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About us

#Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Brisbane.

We believe that a Festival should be festive and celebrate the personality of its city.

We are Brisbane’s most anticipated event of the year, bringing people together as they awake from their winter slumber for an explosion of arts performances and experiences.

Brisbane Festival is unlike anything else you can experience in the world. We redefine what an International Arts Festival looks and feels like, staying ahead of the game and bringing the next generation with us.

The river and iconic city landmarks are our stage as we create the art that enlivens, delights and disrupts. The curated multi-arts program presents a bold international program transporting our audience beyond the everyday through captivating performances and installations from across the world. We participate in global conversations. Brisbane is a city with boundless ambition, and the program celebrates this through collaborations, commissions and presentations.

We are deeply committed to making the impossible possible for our audiences and our artists. Brisbane Festival is an important time of the year when our artists are pushed beyond the horizon to make the work of their dreams come to life. We inspire audiences with new ideas and experiences that leave life-long impressions. We are at the heart of integrating arts and culture as a vital part of Brisbane’s future, creating an unwavering demand for this wonderful Festival.

Brisbane Festival acknowledges this country’s First Nations people and with their leadership and guidance, we celebrate that deep cultural legacy. We create a rich multi-arts program made by and with our local Indigenous community.

As our city landscape changes and undergoes unprecedented growth, we move forward with gusto, determination, authenticity and excitement. Brisbane Festival is seizing the moment and heralding a new beginning.

This is Brisbane Festival 2020-2023.

#Acknowledgement of Country

Brisbane Festival expresses its respect for and acknowledgement of the Brisbane Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of country, including the custodial neighbouring communities on whose land works are created, performed and celebrated by Brisbane Festival. We acknowledge the continuing connection to land, waters and communities. We also pay our respects to Elders, past and emerging.

We recognise the integral role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to play in the creative and artistic events and celebration spaces. Brisbane Festival and the Indigenous Advisory Group will meaningfully engage, embrace culture and commit to a progressive future together.

#History

#Brisbane Festival emerged from The Warana Festival, which had been running since 1961.

Warana’s theme was ‘entertainment for the people, by the people’, and included a drama festival and eisteddfod, a writers' week, a George Street Colonial Fair, a Miss Warana Pageant and various religious, sporting and other outdoors activities.

It was a much loved festival, but the city had aspirations for something more sophisticated after the 1988 Expo, and by the mid-1990s it was clear that the city needed a new approach. In 1996, the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council created Brisbane Festival as a biennial arts festival with an aim ‘to foster the arts’.

At around the same time, in 1998, Riverfestival was created by Brisbane City Council as an annual, 10-day event held each September. It was a ‘river-based celebration combined with community engagement’. It had a broad cultural focus incorporating art, environmental science and sport underpinned by a strong sustainability message. It utilised many of the city's outdoor public spaces close to the river, and included signature events such as the International Riversymposium as part of a key goal to raise environmental awareness, and Riverfire, a popular fireworks display.

In 2009, Brisbane Festival and RiverFestival were combined through a Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council initiative into one large annual international arts festival. The iconic Riverfire now marks the final day of Brisbane Festival.

Brisbane Festival operates under the direction of the Board of Major Brisbane Festivals Pty Ltd.

Brisbane Festival is the youngest major annual Australian arts festival by at least a decade. In that time, Brisbane Festival has established itself as a world class festival and Brisbane’s biggest cultural event.

Artistic Directors have been Tony Gould (1996-2004), Lyndon Terracini (2006-2009), Noel Staunton (2010 -2014) and David Berthold (2015 to 2019). Louise Bezzina is the Artistic Director for the festivals from 2020 to 2023.

#Our Team

Louise Bezzina

Artistic Director

Charlie Cush

Chief Executive Officer


#Board of Directors

Alison Smith

Chair

Philip Bacon AM

Raelene Baker

Cory Heathwood

Simon Morrison

Amanda Newbery

Karen Prentis

Anna Reynolds

Chris Tyquin


#Leadership Team

Danica Bennett

Business Development Director

Fabienne Cooke

Head of Philanthropy

Rebecca Drummond

Finance Director and Company Secretary

Kate Fell

Program Director

Julia Herne

Head of Business Administration

Tim Pack

Technical Director

Karen Soennichsen

Marketing and Communications Director


#Blak Curatorium

Alethea Beetson

Troy Casey

Merindah Donnelly

Amanda Hayman


#Administration

Marcia Ferreira

Administration Coordinator

Emma Joslin

Administration Assistant

Lucy Nielson

Administration Assistant


#Business Development

Dana Brown

Sponsorship Manager

Bridget Vos

Sponsorship and Events Coordinator


#Finance

Lorelle Edwards

Finance Assistant


#Marketing and Communications

Jen Hall

Brand and Content Manager

Kitty Malcolm

Ticketing Operations Manager

Liana Praekelt

Digital Marketing Executive

Faye Rentoule

Campaign and Content Coordinator

Zoe White

Digital Marketing and Innovation Manager


#Philanthropy

Jenny Usher

Philanthropy Coordinator


#Programming

James Armstrong

Programming Intern

Jess Audsley

Associate Producer

J-Maine Beezley

First Nations Creative Producer

Chelsea Chua

Programming Intern

Min Collie-Holmes

Creative Producer

Sarah Farnsworth

Production Coordinator

Antonia Hickey

Programming Intern

Caitlin Hultgren

Associate Producer

Alyssa Kielty

Creative Producer

Fiona MacDonald

Creative Producer

Skye Murphy

Project Coordinator

Ruby Newport

Project Coordinator

Alex Rozynski

Associate Producer

Stephanie Suess

Associate Producer

Ti’ana Thorburn

Production Intern

Jane Youngs

Programming Intern


#Technical

Jack Alcock

Technical Secondment Management

Janella Ang

Production Administrator and Technical Coordinator

Ashleigh Bradfield

Site Design Technical Secondment

Lew Bromley

Operations Manager

Michael Gill

Technical Coordinator

Michelle Hair

Site Design Technical Secondment

Kelly Hau

Technical Secondment Management

Katie Hurst

Technical Manager

Charlotte Kirby

Technical Manager

Amy McKenzie,

Creative Producer, Designer and Site Design Manager

Sarah O’Neill

Technical Management Secondment

Katie Pack

WHS Coordinator

Isaac Stevenson

Technical Secondment Management

Tarryn Renshaw

Technical Management Secondment

Michael Richardson

Senior Technical Manager

Rajiv Tamang

Technical Secondment Management

Jason Waide

Technical Manager

Donovan Wagner

Technical Coordinator


#Indigenous Advisory Group

Michelle Tuahine

Chair

Raelene Baker

Elder

Bridget Garay

Bob Weatherall

Elder


#Giving Committee

The Hon Justice Thomas Bradley

Chair

Philip Bacon AM

Eliza Baxby

Heidi Cooper

Simon Morrison

Ben Poschelk

Anna Reynolds

Courtney Talbot

Paul Taylor


#Agencies

Aruga

Publicity

Atmosphere Photography

Photography

Bigfish

Website

Dowling Design

Design

optikal bloc

Video

Stay COVID Safe

We want you to enjoy the Festival and stay safe. Please follow COVID Safe practices when attending Festival events, and if you are unwell stay at home.

Support us

Brisbane Festival connects artists and audiences in ways that lift the spirit and open our city to the world. You can support us by partnering with us, or participating in our giving program.

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Brisbane Festival expresses deep respect to and acknowledges the First People of this Country.