After five ground-breaking years at the helm of Queensland Theatre Company (QTC), the much loved and respected Wesley Enoch has resigned his position to step in as Director of Sydney Festival in 2017.
The first indigenous head of a state theatre company, Enoch has directed six projects for the festival since 2000 (Black Diggers in 2014) and has worked with almost every major theatre company in Australia.
During his five years at QTC Enoch has been a strong voice for performing arts, particularly indigenous arts, and has been unafraid to court criticism as evidenced in his provocative Platform Papers, which caused quite a stir among his contemporaries. Enoch’s character and conviction will certainly leave a gaping hole in the local Queensland artscape.
Executive Director of Queensland Theatre Company, Sue Donnelly said that Wesley, both a renowned playwright and director, “is comfortable breaking new artistic ground wherever he steps”.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also spoke of the legacy that Wesley Enoch will leave behind in Queensland. “Wesley Enoch started his theatre career in his home state of Queensland and is a passionate leader and arts advocate whose vision has inspired a generation of theatre artists and practitioners,” the Premier said.
Outgoing Director of the Sydney Festival Lieven Bertels, will complete his fourth and final festival in 2016 and has then been appointed as Artistic Director to Leeuwarden Fryslan in 2018. Bertels’ tenure at the festival might be remembered by the diversity of the programs he has delivered encouraging international collaboration while still ensuring the platform for promoting local artists. It has not been without controversy however when his 2014 program provoked attacks from the media and public alike for changing the start of the festival eliciting the response that Sydneysiders should ‘get over themselves’.
While the QTC family are excited for Wesley’s new tenure, Sue Donnelly eloquently reflects;
“Wesley will remain one of the great Artistic Directors to lead QTC. His vision, his sense of social justice, his bravery, his ability to empower and enthuse is admired throughout our ranks. From the stage to behind the scenes, he is a man of the arts through and through, and we all wish him the absolute best,” she said. “That he will take Sydney Festival to new heights, we have no doubt.”