The former head of theatre and dance at the Sydney Opera House who now works for one of the world's leading performing arts centres has been appointed artistic director of Perth International Arts Festival, founded by The University of Western Australia.
A former ABC and SBS arts television producer, Wendy Martin is currently head of performance and dance at Southbank Centre in London, and will take over artistic direction of the Perth Festival from 2016-2019, succeeding current artistic director Jonathan Holloway after the 2015 Festival.
Ms Martin's career embraces television production, theatre and dance programming and production, event production and a contribution to the arts through board membership. She has a strong track record as a commissioner of innovative theatre and dance projects and has been the founding curator of acclaimed festivals including Message Sticks and Spring Dance at Sydney Opera House and Southbank Centre's Unlimited disability arts festival.
UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson said Ms Martin would enhance the Perth International Arts Festival's reputation as one of the most exciting festivals in Australia, and the world.
"Our Festival has an international reputation built up over many successful decades. We look forward to working with Ms Martin in continuing to build on our standing for innovation and quality in the arts," Professor Johnson said.
Chair of the Festival Board Emeritus Professor Margaret Seares welcomed the appointment, noting the strength of Ms Martin in developing and commissioning new works which match the highest artistic standards with outstanding community support and engagement.
"Balancing world class art and community support has been the hallmark of our Festival since its inception and we look forward to Wendy continuing this great tradition," she said.
Wendy Martin said she was excited about coming to Perth.
"I am delighted to be taking on the artistic leadership of the Perth International Arts festival with itsrich history in the unique environment of Western Australia. I look forward to embarking on this extremely exciting adventure," she said.
The Perth Festival, established by The University of Western Australia's Professor Fred Alexander as the "Festival of Perth" in 1953, is Australia's longest running international arts festival.
Ms Martin will commence work in Perth next year, observing the full 2015 program, before guiding the artistic direction of the next four festivals. She arrives from Southbank Centre, London, an organization driven by an ethos of festival making that celebrates world cultures, communities and themes that provide windows into who we are in the 21st Century. Southbank Centre is the largest single-run arts centre in the world and includes Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, the Hayward Gallery and the Saison Poetry Library.