About Sydney Festival
Each January, Sydney Festival presents bold and memorable experiences that ignite, unite, and excite the city of Sydney.
More than any other cultural event, Sydney Festival reflects Sydney’s personality, while audacious contemporary programming positions it at the forefront of arts practice in Australia and as one of the most wonderful arts festivals in the world.
The Festival of Sydney, as it was known in its inaugural year of 1977, was conceived by the Sydney Committee, the NSW State Government and the City of Sydney to attract Sydneysiders into the city centre during the holiday month of January.
It has since grown to become one of Australia's largest annual cultural celebrations with an international reputation for modern, popular and intelligent programming. Sydney Festival celebrates our city, and the Festival’s style and energy reflect the confidence, diversity and vigour of one of the world's most beautiful cities.
The Festival has a rich history of bringing the world’s best artists and companies to Sydney stages, and showcasing and nurturing the best of Australia’s homegrown talent.
Many of Australia’s most memorable productions have resulted from Sydney Festival commissions and premieres, including highlights from Cloudstreet (1998) to Black Chicks Talking (2003), Three Furies (2005), uniquely Australian musical The Adventures of Snugglepot & Cuddlepie and Little Ragged Blossom (2007), the outrageous cabaret Smoke and Mirrors (2010), The Secret River (2013), Black Diggers (2014), contemporary circus ensemble Circa’s Humans (2017), multi-award-winner Counting and Cracking (2019) and BLACK TIES (2020).
The buzz of Sydney in January wouldn’t be the same without Festival appearances from major Australian musicians, performers and comedians including Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Archie Roach, Ruby Hunter, Gotye, Regurgitator, Emma Donovan, Tex Perkins, Megan Washington, Meow Meow, Christa Hughes, Yana Alana and Celia Pacquola.
World-leading artists and companies that have shared work with Sydney Festival audiences in recent years include Lars Jan and Early Morning Opera’s Joan Didion’s The White Album, performance artist Bryrony Kimmings’ I’m A Phoenix, Bitch, and choral choir Tenebrae (2020); Schaubühne Berlin and Complicité’s Beware of Pity, Ethiopian legend Mulatu Astatke, Neneh Cherry, and American artist Nick Cave’s epic exhibition UNTIL (2019); Wayne McGregor, Olafur Eliasson and Jamie xx’s ballet collaboration Tree of Codes, National Theatre’s Barber Shop Chronicles, The Wooster Group’s The Town Hall Affair, Pussy Riot Theatre’s RIOT DAYS, and DryWrite and Soho Theatre’s hit Fleabag (2018); Complicité’s The Encounter, Cheek By Jowl with Pushkin Theatre’s Measure For Measure (2017); James Thierry’s Tabac Rouge (2015); Sasha Waltz’s underwater dance opera Dido and Aeneas (2014); and Ludger Engels and Vivienne Westwood’s Baroque-punk Semele Walk (2013), to name but a few.
These works join a long roster and legacy of extraordinary work and artists including: Ariane Mnouchkine and Thèâtre du Soleil (Flood Drummers); Robert Wilson (The Black Rider); Robert Lepage (Far Side of the Moon, The Andersen Project, Lipsynch); Nederlands Dans Theater; Philip Glass; Ian McKellen (Dance of Death); Batsheva Dance Company; National Theatre of Scotland (Beautiful Burnout, Black Watch, Aalst); Al Green; Chaka Khan; Andrew Weatherall; AR Rahman; Angélique Kidjo; Kneehigh Theatre (Tristan & Yseult, The Red Shoes); and Fabulous Beast (Rian).
For more information on Sydney Festival down the years, visit our archive.
Olivia Ansell was announced as the new Festival Director for 2022 by the Sydney Festival Board of Directors in June 2020.
Olivia, a highly accomplished arts professional with over two decades’ experience as a director, choreographer and performing artist, commenced her three-year tenure in November 2020. She comes to the role after two and a half years as Head of Contemporary Performance at Sydney Opera House.
Voted one of Vivid Sydney’s Top 100 Creative Catalysts, Olivia possesses a vast breadth of art experience, including roles as co-Executive Producer and creative force behind the hugely-popular immersive experience Hidden Sydney; Artistic Director of Sydney Comedy Festival at Sydney Town Hall; Curator of Kings Bloody Cross for Vivid Ideas; producer of Richard Walley OAM and Nigel Jamieson’s large-scale concert spectacular, HOME for Perth International Arts Festival; Consultant Executive Producer for OzAsia Festival Adelaide; and inaugural Executive Producer of Shaun Parker & Company. She is also a lecturer in Movement for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s Con Opera School.
Since 2017, Olivia has curated and championed a diverse range of maverick storytellers to the Sydney Opera House stage, including Lucy Moss and Toby Marlow’s cult musical SIX; Hofesh Shechter’s critically acclaimed Grand Finale; Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights; A O Lang Pho by Cirque Nouveau du Vietnam; Natalia Osipova and David Hallberg’s Pure Dance and Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby’s hit show, Douglas.
The full announcement can be read here.
Previous directors were:
Wesley Enoch AM 2017–2021
Lieven Bertels: 2013–2016
Lindy Hume: 2010–2012
Fergus Linehan: 2006–2009
Brett Sheehy: 2002–2005
Leo Schofield: 1998–2001
Anthony Steel: 1995–1997
Stephen Hall: 1977–1994
Board of Directors
Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales
David Kirk MBE – Chair
Co-Founder and Managing Partner
Bailador Investment Management
David is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Bailador Investment Management and Chairman of listed companies Bailador Technology Investments, Trade Me and Kathmandu. Prior to this, he was Chief Executive Officer of Fairfax Media. His previous experience also includes a period as an advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. He is currently the Chairman of Trustees of Sydney Grammar School and sits on a number of other Boards and charitable organisations.
David enjoyed a highly successful rugby career and captained the All Blacks to win the World Cup in 1987. He was awarded an MBE in 1987 and now lives in Sydney with his wife and three sons.
Andrew Cameron AM
Andrew has served on the boards of the Biennale of Sydney, Belvoir, SCAF, ACCA, and Melbourne Art Fair and Foundation. He was Deputy Commissioner for Australia’s presentation at the Venice Biennale, is currently Chair of the Foundation at Art Gallery of New South Wales, Chair of Artspace, and is a member of the International Council of the Tate in London – as well as sitting on the Tate Asia-Pacific Advisory Committee.
He holds the position of Executive Chairman for a group of private businesses and has had previous careers in architecture and merchant banking. In addition, Andrew was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2014 for significant services to the performing and visual arts.
Paddy is a member of the Global Board overseeing the PwC international network and chairs its Risk & Operations Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Partners of PwC Australia and chairs its Finance & Operations Committee. She has over 25 years' financial experience with PwC in the UK and Australia advising a broad range of clients with a focus on retail, consumer, hospitality and agribusiness. She is also a Trustee of the Historic Houses Trust of NSW (Sydney Living Museums) and a member of Chief Executive Women.
Angela Clark began her career as an investment analyst before joining global outdoor advertising leader JCDecaux as Managing Director of the Australian division, launching the company’s operations across four states. In 2003, Angela joined Macquarie Radio Network as CEO, leading the business to a listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2005. After five years, Angela left Macquarie Radio Network to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities, founding a number of digital media start-ups before joining ABC in 2011 as Director, Innovation and then as Director, Digital Network.
Angela is currently the CEO of Beem It, a payments fintech founded by three banks, and was previously Executive General Manager of Small Business at the Commonwealth Bank. Angela has a held Directorships across multiple arts, media and sporting organisations and holds a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University.
Since joining Blackfella Films in 2000 Darren has produced many award-winning factual productions for SBS including the landmark multi-platform history series First Australians, feature documentaries The Tall Man, Deep Water - The Real Story and In My Own Words, two seasons of the Logie Award-winning First Contact, plus the series DNA Nation, How ‘Mad’ Are You? and two seasons of Filthy Rich and Homeless.
In collaboration with acclaimed UK writer Jimmy McGovern, Darren has also produced, with Miranda Dear, two series and a telemovie of the Logie Award and AACTA Award-winning Redfern Now for ABC1. He also produced with Miranda Dear the telemovie Mabo, commissioned by the ABC to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the landmark High Court decision, and the crime drama Deep Water for SBS.
He was Executive Producer on the Logie and AACTA Award winning teen drama series Ready for This for ABC3.
Darren currently serves on the board of the Sydney Film Festival and was previously on the board of Screen NSW and the Council of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS). In 2012 he was the recipient of the prestigious AFTRS Honorary Degree.
Kate has enjoyed a career in media, public policy and cultural leadership. She held senior executive roles in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in both corporate and content areas, including five years as Director of ABC Radio. She has also held several senior government roles including Deputy Secretary Arts & Culture in NSW and most recently Executive Director of Performing Arts at the Sydney Opera House. Kate is a mentor for emerging and established leaders, working both independently and with McCarthy Mentoring. Kate is Deputy Chair of the Board of Australia for UNHCR and chairs its Leadership and Nominations Committee. She also currently serves on the NSW Multi Arts and Festivals Board.
Kate has previously served on other boards including the Australian Film, Radio and Television School where she also chaired the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee. She is a Vincent Fairfax Fellow (Centre for Ethical Leadership, University of Melbourne), holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications (Charles Sturt University) and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Dr Robert Lang
Dr Robert Lang is a leader in city building, community engagement, strategic urban planning, economic development, creating great public places, transport infrastructure, place management, arts, tourism and energy.
He has extensive experience in the public service, gained within a combination of state & local government businesses.
He has a long involvement in the arts, theatre production and direction, music creation and performance, training young people in the performing arts, delivering arts to western Sydney audiences and significant experience in outdoor events.
He has a focus on place making and place development and bringing together the drivers for making great cities. He has a keen interest in the potential of western Sydney to provide business growth & economic development opportunities and the goal of making Sydney a livable city with more jobs closer to home.
As a former CEO for Parramatta City Council he understands local government, knows how to develop a compelling vision for the city and deliver major new city property & infrastructure developments. He brought major new events to Parramatta, implemented a new place-making focus and initiated the Western Sydney Light Rail project.
Dr Lang has a number of interests in the not for profit sector including disability services, affordable housing, education and the arts.
Australian writer and broadcaster
He’s the author of the memoir The Family Law (2010), the travel book Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012) and the Quarterly Essay Moral Panic 101 (2017). He’s the editor of the anthology Growing Up Queer in Australia (2019) and creator and co-writer of three seasons of the award-winning SBS TV series The Family Law, based on his memoir. He has a PhD in creative writing and cultural studies from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
In 2019, he was named one of the Asian-Australian Leadership Summit’s (AALS) 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australians (winning the Arts, Culture & Sport category) and one of Harper’s Bazaar’s Visionary Men.
Every week, Benjamin co-hosts ABC RN’s weekly national pop culture show Stop Everything. He also co-hosts online startup and tech TV show That Startup Show, and you can catch him on TV shows like Q&A (ABC), The Drum (ABC), The Project (Ten), Filthy Rich and Homeless (SBS) and the ABC’s two-part ABC feature documentary on Chinese-Australian history, Waltzing the Dragon. He has also written for over 50 publications in Australia and beyond including the Monthly, Frankie, Good Weekend, the Guardian, the Australian, Monocle and the Australian Financial Review.
He also co-wrote the comedy book Shit Asian Mothers Say (2014) with his sister Michelle, and the sex/relationships advice book Law School (2017) with his mum Jenny. He was also a researcher and associate producer on Blackfella Films’ Deep Water: The Real Story (SBS) and a writer on Endemol Shine’s Sisters (Netflix/Ten). His debut play Torch the Place (Melbourne Theatre Company) runs February–March 2020.
Benjamin is based in Sydney. He is a Plan Australia ambassador and Story Factory board member.
Catriona Noble GAICD
MD Retail Distribution, ANZ Banking Corporation
Catriona has led significant growth and major restructures at some of Australia’s largest organisations. Considered a true champion of the customer, her strategic vision and business acumen has reshaped the customer experience at the ANZ Bank and McDonalds, resulting in increased customer base, profitability and market share. A leader who strives to be a positive catalyst for change, with a track record in all areas of business operations, combining strategic thinking with a commitment to high performance and a highly disciplined ‘get it done’ approach to execution. Her ability to challenge traditional thinking and innovate core processes has delivered significant business performance and cultural improvements across the banking sector and FMCG.
During her time with ANZ Catriona was responsible for key Retail Distribution channels to customers including the Australian Branch Network. Catriona led a team of more than 6,000 people, also spending time as an executive sponsor for several key institutional banking clients and on the board of ANZ Global Services & Operations (Manila).
At McDonald’s she held the role of Chief Restaurant Officer, Asia, Pacific, Middle East and Africa based in Singapore. In this role she was responsible for more than 10,000 restaurants and 200,000 people. Previously, Catriona was CEO and Managing Director for McDonald’s Australia and Chair of RMHC (Ronald McDonald House Charities) for approximately five years.
She is a member of the CEW, a non executive board member for the Sydney Festival, REST superannuation trustee, Guroo Porducer (EdTech) and SouthCloud (a telco/internet start up), previously iinet non executive board, on the Advisory Board UTS Business School and an OzHarvest volunteer & CEO advisor
Catriona has completed the AMP (Advanced Management Programme) at INSEAD business school, Fontainebleau, MGSM (Macquarie Graduate School of Manangement) Strategy & Business, MIT Boston Digital Business Transformation Programme and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
She is an enthusiastic supporter of the arts across all mediums. She is especially passionate about the growth of access and support of the arts beyond major city centres.
If you have any feedback we'd love to hear from you.
Sydney Festival Office Details
Level 5, 10 Hickson Road
The Rocks NSW 2000
Phone: (+61) 2 8248 6500
Fax: (+61) 2 8248 6599
Ticketing and box office inquiries
execoffice [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
execoffice [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
execoffice [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Head of Programming Operations
ellen.kavanagh [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Producer – Major Events
steph.kamasz [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Producer – Music
chris.twite [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Producer – Theatre and Dance
nick.beech [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
rebecca.gribble [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Creative Artist in Residence
jake.nash [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
aimee.ocampo [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Graphic Design Manager
anais.taylor [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Digital Marketing Manager
alex.wain [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Ticketing and Customer Service
Customer Service Director
tara.harding [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Ticketing Systems Coordinator
sarah.toner [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
amalina.whitaker [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Events & VIP Manager
jane.you [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Head of Philanthropy
marita.supplee [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
fiona.jackson [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Head of Production
john.bayley [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
alycia.bangma [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
blake.smith [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
fernando.motti [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Finance and Operations
Head of Finance and Administration
dimitri.cachia [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Finance & Administration Manager
jennifer.stallard [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Accounts and Payroll Officer
julie.crawford [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
courtney.lewis [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
thomas.hamilton [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Work With Us
Each January, Sydney Festival presents bold and memorable experiences that ignite, unite, and excite the city of Sydney. We are proud of our long history of commissioning and presenting inspiring and ground-breaking new Australian art. Sydney Festival defines Sydney’s personality, while audacious contemporary programming positions it at the forefront of arts practice in Australia and as one of the most wonderful arts festivals in the world.
Sydney Festival is embarking on a range of initiatives which make it an extremely attractive place to work. Your contribution will be valued and input sought in a consultative and creative workplace.
Please sign up to our enews or keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to be the first to find out when new roles become available.
Media Releases and Enquiries
Sydney Festival 2021 Program Launch
New Festival Director for 2022-24 Announced
Festival Director Wesley Enoch awarded Order of Australia
For more information and high-resolution images of Sydney Festival events, contact:
Please note: media enquiries only.
Accessible and Inclusive
We welcome all visitors to Sydney Festival events and make every effort to ensure the program is accessible to our whole audience.
We would like to thank the members of the Sydney Festival Access and Inclusion Advisory Panel for their expert advice and advocacy:
Disability Inclusion Action Plan
The Sydney Festival Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) supports the Festival's commitment to welcome everyone in Sydney, regardless of accessibility needs, and provides our organisation with strategic direction in addressing accessibility issues.
Download a copy of the 2019–20 Disability Inclusion Action Plan as a PDF or Word document.
Get In Touch
Your feedback helps us continue to improve our access program and services. Please get in touch with us on 02 8248 6500 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries or suggestions regarding accessibility at Sydney Festival.
Acknowledgement of Country
Sydney Festival acknowledges the 29 clans of the Eora Nation, the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Festival takes place.
We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities.
If you'd like to unsubscribe from Sydney Festival's e-mails, online advertising, or physical mail lists, feel free to e-mail us any time at email@example.com specifying what communication you would like to stop receiving.