Adelaide Festival announces new co-directorship for 2017

“Growing up in Adelaide, the performances and artists presented at the Adelaide Festival revealed new and complex worlds to me, human behaviour at its most vile and its most generous; a richness of ideas both abstract and immediately relevant,” says incoming co-director Rachel Healy.

The Adelaide Festival of Arts has announced this morning two new Artistic Directors for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Festivals. Neil Armfield AO and Rachel Healy will take the reins together when they begin their tenure as Co-Artistic Directors in 2017. During the 2016 Festival, they will shadow out-going Artistic Director David Sefton in his fourth and final run. The announcement this morning was made by Minister for Arts Jack Snelling, who says the co-directorship is “a coup for Adelaide”. “I am sure the arts community not just here in Adelaide but across the country and internationally will welcome their appointment as artistic directors to one of the world’s major celebrations of the arts.” Adelaide-born Healy began her career with Melbourne’s acclaimed Belvoir Street Theare, before becoming Director of Performing Arts at the Sydney Opera House. Recently, she was the Executive Manager of Culture for the City of Sydney, where she opened discussion and consultation on live music. Armfield was Artistic Director of Belvoir for 17 years – working with Healy for 10 of these. He has recently been awarded a 10th Helpmann Award, and has presented works at Adelaide Festivals gone by. Healy is relishing the chance to return to the city she left 20 years ago and contribute to its growth. “The city has changed since I left in 1994 and the festival’s frequency and environment has also evolved, but what hasn’t changed is the Adelaide Festival’s uncompromising standards and commitment to transformative arts experiences. Quite simply, it is home to the greatest artists in the world presenting their most resonant and energising work in a city almost customised in its size and character to allow a full immersion in the event. It is an extraordinary privilege to be part of its future.” Her relationship with the city gives her tenure a unique perspective, which will be measured against Armfield’s outside view. “Adelaide is the perfect city for this cultural feast and its festival remains amongst the finest in the world,” says Armfield. “Growing up in Adelaide, the performances and artists presented at the Adelaide Festival revealed new and complex worlds to me, human behaviour at its most vile and its most generous; a richness of ideas both abstract and immediately relevant,” says Healy. “The accumulation of those theatre experiences shaped my life in many ways, not least of which has been through a career dedicated to supporting artists and enlarging the cultural capital of cities. Iconic cultural events like the Adelaide Festival prove the catalytic impact the arts can have on the social, economic and intellectual confidence of a generation.” The two directors, who have a strong history of important, strident work for the Australian arts and a long-established working relationship, bode well for Adelaide Festival’s healthy future.

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