Darwin Festival is pleased to announce experienced arts leader Kate Fell as the organisation’s incoming Artistic Director. The appointment follows a rigorous recruitment search in the lead up to the conclusion of Felix Preval’s tenure as Artistic Director following this year’s Festival.
Kate is a passionate, professional and highly experienced arts leader with over twenty years working in the arts as a Creative Director, Program Director, Executive Producer and CEO for festivals, venues, and arts companies.
Based in Brisbane, and soon to be Darwin, Kate comes to Darwin Festival from her position as Program Director at Brisbane Festival. Prior to this, she was an Executive Producer at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) and Creative Director for Festival 2018 at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games after spending seven years at Circa.
Kate will be joining the festivities at this year’s Darwin Festival, to meet the team, key stakeholders and immerse herself in the community to get a feel for Australia’s hottest winter arts festival. She will commence her role full time in early October and will lead the Festival’s creative direction for the 2023, 2024 and 2025 Festivals.
“Darwin Festival’s Board are pleased to welcome Kate on board as our new Artistic Director. Kate’s impressive background as a leader in large scale Festivals is sure to have a positive impact on the future of Darwin Festival and we look forward to working with her,” said Darwin Festival Board Chair Ian Kew.
“The Board would also like to acknowledge and thank Felix for his steadfast determination and passion in leading the creative direction of the Darwin Festival over the last six years. His tireless work has helped position the Festival as a leading international art and culture event,” said Kew.
“I’m incredibly excited to be accepting the role of Artistic Director of Darwin Festival and can’t wait to immerse myself in the Festival program this year before stepping into the role full time,” said Incoming Artistic Director Kate Fell.
“The Northern Territory has a truly unique creative arts scene, and it offers something that can’t be found anywhere else in Australia. I look forward to becoming a part of this wonderful community and helping lead an international Festival that Territorians can be proud of,” said Fell.
“Directing Darwin Festival artistic vision has been a real highlight for me professionally and personally, and I couldn’t be happier to pass the baton on to Kate Fell,” said Current Darwin Festival Artistic Director Felix Preval.
“Kate is a wonderful colleague and collaborator, and I feel sure that she will bring Darwin many more years of fantastic programming, and will fall in love with the city, just as I have,” said Preval.
Felix commenced with Darwin Festival in 2016 and has contributed to the unprecedented financial and artistic growth over six Darwin Festivals as Artistic Director. Felix has been instrumental in positioning Darwin Festival firmly within the national arts conversation and as the flagship major cultural and tourism event of the Northern Territory.
During Felix’s tenure as Artistic Director, the Festival has enjoyed record-breaking years, with the 2019 event smashing all previous ticket sales records over its 40 year history.
It was also under Felix’s creative leadership that Darwin Festival delivered a 2020 Homegrown Festival, becoming the first major arts festival in the world to go ahead since COVID-19 drove global communities into lockdown.
“Darwin Festival has experienced enormous change, growth and, ultimately, great success under Felix’s artistic direction,” said Darwin Festival CEO James Gough.
On behalf of the staff, artists, board of Darwin Festival, we thank Felix for his outstanding commitment, passion and flair over these last six years. A huge welcome to Kate! Her steadfast track record and leadership qualities are a coup for Darwin Festival,” said Gough.
Darwin Festival is proudly supported by the Northern Territory Government and City of Darwin. The 2022 Darwin Festival runs 4 – 21 August. For more information and full program, visit: www.darwinfestival.org.au for details.
Image: Kate Fell (supplied)