel overseas to undertake further studies, participate in master classes and gain performance experience. It may also be used to fund the development or production of new work or in other ways deemed appropriate.


An additional Industry Award of $5,000 for travel to New York or London plus spending money, or any other way deemed appropriate, is presented to a student selected by an Industry Panel on the day of judging for having produced an outstanding audition.


Master classes and Performances:



We provide students with the opportunity for additional performance projects to enable them to put their skills into practice and funding to enable them to produce a recording as part of their graduating portfolio.


Students are also provided with the opportunity for additional masterclasses and to experience major theatrical productions.

Nordling Award for Music Theatre:

The foundation facilitates the payment of this award in honour of Ron's late relatives, 

Josephine and Jan Eric Nordling. The award provides support to high-achieving students studying a

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Music Theatre) Degree as they overcome disadvantage in order to pursue their creative endeavors.

Melbourne Cabaret Festival:


The foundation is a major sponsorship partner of the Festival.

For more information go to


Ron Dobell is also the Chair of the Festival.

Arts Centre Melbourne:

Ron and Margaret Dobell, are active supporters of the Arts Centre Melbourne as principal patrons, members of the Presidents Club and participants in their bequest programme. The foundation is especially interested in the Arts Centre's involvement with emerging artists and the development of future audiences.

Mental Health:


The foundation is also delighted to support the Arts Centre's Wellbeing Collective which brings together professionals providing resources and services that support positive mental health for people working in the performing arts.


​​In line with our commitment to the Fringe and Cabaret Festivals, the foundation has specifically supported the development of a programme to assist  festival organisers, workers and performers. 

Cabaret Scholarship:

We have joined with internationally acclaimed avant garde cabaret creators Finucane & Smith to create the Dobell Foundation Cabaret Scholarship. This offers an artist in residence opportunity for a unique emerging cabaret artist selected in consultation with the VCA and Finucane & Smith.


A tailored programme will be created each year but will always include exposure to performances, exposure and exchange with diverse and extraordinary artists, mentoring and guidance across key areas such as marketing, promotion, audience development, funding and artistic integrity. It will also include opportunities to perform and create work.


Melbourne Fringe and Cabaret Festival Grants:


The opportunity exists, exclusively for alumni who are producing and performing new work at the Melbourne Fringe or Cabaret Festivals, to be considered for a special grant.


All VCA Music Theatre alumni producing and performing new work for the the Festivals will be considered by a panel and the selected recipients will receive a cash grant to assist with getting their work off the ground. 


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