Today we announce the appointment of Fergus Linehan as the Director Designate of the Edinburgh International Festival. The post begins on a part time basis on 1 May 2013 to allow time to plan for his first Festival in 2015. Fergus will become Festival Director and Chief Executive of the Festival full time from 1 October 2014.
As a Festival Director, Fergus has already led the growth and development of two major international festivals, in Australia, the Sydney Festival, and his native Ireland, the Dublin Theatre Festival.
Fergus began his career in the theatre in Dublin, producing many shows and going on to direct the city’s major arts event, the Dublin Theatre Festival. During that time he commissioned work by artists including Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel and Roddy Doyle, as well as a new generation of Irish writers and choreographers.
From 2004 to 2009, Fergus was Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Sydney Festival, where under his leadership the Festival grew significantly. Continuing his time in Australia, from 2010 to 2012, Fergus was Head of Music at Sydney Opera House where he refreshed the year-round music programme spanning jazz, world music, pop, rock, electronic music, and visiting classical artists and orchestras.
He currently works with a number of international arts companies and Government agencies including the Sydney Opera House where he is reviewing theatre and dance programming, and Dublin City Council. Fergus is also director of Vivid LIVE, an annual festival in Sydney which celebrates ambition and innovation in popular music and digital art. He currently divides his time between Europe and Australia.
On his appointment Fergus said ‘I am delighted and deeply honoured to have been appointed as the next Director of the Edinburgh International Festival. I look forward to safeguarding the founding principles of the festival in ways which are engaging and relevant to all. In particular I look forward to moving to Edinburgh to serve the devoted festival-goers and artists from Scotland and around the world, who have grown to love this wonderful institution over the past seven decades. Successful festivals respond to both place and provenance to create a unique identity and this is particularly true of Edinburgh, the preeminent Festival city. It is with this in mind that I will begin the exciting work of developing my plans and ideas for the 2015 and future Festivals.’
Fergus will now start to plan and programme the 2015 Festival, taking up the role of Festival Director full-time on 1 October 2014.