Every January, Sydney Festival starts the new year with a bang, transforming the city with a bold cultural celebration based on critical ideas and cutting-edge art and performance.
More than any other cultural event, Sydney Festival defines Sydney's personality. For over four decades we have presented international artists who guarantee headlines, and whose presence in Sydney adds to the Festival's buzz and prestige, including names like Björk, Brian Wilson, Grace Jones, Manu Chao, Elvis Costello, AR Rahman, Cate Blanchett, Ralph Fiennes, Robert Lepage, The Flaming Lips, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Peter Sellars, Sir Ian McKellen and David Byrne & St. Vincent. Some of the world's great companies – Wayne McGregor's Random Dance, Cheek by Jowl, Gate Theatre and The Wooster Group to name only a few – also share the Festival with the most exciting artists and companies in Australia.
Sydney Festival's audacious contemporary programming positions it at the forefront of arts practice in Australia and up there as one of the most wonderful festivals in the world.
Sydney Festival was originally conceived by the Sydney Committee, the NSW State Government and the City of Sydney with a view to attracting people into the city centre during the holiday month of January.
The first Festival took place in 1977 and it has since grown to become one of Australia's largest annual cultural celebrations with an international reputation for modern, popular and intelligent programming. In many ways it is probably still best understood as a celebration of Sydney, and its style and energy reflect the confidence, diversity and vigour of one of the world's most beautiful cities.
The Festival has a history of presenting Australian premieres, and many of Australia's most memorable productions such as Cloudstreet and Smoke & Mirrors have resulted from Sydney Festival's commitment to nurture local artists.
It has brought many of the world's great artists to Sydney 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); Schaubühne Berlin (Hamlet, Beware of Pity); Netherlands Dance Theatre; James Thiérrée; Philip Glass; Ian McKellen (Dance of Death); Peter Sellars; Batsheva Dance Company; National Theatre of Scotland (Beautiful Burnout, Black Watch, Aalst); Al Green; AR Rahman; Kneehigh Theatre (Tristan & Yseult, The Red Shoes); Wayne McGregor's Random Dance (Entity) and Studio Wayne McGregor (Tree of Codes); Ludger Engels and Vivienne Westwood (Semele Walk); and Fabulous Beast (Rian).
Wesley Enoch is Festival Director 2017–present
Previous directors were:
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
Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, Governor of New South Wales
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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.
Prof. Larissa Behrendt
Distinguished Prof. Larissa Behrendt holds the Chair of Indigenous Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney. Larissa won the 2018 Australian Directors Guild Award for best Direction of a Documentary Feature Film for After the Apology. She also wrote and directed the Walkley-nominated feature documentary Innocence Betrayed. She has written and produced several short films. She is a graduate of UNSW and Harvard Law School.
She has published numerous textbooks on Indigenous legal issues. Larissa won the 2002 David Unaipon Award and a 2005 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for her novel Home. Her second novel, Legacy, won a Victorian Premiers Literary Award. Her most recent book is Finding Eliza: Power and Colonial Storytelling (2016, UQP).
She is a board member of the Sydney Festival and a member of the Major Performing Arts Panel of the Australia Council. Larissa was awarded the 2009 NAIDOC Person of the Year award and 2011 NSW Australian of the Year. She is the host of Speaking Out on the ABC Local Radio and Radio National.
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.
Diana Eilert is a professional non-executive director. She is currently a director of ASX listed companies SuperRetail Group and Navitas as well as Domain and Elders. Diana also has extensive executive experience running large businesses – such as Suncorp’s entire insurance business – as well as recent digital experience gained in her three years with Newscorp, where she was also a director of real-estate.com.au.
Diana has a long-held enthusiasm for the Sydney Festival and in her executive career was one of the major sponsors under the GIO brand.
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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
Phone: (+61) 2 8880 9214
execoffice [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
execoffice [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
execoffice [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
vivia.hickman [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Program Administrator & Associate Producer
rebecca.gribble [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Business Development & Marketing
Head of Business Development and Marketing
alison.dunn [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
aimee.ocampo [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
tiki.menegola [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
tara.harding [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Ticketing Systems Coordinator
sarah.toner [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Graphic Design Manager
anais.taylor [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Senior Corporate Partnership Manager
brooke.ravens [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
amalina.whitaker [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Events and VIP Manager
jane.you [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Head of Philanthropy
marita.supplee [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
julie.crawford [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
georgie.hannam [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Executive Project Coordinator
fiona.jackson [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Work With Us
Sydney Festival is Australia’s leading arts and community festival, with a global reputation as one of the best festivals in the world. It is seeking a Festival Director to be the creative and artistic face of the Festival, bringing a fresh look & new concepts to the Festival; and introducing exciting artists and stimulating acts to the local scene. The role would commence October 2020.
For more info click here. For the detailed role specification, please contact Helen Johnson at Challis & Company, the Executive search and Leadership consulting firm advising the CEO and Board, on +61 2 8039 2223 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications close at 5pm AEDT on Monday, 20 January 2020. Challis & Company is simultaneously conducting an executive search.
Please sign up to our enews or keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to be the first to find out when roles become available.
Faces of Sydfest
Since 2017, Sydney Festival’s artwork has focused on the faces of the Festival: the fans, the artists, the people behind the scenes and the people in the seats at the shows.
For the 2017 brochure we invited Festival fans to send in a self-portrait for the chance to be on the cover; for 2018 we asked Festival fans to get creative with a cover photo that used the Festival’s colours in an unusual, interesting, crafty and creative way. And the 2019 brochure also featured a mix of avid Festival fans, volunteers, artists and creators, all shot by photographer Richard Hedger.
And for 2020 our artwork once again pays tribute to the fans, creators and behind-the-scenes faces of the Festival, shot by Richard Hedger in a double exposure that references the multitude of reactions and emotions Festival shows can inspire in audiences.
Read on below to meet super volunteer Naindeep, playwright Patricia, Auslan interpreter Hayley, actor Aaron and Festival fans Jamie, Marihuzka, Griffin and Frankie: the Faces of Sydney Festival 2020.
Faces of Sydney Festival 2020
Actor Aaron stars in Black Cockatoo at Sydney Festival 2020 and is also one of our cover stars. So apart from Ensemble Theatre production Black Cockatoo, directed by Sydney Festival Director Wesley Enoch and telling the story of the first Australian cricket team to tour England (a group of Indigenous men from country Victoria), what’s Aaron’s other top pick from the 2020 program? “Umm it’d have to be Bran Nue Dae! Facts.”
Festival donor Cheryl has been attending Sydney Festival shows every January for over 15 years, with performances by the Nederlands Dans Theater and 2019 show Deer Woman standing out as the most breathtaking and confronting, respectively. “I usually keep January as free from any commitments as possible, so I can fit in as many shows as appeal to me. It’s part of the joy of Sydney Festival – challenging yourself to experience a wide range of emotions!” Cheryl says.
Four-year-old Festival fan Frankie has been attending Sydney Festival shows for half her life (her parents even got married at the Spiegeltent during the Festival). 2018 circus show Model Citizens and interactive art installation Jurassic Plastic stand out as her top picks from two years of Festival fun.
Year 7 student Griffin has been going to Sydney Festival events since he was a baby, but his all-time favourite was the spontaneous David Bowie Tribute Night outside the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent in 2016. “It was uplifting, I enjoyed celebrating this amazing legend and wished I’d had the chance to see him live,” Griffin says.
Auslan interpreter Haley specialises in interpreting for the d/Deaf Aboriginal community. In 2019, she interpreted for – and loved – Blak Out program shows Biladurang by Joel Bray, The Weekend by Henrietta Baird and Man With The Iron Neck. “Every time I saw [Man With The Iron Neck], I’d get goosebumps as it was nice to see a positive ending,” Haley says. “[And] in Biladurang, I was so nervous when I arrived, but by the end I felt so good, like the rest of the audience, blending in drinking wine, chatting and rocking the night away.”
“Sydney Festival has helped me look at my city with new eyes,” says copywriter and brochure cover star Jamie. “Whether it’s seeing the Town Hall transformed into a Sri Lankan village, a tent made of mirrors in Hyde Park or a lifetime constructed from scratch in Walsh Bay [2019 show Home], it’s been super exciting to rethink what I thought I knew.”
Record label A&R Manager Marihuzka has seen plenty of epic music shows at Sydney Festival over eight years, but the stands outs were “Seeing Sharon Van Etten in the Spiegeltent in 2013… her performance brought me to tears… [And watching] Kitty, Daisy and Lewis play the Spiegeltent in 2011 – seeing the dance floor light up with couples swing dancing was just incredible!”
Sydney Festival super volunteer and team leader Naindeep says, after volunteering for two Festivals, he “feels like the Sydney Festival team is part of [his] family”. Naindeep’s favourite shows have been the big free art installations Jurassic Plastic and Moon Drops, and Mary Lattimore’s unique 2019 performance at the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre.
You may have seen playwright Patricia’s work SHIT at Sydney Festival 2015; at the 2020 Festival she returns as one of the writers of Anthem; but her all-time favourite Festival memory is “seeing the fabulous collective works of Urban Theatre Projects, Home Country [Sydney Festival 2016], in a multi-storey car park in Blacktown.”
Media Releases and Enquiries
Sydney Festival 2020 Media Release
Sydney Festival Announces Partnership with TodayTix
For more information and high-resolution images of Sydney Festival events, contact:
tiki.menegola [at] sydneyfestival.org.au
Please note: media enquiries only.
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 2017–18 Disability Inclusion Action Plan as a PDF or Word document.
Reconciliation Action Plan
Sydney Festival's vision for reconciliation is to formally and informally engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and communities, and to positively contribute to closing the gap between Indigenous and other Australians.
The Festival will do this by committing to four key areas:
• respecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and cultures
• offering employment opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
• offering development and presentation opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and arts workers
• building cultural awareness and understanding among our staff, stakeholders and audiences of the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories
We have a vision to be the most sustainable major performing arts festival in Australia.To read our full vision of sustainability, download the PDF here.
Sydney Festival wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for our incredible volunteers who generous donate their time, passion and enthusiasm. Applications to join the 2020 volunteer team are open now. Find out more on our volunteer page.
Sustainability at Sydney Festival
We have a vision to be the most sustainable major performing arts festival in Australia.
For several years we have been working towards making Sydney Festival a more sustainable event, with both big wins and big challenges. For example, we no longer offer disposable plastic water bottles – instead we give artists and staff reusable metal water bottles.
Offsetting our carbon footprint remains a large task, however the 2020 Festival sees us take another serious step towards fully understanding our impact, and identifying ways to minimise our impact and maximise the positive environmental, social and economic legacies of Sydney Festival.
Meeting our vision
With an estimated audience of 450 000, over 50 venues with performances by over 800 artists from Australia and abroad, the impact of resource consumption, waste creation, transportation, and greenhouse gas emissions is considerable.
In collaboration with our artists, venues, suppliers, staff, crew, volunteers and, importantly, with our audience together we can meaningfully reduce our resource consumption, waste creation, and our greenhouse gas emissions, so that together we meet our vision for a truly Sustainable Sydney Festival.
We will be enlisting your help to reduce our impact because; we believe that together we really can make a difference.
To read our full vision of sustainability, download the PDF here.
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