Iain Grandage to lead Perth Festival From 2020

Perth Festival Iain Grandage -photo by Pia JohnsonOne of Western Australia’s most successful cultural exports, Iain Grandage, has been appointed Artistic Director of  the Perth Festival for a three year tenure beginning in 2020.

Raised and educated in WA, Iain Grandage is one of Australia’s most highly regarded and acclaimed collaborative artists and programmers.  He has won seven Helpmann Awards for his compositions for theatre (Cloudstreet, Secret River),  dance (When Time Stops),  opera (The Rabbits, with Kate Miller-Heidke), silent film (Satan Jawa, with Rahayu Suppangah) and as a music director for Meow Meow’s Little Match Girl and Secret River.

Perth Festival chair John Barrington described Grandage as a brilliant and inspiring collaborator with a vision to develop the Festival’s existing strengths in championing Western Australian stories and talent alongside the greatest artists in the world.

“We are delighted that Iain will bring his exciting new ideas to Australia’s longest-running and most diverse curated arts festival and we look forward to working with him to celebrate Perth’s unique qualities and our creative community,” said Mr Barrington.

The Perth Festival has been a leader over the decades contributing to the cultural and creative growth in Western Australia since being founded in 1953 by the University of Western Australia. In its 65th anniversary year, the Festival is renowned as one of the greatest arts festivals in the world and remains the jewel in UWA’s crown for community outreach and engagement.  UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater said Grandage would bring an inspiring new direction to the Perth Festival.

“It’s exciting to have a highly talented local artist join the Festival, who was raised in Perth and is a UWA graduate,” said Professor Freshwater. “Iain will continue the Perth Festival’s tradition of creating rich, diverse and high quality programs that excite and engage local and international audiences and bring all that Perth has to offer to the international stage.”

Grandage, who returned to Western Australia recently after a decade in Melbourne, said it was a thrill to be chosen to lead the Festival in the State where he grew up and began his career. “Perth Festival inspired my journey into the performing arts when I first experienced it in the early 1990s,” he said.

“I hope to similarly energise local artists and audiences by extending the Festival’s foundation mission as a Festival for all people.  It’s a privilege to lead a Festival that has such a rich history, and to play a part in shaping its future on Noongar Boodja by presenting wondrous art made with intelligence and heart that places international artists cheek-by-jowl with locals.”

Grandage will succeed current Artistic Director Wendy Martin after next years Festival. She will conclude her four year contract as Artistic Director with her final curated program next February. The 2019 Perth Festival will run from 8 February to 3 March. The full program will be launched in November. for more information, visit: www.perthfestival.com.au for details.

Image: Iain Grandage -photo by Pia Johnson

Words: Craig Dalglish