Melbourne Festival announces new artistic appointments

Gideon Obarzanek photo by Bronwyn KiddMelbourne Festival’s new Artistic Director, Jonathan Holloway today announced Gideon Obarzanek as Artistic Associate and Danni Colgan as Producer – Contemporary Culture.

“It all starts with conversations and ideas, and I am thrilled that Gideon and Danni are joining me and the programming team, brilliantly led by Mark Burlace, to broaden the dialogue about what Melbourne Festival is and what it can become, and then be instrumental in delivering it,” says Holloway.

“Each year I will invite an Artistic Associate to join us and keep the conversation fresh and surprising, and Gideon’s knowledge and experience of the arts world and of Melbourne make him the ideal first associate. Danni’s global connections and fresh perspective on Melbourne complete the team.”

Choreographer and director, Gideon Obarzanek founded Chunky Move in 1995 and led the company as Artistic Director until 2012. The company’s inaugural season was at the 1995 Melbourne Festival. His works have been performed in many festivals and theatres around the world including Edinburgh International, BAM Next Wave NY, Venice Biennale, Southbank London and Territoria Festival Moscow.

Gideon received a Dendy Award at the Sydney Film Festival for I Want to Dance Better at Parties (2014), a New York Bessie award for outstanding choreography and creation for Chunky Move’s production of Tense Dave (2003) and two Helpmann Awards for Glow (2006) and Mortal Engine (2008).

On his new role, Gideon Obarzanek said: “I am very excited to engage with Melbourne’s diverse community and rediscover its more discreet and fascinating spaces. Working with Jonathan and the festival team, I am looking forward to new partnerships and opportunities for local and international artists.”

Danni Colgan has held programming, production and managerial roles in some of the world’s most loved festivals and arts organisations, with a focus on popular contemporary music. Danni started her career in Perth and Adelaide before moving to the UK and working as Contemporary Culture Producer – Southbank Centre (producing the Meltdown Festivals curated by Jarvis Cocker 2007, Massive Attack 2008 and Ornette Coleman 2009) and the London Jazz Festival.

She was Perth International Arts Festival’s contemporary culture programmer in 2010 and 2011, Sydney Festival program manager from 2012–2014, and most recently Program & Operations Manager at WOMADelaide 2015.

“I jumped at the opportunity to be working back in Melbourne with the Melbourne Festival team,” said Danni Colgan. “I’m hugely excited to work with both international and home grown talent to present a programme of music and contemporary culture which is as diverse and relevant as the city itself.”

The 2016 Melbourne Festival runs from Thursday 6 October to Sunday 23 October. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Gideon Obarzanek – photo by Bronwyn Kidd