The Adelaide Festival Board announced that Rob Brookman and his son Torben Brookman will assume the roles of Adelaide Festival’s Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director respectively, replacing interim CEO Sandy Verschoor.
The Brookmans will work alongside co-Artistic Directors Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy, whose most recent iteration of Adelaide Festival has been lauded as a critical and commercial success, from May this year.
The father and son pair are both highly accomplished arts administrators in their own right. Rob has been intimately involved in the Adelaide arts scene for decades, having worked as the Adelaide Festival’s Artistic Director in 1992 when he founded WOMADelaide, while Torben has been Producer at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and the Commercial Projects Manager for Adelaide Festival Centre.
Rob was recently the Executive Director of the State Theatre Company of South Australia, and was expected to retire after leaving the group. He had worked alongside Armfield on Adelaide Festival’s performance of The Secret River, and described it as “a gigantic bookend” for himself in a column on the performance for The Adelaide Review.
“This is the best kind of Groundhog Day for me,” said Brookman in a release. “I could not be happier to return to my first great love affair with the arts in company with Torben, Neil and Rachel.”
Adelaide Festival Chair Judy Potter said in the release that the Brookmans’ appointments were “a coup”.
“The Adelaide Festival Board is absolutely delighted to have secured the unique and dynamic team of Rob and Torben Brookman to work alongside Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy to build upon the outstanding success of the 2017 Festival over the coming years,” she said.
The announcement marks the end of Sandy Verschoor’s interim role as CEO of the Festival after Karen Bryant left the position in 2016. Verschoor had previously been Windmill Theatre’s General Manager and Producer, and an Area Councillor and General Manager of Culture and Community Services for Adelaide City Council.
Verschoor said she is “absolutely delighted to hand over the reins to Rob and Torben”, describing the opportunity to work with the “prestigious and internationally acclaimed organisation” as a “privilege”.