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New Artistic Director International Arts Festival

New Artistic Director Announced for New Zealand International Arts Festival

A talented young woman who is seen as being in the vanguard of a new generation of festival artistic directors has been appointed to take over the programming of the 2008 and 2010 New Zealand International Arts Festivals.

Festival Chair Fran Wilde said today that the Board was delighted to have engaged Lissa Twomey, the Associate Director of the Sydney Festival, to take over from Carla Van Zon when she leaves in April next year

“We advertised the position internationally and received huge interest, attracting experienced candidates, including some very well known Artistic Directors, from Europe, the Americas, Australia and New Zealand”, said Fran Wilde.

“Lissa was outstanding. She has 10 years experience in the performing arts sector with remarkable sensibility in a wide range of artistic genres. She herself is a talented pianist and has demonstrated flair and judgment in programming. She also shows great acumen in negotiating with artists.

“Her international reputation is already substantial. One of her referees – himself highly regarded as an Artistic Director – told us that Lissa would be one of the great Festival Directors in the world.”

Ms Wilde said that historically the NZ Festival had been very fortunate in its Artistic Directors.

“For twenty years we have had outstanding artistic overview. The 2006 Festival, the last to be programmed by Carla Van Zon, is evidence of this. The buying public has been eager to get involved and some shows are already close to capacity. We have absolute confidence that Lissa Twomey will continue and build on this tradition, as well as putting her own stamp on what is now a significant leadership role for the arts in New Zealand.”

“A bonus for us is that Lissa is married to a New Zealander and has relatives in Wellington, so is no stranger to this part of the world,” Ms Wilde said.

Ms Twomey said today: “On a personal and professional level I have greatly enjoyed witnessing three out of the last four New Zealand International Arts Festivals. I’ve also been to various “Show and Tell” events, the showcase of forthcoming New Zealand work that is run by the Arts Festival in Wellington to allow producers to see what’s on offer.

“I know this Festival, how it responds to Wellington and the greater arts community in New Zealand. It is a privilege to take on the challenging role of ensuring that the ongoing artistic vision further consolidates the Festival’s local and international standing.”

Ms Twomey’s contract starts in February 2006 and she will be moving her family to Wellington over the following year. “During this time she will be based in Sydney, however, she will be fully engaged with our team in Wellington and will be here regularly, as well as undertaking other international travel as part of her job”, Ms Wilde said.

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