Meet the Melbourne Festival director who likes making a noise and a mess (as long as someone cleans it up afterwards).

It’s a measure of the esteem Jonathan Holloway is held in as a festival director, that he was offered an open-ended contract by Melbourne Festival when a three-year contract is more usual. And with the buzz building around his first Melbourne Festival, you can see why they would want to keep him. Already, with the Festival only three days old, a number of shows are sold out with many others selling fast. “Melbourne seems totally open and up for a challenging, exciting, immersive festival. They always have been,” says Holloway.

The genial Englishman, whose enthusiasm is both palpable and infectious, has been helming festivals for ten years now, with seven years at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival in the UK and four years at the Perth International Arts Festival. In Western Australia, he took the city by storm in 2015 when The Giants –larger-than-life puppets from French troupe Royal de Luxe – took to the streets, attracting an estimated 1.4 million people.

On the eve of the Melbourne Festival, people from five clans of the Kulan Nation performed...