Melbourne Festival announces new Executive Director

Kath Mainland CBEMelbourne Festival has announced Kath M Mainland CBE as its new Executive Director. Kath joins the Festival from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, where she has been Chief Executive for the past seven years.

“I am delighted with Kath’s appointment to work alongside Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway,” says Festival President, Maureen Wheeler. “Kath has the experience, knowledge and energy to help Melbourne Festival evolve and grow.”

“While 2015 has been one of the most successful festivals in our 30 year history, we know we can and will build on that success to ensure Melbourne Festival continues to justify its position as Australia’s premier arts festival and Melbourne as the cultural capital of Australia.”

“I would like to thank Josephine Ridge (Artistic Director) and Katie McLeish (Executive Director) for the very high bar they have set for 2016 and to wish them both every success in their next roles.”

Kath began her career in the arts in 1991 when she first joined the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society as administrative assistant. Originally from Orkney, Scotland, she has worked in around Edinburgh’s Festivals ever since, working as a production coordinator and event producer of many of Scotland’s major festivals and events.

In 2005 Kath became general manager of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and was administrative director there until 2009 when she took up the newly created post of Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.

During Kath’s tenure the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has seen significant growth with 1,216 more shows in the 2015 programme than in 2009 and 48 more venues involved. This year, the Fringe Society also announced record breaking figures following the 2015 Fringe with an estimated 2,298,090 tickets issued for shows across Scotland’s capital. In 2014, Kath was awarded a CBE for services to Culture in Scotland.

“I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to have been offered the role of Executive Director at Melbourne Festival,” says Kath Mainland. “The Festival is one of Australia’s flagship international festivals and a key destination in Victoria’s cultural calendar. I’m so excited about the move to the beautiful and dynamic city of Melbourne and can’t wait to take up the challenge at this exciting time in the Festival’s history.”

Melbourne Festival Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway said: “Kath has festivals in her DNA, and the leadership she has displayed at the Edinburgh Fringe has been universally admired. She has a deep understanding of artists, audiences, creativity and cities, and extensive experience in nurturing the environments and teams to make festivals flourish. I am delighted that we can work together as we take Melbourne Festival into the next chapter.”

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Image: Kath Mainland CBE