Wesley Enoch is the new director of Sydney Festival

In arts news from overnight, Sydney Festival has announced that Wesley Enoch will be their incoming Festival Director. He will serve a three-year tenure from 2017 – 2019, taking the reins from Lieven Bertels.

Bertels will direct the 2016 season, which marks the Festival’s 40th anniversary.

Wesley Enoch. Photo by Darren Thomas.
Wesley Enoch. Photo by Darren Thomas.

Wesley Enoch has been the Artistic Director of the Queensland Theatre Company since 2010 and has also been the Artistic Director of Kooemba Jdarra in Brisbane and Ilibijerri in Melbourne. He has worked as an Associate Artistic Director of Belvoir, Resident Director for Sydney Theatre Company, served as a Trustee of the Sydney Opera House, and as director of the Indigenous section of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.

Enoch has directed six projects for Sydney Festival over the past 15 years: The Sunshine Club (2000), Eora Crossing (2004), The Sapphires (2005), Nargun and the Stars (2009), I am Eora (2012) and Black Diggers (2014).

He won the Patrick White Playwrights’ Award in 2005 for The Story of the Miracles at Cookies Table and was shortlisted for both the New South Wales and Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts, Troy Grant, said “Sydney Festival is one of the world’s pre-eminent arts and cultural festivals and I am delighted that Wesley Enoch will be the Festival’s new Director.

“Wesley has already made a significant contribution to the Australian arts landscape and brings a wealth of experience to this coveted role in which he will lead one of our country’s most important annual events alongside Executive Director, Chris Tooher.”

The Lord Mayor, Clover Moore MP said “Wesley is one of Australia’s finest creative talents and it’s terrific to see him at the helm of Sydney’s major cultural festival. Judging by his past contributions to Sydney Festival, with productions like I am Eora and Black Diggers, he will not shy away from the important issues. Under Wesley Enoch’s watch I’m looking forward to seeing more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and audiences, who make such a valuable contribution to our country’s creativity and culture, taking part in the Festival.”


“Excited is too inadequate a word for how I’m feeling,” said Enoch.

“I have had a long love affair with Sydney Festival and its audiences. I’m totally thrilled to return in the role of Festival Director. The Festival is a huge family of people who give their time, resources, money and talent; and I want to meet every single one of them.

“Festivals provide a huge cultural canvas and help reimagine a city, helping it think creatively and see things differently. I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting started.”


Sydney Festival is a cornerstone of summer in the city, offering free and ticketed performances in theatre, dance, music, film, visual arts and talks, as well free outdoor events.

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and was the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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