Posts Tagged ‘artistic director

18
Dec
18

Louise Bezzina to Lead Brisbane Festival as Artistic Director

 

Brisbane Festival announces Louise Bezzina as Artistic Director

 

Brisbane Festival has announced Louise Bezzina as the incoming Artistic Director for a four-year term. Her first festival will be presented in 2020. Bezzina is the creator and inaugural Artistic Director of Bleach* Festival; the Gold Coast’s Festival. Relocating to the Gold Coast from Brisbane in 2011, Bezzina created Bleach* Festival and built it from a pilot project to a major annual event that has reached almost 1million people since inception. 2019 will be her 8th and final Bleach* Festival, having led the organisation through the Commonwealth Games as part of the Creative Lead Team for Festival 2018 and establishing Bleach* as one of Australia’s leading site-specific contemporary arts festivals.

 

 

For Bleach*, Bezzina has commissioned more than 50 new works, from major outdoor spectacles to intimate dance and theatre productions from local, national and international artists. In 2018, four Bleach* Festival commissions were nominated for Helpmann Awards, with TIDE by Gold Coast dance theatre company The Farm winning Best Visual or Physical Theatre Production. Bezzina also co-produced the inaugural Opera on the Beach by Opera Australia and is one of the curators of sitespecific immersive arts experience Hotelling; a groundbreaking cultural tourism initiative of the City of Gold Coast. Bezzina was listed as one of 11 inspiring women of the Commonwealth Games on International Women’s Day in 2018 and has won several awards for her contribution to arts and culture in Queensland. She recently completed the Australia Council for the Arts’ Arts Leaders Program. Prior to Bleach* Festival, Bezzina held a number of high-profile roles in Brisbane, including Program Manager for the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts; Producer at Brisbane Festival, including Producer for the opening of the cultural precinct (GoMA, QPAC and State Library of Queensland); and Director of the Mackay Festival of Arts. Brisbane Festival Chair, Paul Spiro, praised Bezzina’s commitment to the cultural sector in Queensland and said her extensive festival experience and broad international connections made her an ideal candidate for the coveted role.

 

 

“After a competitive international search, the Board of Brisbane Festival is incredibly excited to appoint exemplary cultural leader Louise Bezzina to role of Artistic Director to guide Brisbane Festival future development alongside CEO Charlie Cush,” Mr Spiro said. “Having known and admired Louise as Bleach* Festival’s creator and Artistic Director, I’m delighted that she will be our next Artistic Director.

 

“Louise’s deep understanding of festivals, her curatorial rigour and vision for the future of Brisbane Festival made her an irresistible choice,” Mr Spiro said. “Brisbane Festival celebrates and reinforces Brisbane’s international cultural reputation and I look forward to Louise being part of Brisbane Festival’s ongoing development and change.” Bezzina said she looked forward to returning to the Brisbane Festival team following Bleach* Festival in May 2019. “The combination of Brisbane’s rich history, its contemporary dynamism and future ambitions offers a great thematic foundation for a festival and its artistic program,” Bezzina said. “The responsibility of an Artistic Director is to find the unique gems, welcome all citizens and, most importantly, turn the city ‘on’ during festival season. “Our job is to inspire audiences with new ideas and experiences that leave life-long impressions,” Bezzina said.

 

 

“As Artistic Director, I will showcase what characterises Brisbane, celebrating its wonderful artists, delivering a strong Indigenous program as well as curating a bold international program that makes sense for the city, ensuring it is loved by all of Brisbane.” Arts Minister Leeanne Enoch thanked outgoing artistic director David Berthold for his many achievements and welcomed the appointment of Louise Bezzina. “Louise has done an extraordinary job leading Bleach* Festival, helping to shape the Gold Coast event into one of the state’s leading multi-arts festivals,” Minister Enoch said.

 

“She will bring to the Brisbane Festival her passion for creating unforgettable arts experiences and a commitment to showcasing Queensland artists.” Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said. Bezzina takes over from David Berthold, whose fifth and final festival will take place in September 2019. Brisbane Festival Chair, Paul Spiro, paid tribute to Berthold’s contribution to Brisbane Festival during his tenure as Artistic Director. “Queensland audiences have benefitted from the extraordinary vision of David Berthold,” Mr Spiro said. “Over the past five years, the festivals that he curated have confirmed his status as a truly international festival director, able to connect with audiences of all ages, tastes and sensibilities. “He has brought unseen and unforgettable worlds to Brisbane for which we are deeply grateful,” Mr Spiro said.

 

The Spirit of Churaki

 

The Spirit of Churaki will be seen next at Woodford Folk Festival December 28 & 29

 

22
Sep
15

Queensland Theatre Company Welcomes New Artistic Director, Sam Strong

 

QTC Welcomes New Artistic Director, Sam Strong

 

samstrong

 

A week after unveiling a much anticipated Season 2016 anchored by an important world premiere and a mainstage program featuring tales of change, Queensland Theatre Company (QTC) has announced their new Artistic Director will be one of Australia’s leading theatre directors and arts leaders, Sam Strong.

 

Sam has been the Associate Artistic Director of Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) since 2013 and is also currently Chair of Brisbane-based Circa. At MTC, Sam has directed multiple sold-out productions, reached a paid audience of over 145,000 people and directed the mainstage theatrical debuts of visual artist Callum Morton and screen comedy legends Working Dog. To say the team at QTC is excited is an understatement.

 

“After a national search we are absolutely delighted to be welcoming Sam Strong to lead this company artistically,” said QTC Executive Director, Sue Donnelly.  “Sam has carved out a stellar career in Sydney and Melbourne, making critically and commercially successful theatre as a director, and growing the audiences at Griffin Theatre company as artistic director,” Ms Donnelly said.

 

QTC Chair Richard Fotheringham said audiences were set for a rich adventure ahead. “On the back of launching our Season 2016 program last week which stars 10 powerful productions as well as another incredibly strong touring program nationally, we can now celebrate the appointment of Sam Strong; what a wonderful future QTC audiences can look forward to,”Mr Fotheringham said.

 

Ms Donnelly paid tribute to outgoing Artistic Director Wesley Enoch who departs to take up the baton at Sydney Festival. “Wesley Enoch introduced a new era of passion to QTC; a champion of local and Indigenous productions.  He has launched world and Australian premieres and shone the light on important actors, directors and causes. His work with Black Diggers was inspirational, and he was pivotal in bringing Michael Attenborough to Australia to direct Macbeth 18 months ago. The importance of his legacy at QTC cannot be quantified and we look forward to many collaborations with him in the future,” Ms Donnelly said.

 

On his appointment, Sam Strong said: “I’m delighted to be taking on the challenge of Artistic Director of the Queensland Theatre Company. Wesley Enoch is an artist and a cultural leader I admire and it’s a rare gift to inherit a company in as great a shape – artistically and operationally – as QTC.”

 

“I’m excited about working with Sue Donnelly and the team to take the company to even greater heights. QTC is already a national leader in touring, Indigenous programming and working with young people. I want to grow this reputation and make QTC a national leader in everything it does,” Mr Strong said.

 

On moving to Queensland, Strong said Queensland represented a wealth of creative talent, one which he was thrilled to be working with. “My time with Circa has whetted my appetite to work in Queensland and with Queensland artists and I can’t wait to plunge myself into the Brisbane scene. I’m looking forward to teaming up with Queensland artists to take our theatre around the state, around the nation and around the world,” Mr Strong  said.

 

Prior to MTC, Sam was Artistic Director of Australia’s new writing theatre, Griffin Theatre Company. At Griffin, Sam tripled subscribers, expanded the program to include the revival of Australian classics, and directed the highest selling show in the company’s 35-year history. Prior to Griffin, he was the Literary Associate at Company B Belvoir, and the dramaturg in residence at Red Stitch Actors Theatre, where he co-founded Red Stitch Writers.

 

Sam won Best Direction of a Mainstage Production for The Floating World at the 2013 Sydney Theatre Awards, and has received multiple nominations for Best Direction at the Sydney Theatre Awards, the Greenroom Awards, and the Helpmann Awards.

 

He has directed many of Australia’s leading actors including Justine Clarke, Lucy Durack, Colin Friels, Noni Hazlehurst, Asher Keddie, Lachy Hulme, Robyn Nevin, Josh McConville, Luke Mullins, Pamela Rabe, Kat Stewart, Erik Thomson, Hugo Weaving, and David Wenham.

 

Sam’s directing credits include: Masquerade (Sydney Festival/Griffin/STSA/Melbourne Festival); The Weir, Endgame, The Sublime, The Speechmaker, Private Lives, The Crucible, Other Desert Cities and Madagascar (Melbourne Theatre Company); Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Sydney Theatre Company); The Boys (Sydney Festival/Griffin); The Floating World,  Between Two Waves, And No More Shall We Part and Speaking in Tongues (Griffin); The Power of Yes (Company B Belvoir); Red Sky Morning, Faces in the Crowd (Red Stitch) and Thom Pain (based on nothing) (B Sharp).

 

Sam joins QTC from November this year.

 

 

 

samstrong_samcoward_2008

Sam Strong & Sam Coward 2008

 

 

12
May
14

Congrats Chris Kohn – La Boite’s new AD & CEO

 

Exciting news! I know, I’m late to it because I’m trying to stay off social media when I can. Bahahaha! Well, like I said, I’m trying. (I’ll let you know how this is going in my review of Machina). La Boite announced the appointment of Chris Kohn as their new AD & CEO at 8:41am this morning so naturally, I’m feeling a little behind the eight ball! Apparently, contrary to what I’ve told Sam, I DO need to get up and check the news feeds first!

 

Chris Kohn. Image by Dylan Evans.

 

The Chair of La Boite Theatre Company, Professor Paul Makeham, announces that Chris Kohn will succeed David Berthold as the company’s new Artistic Director and CEO.

 

Chris Kohn is highly respected nationally as a cultural leader, and he brings an extensive professional network to the role. He has an excellent track record both as an artistic director and sector leader. He was the selection panel’s unanimous choice.

 

Mr Kohn has previously been Artistic Director of acclaimed Melbourne-based Arena Theatre Company; and he was co-founder and Artistic Director of leading independent company Stuck Pigs Squealing. Under his directorship, Stuck Pigs Squealing received six Green Room awards, four Fringe Festival awards and two New York International Fringe Festival Awards.

 

Mr Kohn has also been recognised with numerous industry awards and nominations including: a number of Green Room Awards for Direction and Writing; an Ian Potter Cultural Trust Fellowship; the George Fairfax Memorial Award, a State Library of Victoria Creative Fellowship; and the Sidney Myer Fellowship.

 

Mr Kohn moved to Brisbane n 2012 to take up the role of Queensland’s Theatre Diversity Associate, a position created by the Australia Council which has enabled him to establish strong local relationships, particularly with La Boite, Queensland Theatre Company, Metro Arts and BEMAC.

 

Mr Kohn said he is honoured to lead a company such as La Boite which has always embraced reinvention throughout its almost 90 year history.

 

“I am absolutely thrilled to be presented the opportunity to lead one of Australia’s most dynamic and nationally significant theatre companies. La Boite is a company with a unique and adventurous audience, committed staff and deeply invested supporters. It is a particular privilege to be building on David Berthold’s work to cement La Boite’s place in the national arts landscape.”

 

Mr Kohn will commence as Artistic Director and CEO at La Boite in late May.

 

 

In 2012, Chris Kohn told Directions (National guide to tertiary education n the arts) about the drawbacks of working in the Performing Arts.

 

 

“The money is bad. Building a career is hard, as there are not always clear pathways. Often your success or failure is dictated by other people’s decisions, like whether you get funding for a project or whether you are asked to work at a particular theatre. And that can be dictated by a range of factors, including change in programming staff, fashion, luck.”

 

 

Lucky for us, Kohn’s pathway led to La Boite Theatre Co. Congrats, Mister! Now, who will we see step into the role of Theatre Diversity Associate (no, don’t apply yet; note the date on the PDF!)

 

See what’s on at La Boite

 

30
Jul
12

Brisbane Arts Theatre Welcomes New Artistic Director

BAT’s new Artistic Director is inspired by a love of theatre, and a departed friend.

Brisbane actor and director, Ron Kelly, has been appointed Artistic Director for the Brisbane Arts Theatre, ahead of its 2013 season.

A stalwart of Brisbane’s theatre scene, and with experience in film and television, Ron brings a renewed sense of energy to Brisbane’s longest-running community theatre.

“This place is the lifeblood of our city’s theatrical community,” said Ron. “There’s a line of great theatrical institutions from QUT and La Boite at Kelvin Grove, to QTC and QPAC at Southbank. The BAT sits right in the middle of that line in Petrie Terrace. We’re a vital part of this city’s cultural heart, and I want to promote that.”

Ron also cites dedicated BAT member Jo Peirce – who passed away in 2011 – as another inspiration. “She died while I was touring overseas,” Ron says. “I’d had to turn down an opportunity to work with her in the last play she directed, and that regret has stayed with me. The memory of Jo inspired me to re-examine the role community theatre has played in my life and to look closer into the Arts Theatre that Jo loved so much. She believed wholeheartedly in the healing, transformative power of theatre, and I want to pay tribute to that.”

‘Since 1936, the Arts has been a place where ordinary people can live out a dream, confront fears, overcome personal barriers and express themselves in ways they can’t in their everyday lives. Literally thousands of people’s lives have been changed and enhanced by their involvement with the theatre. We need to remove the negative stigma from amateur and community theatre. Amateur essentially means ‘for the love of’. Community theatre is theatre by the community, for the community. I don’t see the problem. I’m here to inject my own energy into the theatre and ensure the productions we mount are of the highest possible quality and that those who step upon our stage are given guidance and help with building skills, not only for the stage, but skills that can be used in the normal course of their day. That’s exciting and worth celebrating.

Ron says his plans for 2013 include giving those passionate members more development and opportunities to refine their craft, with guest directors and performers. “I’m also investigating a number of partnerships with other theatre companies and educational institutions that will see more cross-pollination of talent,” he said. “The BAT is a great working theatre – you’re going to see it work a lot more!”

Outgoing Artistic Director John Boyce has welcomed his successor, and believes that “Brisbane Arts Theatre has been providing the people of Brisbane with affordable, quality live entertainment since 1936, and we’re on a good path,” he said. “It will be great to see Ron come in with his own ideas to inspire and energise our community, and engage with the broader arts landscape in Brisbane.”

Ron Kelly