Following an extensive local and global search, Luminato Festival Toronto is delighted to announce the appointment of Olivia Ansell as the new Artistic Director of the renowned annual international arts and culture festival.
Ansell, the current Festival Director of Sydney Festival and former Head of Contemporary Performance for Sydney Opera House, brings extensive experience and a unique viewpoint to this role leading the artistic and curatorial vision of the Toronto-based festival. Led by CEO and city-builder Celia Smith, Luminato eagerly anticipates Olivia’s move to Canada. Ansell will curate her inaugural program for the festival’s 19 th year in 2025.
Celia Smith, CEO of Luminato Festival Toronto:
I am filled with immense excitement and enthusiasm to welcome Olivia Ansell as our Artistic Director, Ansell as dedication to cultural storytelling, audience engagement, and animating place will help deepen Luminato’s impact as a cultural city-building organization. She has a natural talent for understanding the pulse of a city and presenting it in an authentic manner.
I am honoured to join Luminato and curate for a renowned multi-disciplinary festival at an international scale, Toronto is a remarkable city and I look forward to fostering creative exchange among artists, organizations and communities locally and worldwide to amplify the vibrancy of this city’s identity through cultural storytelling and ambitious public play.
Voted one of Vivid Sydney’s Top 100 Creative Catalysts, Ansell has helped elevate the cultural landscape of Sydney, providing rich opportunities for people to re-discover and re-experience the city in new and unexpected ways. In the midst of the 2022 pandemic, she fearlessly guided the festival through a period of uncertainty, recovery, and rejuvenation. After a remarkable year in 2023, Sydney Festival surpassed its box office goals, significantly growing new audiences. Recognizing her exceptional leadership, Sydney Festival extended Ansell’s tenure through to 2025.
Sydney Festival CEO Christopher Tooher Expressed:
Following the remarkable success of the 2024 Sydney Festival, there’s enthusiastic anticipation for Olivia’s final instalment in January 2025. In additional exciting news, the Board and the entire team are thrilled to extend heartfelt congratulations to Olivia on her next role as the Artistic Director of the Luminato Festival in Toronto. We eagerly await Olivia’s contributions, as she brings her passion, expertise, and boundless energy to engage with colleagues, artists, and audiences in Canada.
Luminato Festival Toronto entrusted Caldwell Partners, a globally recognized executive talent provider, to lead the search for its new Artistic Director. The search process engaged world- class local, national, and international candidates.
The final decision was made by a selection committee consisting of Celia Smith, CEO, Luminato; Douglas Knight C.M., Board Chair, Luminato; maxine bailey, Executive Director, Canadian Film Centre, and Vice-Chair, Luminato, Jason Ryle, international programmer, previous Executive Director, imagine NATIVE, and newly appointed board member, Luminato; Ravi Jain, co-artistic director/founder of Why Not Theatre and newly appointed Luminato board member; and Luminato’s senior leadership team.
Douglas Knight, C.M., Chair of the Board:
In the next few years, Luminato Festival Toronto will celebrate 20 years of animating and delighting this great city, Adding Olivia’s innovative artistic vision to Celia’s exceptional organizational leadership establishes a new era for our festival to keep growing our impact and enhancing the experiences of people living in and visiting Toronto.