On the Couch with Heather Croall

Arts Review On the Couch Heather CroallWho is Heather Croall?
A mum, an international Festival Director and filmmaker who has returned to South Australia after a decade of running festivals in the UK to take up the role of running the Adelaide Fringe.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Make rollerskates my main method of transport.

Who inspires you and why?
Barbara Carrellas because of her work teaching people that Ecstasy is Necessary! We once walked over hot coals together. Not something I ever thought I would do.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Stop corporate tax avoidance.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Budapest – endless spas and Ruin Bars.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
McLaren Vale wineries and Port Willunga beach. A Perfect Day Out: visiting cellar doors in the rolling hills topped off with a visit to the beach for a walk on the softest sand in the world, a swim in clear, aqua-blue water and a glass of wine in the stunning restaurant on the cliff overlooking the bay.

What are you currently reading?
The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante.

What are you currently listening to?
Richard Hawley’s new album, Hollow Meadows.

Happiness is?
Arriving at a greenfields festival like Glastonbury, knowing I am about to lose myself for the next few days in a fantastic festival where you can throw all concept of time out the window, wander about seeing amazing shows, stumble across crazy unexpected spectacles and soak up the electric atmosphere.

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully presenting more unforgettable, wild and thought provoking festival experiences to audiences. Creating opportunities for artists to wow people with their exciting and exhilarating work. Witnessing my kids discover their path in life and encouraging them to be brave and be themselves.

After emigrating to SA from Sheffield in the UK when she was five, Heather Croall went on to form a film production company, Re Angle Pictures, to produce and direct documentaries. In 1999, her film, Paradise Bent: Boy will be Girls in Samoa won the Silver Plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival. She continued to work at South Australian Film Corporation and also produced digital and documentary strands here at Adelaide Fringe.

In 2003, Heather worked for the Australian International Documentary Conference, where she became Festival Director and developed the MeetMarket pitching event for participating artists to sell their work to distributors. Heather was then invited to become the Festival Director of Sheffield Doc/Fest in her UK home town in 2006. She went on to grow the festival exponentially: when she started, it was a two day event attracting 500 delegates and 2000 public attendees.

Heather widened the festival to a five day event with 3000 delegates and 20,000 public attendees. She also introduced the MeetMarket event she had previously developed at the Australian International Documentary Conference, which generated £5.6 million worth of business for producers in 2011.

Variety magazine have praised her work at Sheffield Doc/Fest, saying she lifted it “into the premier league of international doc events”. She was also selected to sit on the prestigious Documentary Jury at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in the US.

Heather was appointed Festival Director and CEO of Adelaide Fringe in 2015 and has ambitious plans for the 2016 Fringe – as evidenced by the already announced Google Cube, Digital Playground and Fringe Illuminations projects.

The 2016 Adelaide Fringe runs 12 February – 14 March. For more information, visit: www.adelaidefringe.com.au for details.

Image: Heather Croall