Vale Frank Van Straten AM


The National Board and management were saddened to learn of the passing of Frank Van Straten on Friday 19 April 2024.
UK born Frank Van Straten was a performing arts historian and passionate supporter of The National. His book National Treasure – The Story of Gertrude Johnson and the National Theatre movement was published by Victoria Press in 1994 and tells the definitive story of the history of The National Theatre Movement, which eventually became The National, Melbourne as we know it today.
Frank was a valued Board Director of The National for 16 years from 1994 to 2009; during this time he oversaw the movement of the Drama School to accreditation, he advocated to funding bodies for essential infrastructure projects such as disability access, and was instrumental in cataloguing the company’s archives ahead of their donation to the Performing Arts Museum.
For 15 years Frank presented ABC Radio’s Nostalgia Show and in 2007 was appointed Live Performance Australia’s Official Historian. Frank was a patron of the Cinema and Theatre Historical Society (Victoria) and the John Truscott Design Foundation Inc. He also served on the judging panels of the Green Room and Helpmann Awards.
Frank was made a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to performing arts heritage and conservation as a theatre historian, as an author, and to the broadcast media.
In recognition of his outstanding service to the Australia performing arts and entertainment industry, Frank was awarded a 2017 Centenary Sue Nattrass Award by Live Performance Australia.
On behalf of the board, management, staff and students of The National we extend our heartfelt sympathies to his family and friends. Frank is survived by his partner of 50 years Adrian Turley.