Festival Director

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


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