Brisbane Festival announces new artistic director

David  BertoldThe Brisbane Festival has announced leading Australian theatre director David Berthold will take the reins as artistic director from 2015. The four-year appointment will start from June 2014 to plan for 2015, with the current artistic director Noel Staunton completing his five-year term this year.

Brisbane Festival chairman Chris Freeman said David was the best candidate for the role due to a combination of local knowledge and excellent national and international experience.

“David curated the Festival’s first independent theatre program in 2013 and he has done outstanding work across Australia and the world. We are excited to see how he will continue to develop Brisbane Festival,” Mr Freeman said.

Since November 2008, David Berthold has been artistic director and chief executive officer of La Boite Theatre Company. He was previously artistic director of Griffin Theatre Company and the Australian Theatre for Young People, associate director of Sydney Theatre Company and artistic associate of Queensland Theatre Company. He was also director of World Interplay 2007, the world’s largest festival of young playwrights.

David has directed work for most of Australia’s and many of the world’s leading theatre companies including Melbourne Theatre Company, Belvoir, Sydney Opera House, Playbox Theatre, Black Swan, NIDA, Opera Queensland, Auckland Theatre Company, the Royal National Theatre (London), Theater an der Parkaue (Berlin), and in London’s West End.

He has served on many government and industry panels and committees as an arts advocate and advisor. In his early career he also trained as an opera singer, winning the Joan Sutherland Scholarship.

David Berthold said he was excited about the new role because festivals pointed the way forward, creating a space for the whole city to take a risk on art and to see things differently.

“Brisbane Festival has a privileged position as the youngest of Australia’s great family of festivals and this places it perfectly to create fresh horizons,” he said.

“Noel Staunton has opened up some of those horizons beautifully, and I’m thrilled at the chance to build on his work and to make a genuine difference to the way Brisbane enjoys its ever-growing festival.”

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Image: David Bertold